CMU LIBRARY

Music Marketing

Resources about music marketing




INTRODUCTION

For frontline artists to have successful careers they need to find an audience for their music. Various business partners across the music industry will help with this fanbase building process.



THE MUSIC MARKETING TOOLKIT
There are various tools and platforms used by the music industry to drive streams, sell tickets and to grow each artist’s fanbase.

Early on in an artist’s career, gigging and collaborations can be key to finding an audience. Live activity will obviously become a revenue stream for an artist in the longer term, but initially gigs and shows are as much about fanbase building as making money. Collaborating with other music-makers and creators – both live and online – is another way for an artist to get their music in front of new audiences and potential future fans.

Then there are the artist’s various digital channels – including social media, direct-to-fan platforms, a website and an email list.

When artists reach new audiences via live activity and collaborations, it’s important that potential future fans can immediately connect with the artist via their digital channels of choice. The artist can then use those channels to promote tracks and shows, and sell products and experiences, directly to the fans. And also use the initial online audience – and various digital marketing and advertising tools – to further grow the fanbase.

Many of the other key tools in the toolkit relate to influencing people who in turn have influence over potential new fans. This includes the music media – like music magazines, websites and blogs, and music radio, TV and podcasts – as well as people who curate playlists on the streaming services; influencers on social and user-generated content platforms; and people who programme and play music in clubs and other public spaces.



THE FANBASE BUILDING PROCESS
Most artists begin the fanbase building process before they are formally working with the music industry during the DIY Phase. At this stage the most important marketing tools are gigs, collaborations and digital channels.

As an artist’s career starts to gain momentum, different business partners come on board who will help with the marketing and fanbase building process. Sometimes this is actually about B2B marketing, raising the profile of the artist within the music industry. But the artist’s manager will also get involved in fanbase building, while a distributor might help market releases and a promoter will play a key role in publicising shows.

A key marketing partner, though, is the record label. Traditionally labels take the lead on marketing each new release, providing budget, contacts and expertise. They may have an in-house team to run each marketing campaign – or they might hire the services of specialist marketing agencies – or sometimes it’s a combination of the two. The label’s aim is to drive sales and streams of the record, but in doing so it also grows the fanbase.

It is often by having a label on board that artists can employ all the different tools in the music marketing toolkit at the same time, maximising exposure.



THE IMPORTANCE OF FAN DATA
At the core of most modern music marketing campaigns is digital marketing – and digital marketing is really a data-driven discipline.

Digital marketing often involves creating and pushing out promotional content through different social media and direct-to-fan channels, using digital advertising tools and influencers to expand the reach of the content.

Getting that right involves doing some activity, crunching all the resulting data, asking if it worked, and when it didn’t trying something different next time. And you keep doing that until the data shows success.

This means it is vital that every artist – and their management team – understands what fan data plays a role in this process, and that they have access to that data and are legally allowed to utilise it (always remember that fan data is heavily regulated through data protection law).

Labels also have an important role to play here too. Artists can crunch their own fan data, but labels have access to fan data across their roster and catalogue. This means a label can use what it learned from the last campaign on the next campaign, reducing the trial and error element of getting digital marketing right, and therefore hopefully fast-tracking the process.



You will find coverage of all the key developments in and announcements from the music marketing world in the Marketing & PR section of CMU.



RESOURCES FROM CMU

This CMU:DIY Lecture provides an overview of the different kinds of data that are key to a successful artist business, including fan data.

The MMF Digital Dollar Fan Data Guide runs through all the key kinds of fan data, and explains how to use that data to build a successful artist business.

This CMU Insights Speed Briefing is based on the ‘Fan Data Guide’ and runs through the key sections of it.

This CMU Insights Speed Briefing looks at the role of streaming service playlists in driving streams.

These CMU Trends In Ten Guides look at the music marketing toolkit, at the ins and outs of press releases, and at the evolution of catalogue marketing.



QUICK CMU LINKS

CMU:DIY Lecture: The Power Of Data

Digital Dollar Guide: Fan Data Guide

CMU Insights Speed Briefing: Capitalising On Your Fan Data

CMU Insights Speed Briefing: Streaming Playlists

CMU Trends In Ten: The Music Marketing Toolkit

CMU Trends In Ten: Press Releases

CMU Trends In Ten: The Evolution Of Catalogue Marketing



LAST UPDATED: July 2021