Welcome to a new world. For at least the next season or so, we’re all looking at our lives and livelihoods with fresh eyes, because everything’s changed. This is perhaps truer for the music industry than any other — an industry that’s had crowded rooms and tour dates at the helm. But as the world shifts, music is shifting, too. If you get creative and stay determined, you’ll find a way forward.
Music as Media
Engaging with a moment like this requires a mental shift. You’re no longer just an artist, you’re a content creator who uses music as a primary medium. Over the past few years, music has truly become a part of the media world at large, streaming on platforms alongside podcasts or video content. The shift may have been subtle at first, but it’s certainly upon us now — and in these days when hopping on stage to play for a live crowd is impossible, your online content matters more than ever.
The War For Attention
Fans care about more than just your music. They want to know the person behind the platform, and there’s never been a better time to give that knowledge away. Everyone is home, everyone is online, and every business is vying for their attention. Your advantage? Your fans already like your music, and they probably already like you, too. They’ll want to tune in to someone familiar when they can’t turn to their regular community for social interaction.
When it comes to what to post, it’s hard to go wrong — your biggest mistake would be not to create or share content at all. You might feel like you’re adding to the noise, but your fans certainly won’t feel that way. In a time when they can’t come to your shows, fresh content dropping onto their social media feeds or into their inboxes is a surefire way to remind them you’re around, and you’re still ready to provide entertainment. Don’t go silent and get lost in the shuffle!
You don’t have to sell out and download Tik Tok (if you don’t want to) in order to keep your audience happy right now. There are countless ways to get creative in the way you engage online while still staying true to your brand as an artist. Here are just a few tips and tricks I’ve seen artists employing in recent days:
- live stream a set on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
- host a Q+A or offer a “behind the scenes” look at your world
- employ the PayPal virtual tip jar
- market merch or create a new exclusive line that you refer to on livestreams
- start a podcast or create video content
Take a two-pronged approach whenever you’re able: what content can you release that will attract new fans, and how can you engage with the fan base you already have?
Growth over Revenue The grim reality: entertainers are losing income right now. Don’t let that reality scare you out of taking action. It may sound crazy at the surface, but opt for growth over revenue right now. When your fan base grows, revenue streams will follow. Online merch sales will go up, monetization becomes an option for your social media accounts, and, most importantly, you’re solidifying ticket sales for future shows once this season ends. And just a word of encouragement — it will end. One of these days, we’ll all be back on the road, on stages, and in studios. You’ll look back on this season and be incredibly grateful you didn’t waste it.