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The music industry continues to evolve as artists find themselves getting more creative. With the pandemic slowly coming to an end, outdoor music is back… and so are the artists all over the country finding fresh ways to reach new audiences.
While influencer marketing is crucial to ensure successful collaborations between music artists, their brands, and their fanbase, it is becoming increasingly clear that having a good foundation is the most important step. Within this industry report, we will further explore the music industry in today’s context as well as the music industry’s relationship with the modern-day digital social landscape.
Into the social media music scene? Be sure to check out this link to view NeoReach’s top music influencers from all different genres.
As social media platforms expand, artists are finding unique ways to get their name out there and create a following: namely with the help of TikTok. Through the video-sharing app, you’re not only able to quickly create an audience but you’re also easily able to connect with your fans.
Moreover, due to the app’s unique algorithm, attaining virality is a lot easier than more traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. As a result, many of these top artists/stars are people who have skyrocketed to fame or whose fame has been boosted thanks to TikTok.
Interestingly enough, their songs that gain the most popularity aren’t due to fancy promotional ad videos, but rather climb the charts because their songs have been associated with top viral video trends.
Because of this newly developed indirect influencing marketing strategy within the music industry, it will be interesting to see how artists continue to adapt to leveraging TikTok as a discovery and launch platform for new releases and entire musical careers.
How did they do it? What was their path to success?
Megan Thee Stallion
Prior to TikTok, Stallion had built a humble but loyal following when her freestyle rapping videos became popular on social media platforms like Youtube and Instagram. Yet within the last year, Stallion has skyrocketed to fame– essentially becoming a Gen Z household name.
With her raps’ upbeat tempo and unforgettable lyrics, there was no doubt Stallion’s work would become popular– the question lies in how did she attain virality so fast? More importantly, how was it possible for her songs like Savage, Body, and WAP to maintain their top place on Billboard charts for so long?
The secret: TikTok.
finally got it
Starting with her hit “Savage,” Stallion’s iconic raps soon became the soundtrack to some of TikTok’s most popular dance challenge trends. Raking in hundreds of millions of views, Stallion had even TikTok’s mega superstars like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae dancing to her music.
Ultimately, with each influencer’s (and non-influencer’s!) dance video posted and promoted, not only has it helped the individual influencer gain virality but also boosts Stallion’s rise to the top as well. Several Grammy’s and artist collabs later, Megan Thee Stallion is showing no signs of slowing down.
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Although stemming from Disney roots, this indie pop-punk star has blasted to international stardom with the release of her debut album “Sour.”
Similar to Stallion, Rodrigo initially began posting singing videos of song covers and sometimes even her original songs on Instagram which helped her attract a following. Likewise, the release of her single “drivers license” became an instant hit– becoming the January trending TikTok sound for viral videos.
But in place of dance moves, Rodrigo found her song at the center of a different kind of viral TikTok trend, created by TikTok user Mel Sommers. Imitating a scene from Rodrigo’s music video, creators fall back away from the camera during the dramatic shift between the song’s verse and chorus.
to all the big tiktokers who didn’t give me credit. love you MUAH😚🤍 #driverslicense #oliviarodrigo #fyp
The success of this different trend revealed the diverse facets of TikTok and the unique ways one can utilize TikTok to strategically market their work in the music industry.
And the momentum didn’t stop there.
Following the release of her third single “good 4 u,” a new trend blew up on TikTok where users created videos to an edited clip of the lyrics “good for you/ you look happy and healthy/ good for you/ you’re doing great.”
Despite not creating the trend herself, Rodrigo was able to capitalize on the trend as it metastasized across the app and even made it onto Instagram Reels.
Overall, many of the videos created with Rodrigo’s songs have millions of views and countless likes– a testament to how TikTok trends can prolong the life of a song’s stream and thereby boosting its popularity and success in breaking records on the charts.
Originally from New Jersey, Singer and songwriter Nessa Barrett has gone from being a full-time content creator to establishing herself as a music artist. While some critics claim Barrett is still just an influencer trying to capitalize on her following by dipping her toes into the music industry, the reality is that her inevitable fame was simply accelerated by the frenetic pace of the TikTok generation.
In 2020 she first debuted “Pain”, which you can listen to here. Since then, hit songs such as “Counting Crimes” and “La di die” have also been published and have become popular all over the web, but especially on TikTok.
Barrett’s success on social media and TikTok followed a similar path to Rodrigo and Stallion’s. However, Barrett took it one step farther by crafting a distinct grunge, edgy, punk rock aesthetic not only for her music but for her overall social media persona as well.
By doing so, Barrett’s clever pivot and strategic branding have enabled her to build a career within the TikTok stratosphere as well as in the music industry.
Interested in learning how to brand yourself in the music industry and more? Take a look at NeoReach’s list of marketing resources.
1. Video social media marketing boosts virality
Despite the idea that becoming an overnight success is a myth, TikTok is paving the way to make it more of a reality. In addition to driving engagement, the video-sharing nature of TikTok has proven to be so successful that similar competitor platforms like Instagram and Youtube have even started pushing out their own adaptations with Reels and Shorts, respectively.
2. Create a narrative and own your brand
Music artists have certain genres their music is filed into but that also becomes an extension to audiences they relate to. By tapping into a niche aesthetic and building a brand around it, artists can amplify their online presence and dramatically grow their following.
3. Leverage for indirect marketing
Like we saw in all three artists’ examples, TikTok wasn’t simply a valuable source in making it big in the music industry because the artist and their teams ran huge ad budgets and or only had the artist promote their work. Rather, the key ingredient to much of their marketing success was contributed by the help of influencers, general trends.
4. Huge potential
A Variety article notes that “Gen Z is jaded by advertising and marketing: they’re looking for connection. There is nothing better as a music fan than feeling like you have a unique connection with your favorite artist.” Through social media algorithm shift and evolution of the digital social landscape, it has become clear that consumers, particularly in the music industry, are done with the in-your-face-listen-to-my-music marketing and more receptive to constant hearing music discovering it through trends and influencers, etc.