Top 3 Digital Marketing Practices For the Recording Industry
July 18, 2016
In 2014, the music recording industry saw 54% growth in revenue in streaming services like Pandora, Apple’s Beats Music and Spotify. Meanwhile, albums sales continued their decline by posting an 11% loss in the same year. The move to streaming services coupled with music festivals and micro tours have proved as a sufficient revenue stream for major label, independent, and unsigned artists alike.
With this new landscape for music interactivity and constant addition of content, there are major disparities amongst the marketing resources between majors, independents and the unsigned. Here are my top three practices for getting found, building a fan base and getting ROI from your site and content.
- The Knowledge Graph is Power
In 2012, Google announced the implementation of the Knowledge Graph in search results. For artists, the results are rich with access to catalogues, band websites and upcoming shows. This is a wealth of information distributed instantaneously through search.
My screenshot (right), shows search results for Soulection artist Sango. The knowledge graph includes catalogue, social media and references similar artists, which are a part the Soulection community. The graph will also list upcoming performances as well. These features can be optimized through the use of schema markups.
Google’s recommendations for optimizing your knowledge graph heavily stress the accuracy of social profiles and a presence on Wikipedia and MusicBrainz. The Knowledge Graph pulls information from both of Wikipedia and MusicBrainz as well as from your site’s markups. So once you have the press, you should definitely get that Wikipedia page created. Artist’s should also use schema markups for social media profiles, add a schema markup with music play actions linked to album landing pages, and promoting events by adding HTML event markup or using a plugin like GigPress for WordPress or widgets such as BandPage Shows or Reverbnation Show Schedule. There are also markups to list preferred ticket vendors and event sites.
The end result is the ability to promote your event and drive traffic to the artist’s preferred ticket vendor as well as referral traffic to your site, which opens up the ability for merchandise and music sales.
- Backlinks Are Gold
Backlinks are the life’s blood of SEO. The more links you have established on other sites through content or reciprocal links, the more traffic, Domain Authority and search rankings increase. The real practical application of external links is the exposure for an artist or band. Features and profile pages on popular music blogs bring link building opportunities.
The strategy is to ensure that each profile, blog or post about you consistently points back to your site. Adding social media profiles and a link to your Soundcloud or Bandcamp is easy enough. The difficulty lies with blogs and media publications. The best bet would be to create content that leads back to your site or one of your other outlets. For example, build links into guest posts or request that interviews are linked to your Soundcloud or any other preferred site. With blogs that may not publish content but simply share music or videos, submit your music or video via Soundcloud embedding or YouTube embedding, which lead back to your channels.
Dan Shure of evolvingSEO recently wrote a post for Moz in which he states:
“I’m sad to have to say this, but many bands don’t seem to even have a YouTube page of their own. Again, they are missing a massive opportunity to funnel fans searching for their content to their YouTube account—where they can grow subscribers, promote music and cross-promote other channels.
Now imagine a person discovering a band on a music blog, which leads them back to the band’s Soundcloud. That person lands on your page and now has instant access to all of your social media accounts and website. This cross promotion across all networks, allows for an increase in followers, which increase your social circle/fan base. This growth in your social circle will translate to more shares, which also affect rankings.
- Social Media Activity and Interacting With Followers
As of May 2015, there are roughly 302 million active Twitter users. There are roughly 9,218 tweets sent out every second and over 550,000 sent out in one minute. And on the Gram, that number is just over 2,400 photos share per second. People are actively using social media and it shows. So what does this mean for a band or an artist? The simple answer is you need to cover all bases. Datify’s Claire Louise Sheridan puts it as such:
“Cover all bases – that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, We Heart It, YouTube – the lot. Even Snapchat and Foursquare. Just because you don’t like one of them, it doesn’t mean your fans don’t!”
With each medium comes nuanced content, which is original and interesting enough to evoke sharing. Some ideas are to offer exclusive content such as new songs, mixtapes or artwork. Research your fans by seeing who referencing other artists in your genre. The idea is to foster a community and reward that community. Be active in your social media efforts. The example above, Sango, perfectly illustrates the use of Instagram for event and project promotion. And if you aren’t sure, Sango consistently sells out shows, which link ticket sales via social media. The uses of social media for giveaways and promotions will only strengthen your brand.
The best digital marketing practices for music artists ensure brand consistency, provide engaging content and offer interaction with fans. These simple practices will drive streaming revenue and music sales through search, social media and an optimized site. More importantly they ensure that fans get a better user experience.