Musicians and their fans have long been active on social networks, and recent upgrades has made social media an invaluable tool for the music industry. Not only can a killer profile help artists mark major milestones, but it can also make getting your songs in fans’ ears even easier.
Currently seven out of the 10 most followed Twitter accounts belong to musicians. The only non-musicians in that group are President Barack Obama, YouTube, and Instagram. Katy Perry, who is at the top of that list, has reached more than 50 million followers, making her the most followed person on Twitter.
But Twitter isn’t the only place where musicians and fans can connect. Other platforms like Facebook, Google+, and YouTube have features that are specifically designed to help the music industry drive promotions, increase sales, boost recognition, and aid with discovery. Let’s take a look at a few of these features.
Facebook’s Timeline is a treasure trove for individuals looking to discover new interests, including music. Last March, the social network added a new section to Timeline that highlights movies, books, and music. And thanks to Open Graph apps, people can share their playlists, see what friends are listening to, and even listen to music directly from a musician’s Facebook Page.
And let’s not forget that Facebook recently added auto-play functionality to videos shared by bands and musicians in News Feed. Videos play silently by default, but tapping or clicking on the video will display a larger version and turn the sound on. This is a great way to give fans a sneak peek of your latest music video or some behind-the-scenes footage from the studio.
The social network also runs Music on Facebook, a Page that highlights innovative ways musicians are using the platform to share and connect with fans. It also features exclusive behind the scenes photos and videos, as well as Q&A sessions with up and coming artists. You even have access to resources and best practices designed specifically with the music industry in mind.
Thanks to seamless integration with YouTube and features like Hangouts, Google+ has become a popular destination for up and coming artists and musical legends alike. In early 2012, Daria Musk was one of the first performers to make waves on Google+ by playing hours of live music using the video chat feature.
With Hangouts On Air, Will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas were able to engage fans before and after a concert. The camera was even placed onstage during the show so viewers could tune in from the comfort of their homes. And thanks to the Live Q&A feature recently introduced, viewers can now ask and vote on questions live, as well as replay the Q&A after the broadcast is over.
Google+ also introduced Studio Mode, an option that enables broadcasters to optimize sound quality for music instead of voice. This simple adjustment results in clearer instruments, a more balanced mix, and an overall better quality presentation.
Although the video feature wasn’t launched specifically for musicians, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Instagram. Artists like Justin Timberlake and Paul McCartney are using the app in really creative ways.
For example, Justin Timberlake posts photos of locations where tickets to concerts or signed memorabilia is hidden for fans to find. His photos get upwards of 84,000 likes and more than 1,000 comments. Justin also shares photos from concerts and backstage sneak-peaks.
And it’s not just the younger generation whose adopted the technology. Music legend Paul McCartney uses Instagram to promote his latest album and even encourages fan interaction by sharing user-generated content. As a musician or a member of a musician’s marketing team, you don’t always have to rely on video to engage fans.
Launched last April, Twitter Music is a standalone music discovery engine that analyzes all the music data shared across the network every day. The free service uses Twitter activity like tweets and engagement to locate and surface the most popular tracks and artists.
Anyone using the app can listen to top artist’s tracks, check out similar musicians, and see who their favorite artists are following on Twitter. The latter is key, especially for up and coming artists, as many musicians show support by following each other. This has great potential to create more fans.
And although details are scarce, Twitter announced a new partnership with music firm 300 Entertainment this week that could be big for newer musicians. The company will have access to Twitter’s music-related data, including the location tags from which those tweets were sent. The goal, according to power broker Lyor Cohen, is to mine Twitter for the signs that music scouts have always sought, like a flicker of excitement about a fledgling band.”
It goes without saying that YouTube is a popular destination for musicians. The platform receives more than 1 billion unique visits resulting in more than 6 billion hours of video watched each month. By now you should know the benefits of having a YouTube Channel, especially now that you have access to Channel Cards and cross-promotion features.
Today it was announced that Google is rolling out a new feature that pushes YouTube videos to the top of search results. For example, if someone searches for a song, he or she will now see a card appear at the top of the results that contains a link to the video for the song, as well as information on the artist, album, and release date.
According to the report, the tracks featured “in the vast majority of searches” are official videos from artist pages or publishers’ accounts. The video always links back to a YouTube Channel, which will certainly help drive more traffic to the site.
Traditional methods of music engagement might be on the outs, but social media has allowed music to be shared, evaluated, and marketed at the speed of light. Musicians and their social teams are encouraged to explore social networking sites for creative uses of the features mentioned above.
[Image credit: Martin Fisch]