How Mobile Apps Can Help Musicians, Bands, & DJs Grow

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The music industry is virtually unrecognizable from a decade or two ago. There might be a raging debate about how and when the demise of the traditional music industry happened – ranging from the 1997 introduction of MP3 support in Windows Media Player through to the 2000 streaming boom following Radiohead’s Kid A – but the reality is the change is huge and it’s here to stay. Finally, musicians are acknowledging and accepting this digitalization. There is no doubt that to be a successful musician now you need to know how to navigate the technological landscape to your advantage.

Musicians and Mobile Apps – The Problems

Independent Musicians: It’s not clear cut, but with the advent of streaming and the seismic shift in the music industry, independent musicians now stand a greater chance of gaining a foothold in the industry than previously. They don’t necessarily need a label behind them, and there are a plethora of tech start-ups on hand to get them going in the digital music world.

Sustaining Audiences: Previously the big bucks were made fairly immediately in the wake of an album release. This is now vastly different. Income in the music industry now needs to be more constant, streaming needs to be continual, and profit more gradually made. This means keeping listener engagement up consistently. The industry focus now is “no longer ‘buy me’ but ‘playlist me’.“

Being Web-Savvy: It’s not enough to be a muse hiding in the cavern of a local bar waiting to be noticed. Musicians and all involved in the music industry now need an active and developing web presence. This means understanding a tool that the industry has previously had a bad relationship with. In line with this, musicians need to understand and utilize organic search visibility which takes an understanding of the process.

Revenue Streams: The music itself is no longer the sole profit driver. Instead, musicians now need to be looking at a collection of offerings to generate income. This means merchandise, gigs, iTune optimization and podcasts. This links the musician with the world of eCommerce if they want to be truly successful and known.

Genre Nurturing: Musicians need to be recognizable within their specific genre, and each genre has slightly different approaches and methodology to success.

Overcoming the Problems – Mobile App Solutions

Web Optimization for Non-Web Lovers: Creating a web presence and optimizing it is essential. Whether you are a musician yourself or working on behalf of a musician, web optimization is probably more important than the actual talent of the would-be successful musician. Understanding this needs to happen on a micro level. For example, band names and monikers need to be carefully chosen so that they don’t hinder marketability by being too similar to commonplace phrases or words. Mobile apps can help with this web optimization and integrate it with brand awareness. Importantly, mobile optimization is a key trend which looks to continue. Two years ago 20% of music website visits came from a mobile device and that’s only increasing as smartphones become more prolific.

Content Matters: Getting the content of your media channels right needs to be given due attention. In a study by Venture Harbour in conjunction with MIDEM, it was found that of 64 music industry executives alone spent around $1.9m on content marketing. That’s not small fry to get wrong! Mobile apps are developed with content at the forefront. With the correct optimization and SEO mobile apps enable musicians to reach their consumers right at the point of decision-making.

Reputation Management: The music industry has long been bedfellows with the critics, but for the contemporary market, every listener is a critic and reviews matter. Managing reputation of a musical ‘brand’ is crucial. Mobile apps can prompt listeners to leave reviews where they have the most power for your profile.

Locality, Genre, and Location Based Marketing: Whilst a few may be in for the big time on a global scale, the reality of the music industry is that location matters even for the biggest names. Using location-based services in mobile apps, marketing can be tailored to hit the right audience at the right time. On board with this needs to be a way of utilizing the powerful tool of event and charity sponsorship which will foster the goodwill of a local community. Genres can almost be viewed as locations in their own right, and it’s crucial to market to your specific music genre via online radio shows, music forums and YouTube channels for example.

Audience Engagement: As we’ve seen long-term engagement is central to the strategy for musicians. This can be done via social media, leveraging blogs, building music to brand partnerships, but also by providing the tools to ‘hang-out’ where listeners are. Mobile apps can provide another channel for your audience to hear. It also boosts organic search visibility.

Payment and Purchasing: Mobile apps give the Millennial music listeners the tool to make purchases (whether music or merchandise) in the heat of the decision-making moment. Crucially for the music industry, this means getting into the hands of the customers prior to them making a decision to download illegally or stream via something like Spotify. Mobile apps provide the creative approach needed now in the wake of traditional methods.

Podcasts: Podcasts and apps are natural best buddies and can support each other for mutual gain. By using podcasts, those in the music industry can gain control of their music and their brand and potentially reach millions of would-be listeners.

Musicians and Mobile Apps: The Success Stories

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IAMSU is an American hip hop recording artist and record producer. Most known for his singles “Only That Real” and “I Love My Squad”; As well as his appearances producing and featuring for artists such as: Tinashe, Sage The Gemini, Kehlani, Hit Boy, Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, DJ Mustard, Casey Veggies, Lil B, G-Eazy, and the HBK Gang.

The Mobile Industry Benefiting Small Businesses – Focus on Musicians

Mobile apps stand to continue the revolution taking place in the music industry. And – it doesn’t need to be negative. As Douglas Karr from the Marketing Tech Blog says: “To be honest, while many large bands and music stars cry about the sky falling on their industry, I believe online media has transformed the music industry for the better. Instead of a few moguls out there selecting the music that’s going to be heard or the next boy band that’s going to be stars, we now have the consumers of music deciding what they want to hear.”

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