The Streaming Boom, Big Data & 5 Ideas For Fan Conversations
Fanbases are networks, not channels. How is a network different than a channel? We unveil in today’s story.
Many artists focus on creating channels and being present across different social media sites and forums. We live in an age of networks, where digital conversions are designed in different formats: video, audio, text, emoji and more.
So how do you network the right way? Because of the way networking is setup on every different channel, fan engagement and fan conversations have drastically changed since the rise of Web 2.0.
In the beginning, big data helped the channel model succeed.
The explosion of metrics and algorithms of each new platform did not just reflect what happened in terms of digital growth in the music industry. It transformed it, says MusicPromoToday’s co-founder Raffi Keuhnelian.
Over the last couple years, the music industry experienced a surprising rebound thanks to the breakneck growth of music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music, Apple Music and more. As a result, even record labels are now scouting new talent in very different ways, 100% of the time leveraging streaming stats.
Analysts clam that millions of bits of data are tracked across these streaming platforms… and then you have aggregators providing stakeholders with a comprehensive overview of an artist’s radio airplay, streaming playlist adds and positions, social media engagement, and geolocated listener demographics… basically, if you get your numbers RIGHT… sky is not the limit, it’s just the view.
Heck… not only we can claim that it’s not only possible to see who’s blowing up now, but more importantly, who’s going to be blowing up next. - Anto Dotcom
For a long time, the music industry needed a facelift and the advent of big data really fulfilled this.
By using social media platforms and new ad technologies, the music industry learned how to get huge in the digital advertising sector as well. Companies like Spotify, Snapchat, Triller, TikTok and many more now leverage this sector into stimulating new collaborative marketing with larger brands, even Fortune 100 brands are onboard.
The popularity of such platforms as a marketing tool continues to grow at exponential paste.
The music industry is following in their footsteps and big data is playing a significant role in the switch. It may not be long before the entire albums or even music videos are sponsored by corporations. Want to learn the real business of the music industry? Learn why music is the hot new wall street asset.
Big data can enhance marketing, monetizing strategies and the seemingly former belief of artists making a sustainable living from their music.
Over all, the big data may enhance the primary function of music – bringing people together. In this article, we dive deeper in fan communication formulas: linear and non-linear ways of networking [digitally].
The channel landscape
The two best examples of the new emergence of a channel landscape are SoundCloud and Spotify. Both platforms are centered around ‘the user’ and ‘their networks’ and today; the channels that they’ve allowed the network and users to create for them. Talk about user generated content!
Spotify lets users create playlists.
Those are the playlists appearing in search results. The product.
Independent ”influencers” create playlists.
Spotify also has editorial playlists to control proper curation since many playlists have become impactful.
Soundcloud, the music-based social network.
The main page is filled with playlists based personalized based on moods, genre, type of music.
Users follow each other to network and consume: reposts and playlists.
As a result, Spotify and Soundcloud went from social-first to channel-first.
A lot of streaming platforms followed the format after seeing success, like Apple, Tidal and many more.
Channels are linear. Artists distribute records, they get broadcasted through the channel.
We’re all living in the digital world of networks. The most profound shift going from web 1 to Web 2.0
Web 2.0 has allowed influencers to exist, create virality, memes to go viral, and even get sold for millions after becoming NFT’s. Want to learn what an NFT is? The NFT Craze: Could The Non-Fungible Token Be The Future?
Because of the abundance of users, content and information, streaming and social media platforms are now forced to create recommendation algorithms to provide the most relevant content. As a result, more channels are created in the case of certain big social media platforms, it means that people have to pay to actually reach audiences that already follow them.
Web 2.0 changed everything but allows artists to rethink music PR and music marketing. An artist use to do a PSA, in video or written format. Some artists went to the radio to drop a major announcement. Today, artists can simply go live on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any of their social media platform to make an announcement. An artist may decide to communicate through letters, email campaigns, Clubhouse (audio), or Discord (video, text), or even private messaging apps like Community or others.
Non-linearity in fan communities
How you design your relation with your fanbase dictates the sort of game you will be playing.
The following scheme compares the traditional linearity in recording artist-to-fan & fan-to-fan communication. It also compares the channel and network model. As a recording artist, you should consider placing yourself inside the circle/ community of you fans instead of broadcasting down as shown in the channel model.
A community keeps you connected instantly and directly to the conversation that you choose to be a part of, without algorithms disrupting that connection. If you’re inside the circle, you are participating and you therefore have access to more (qualitative) data and insights too.
YES - Music gives us a sense of belonging during difficult times, but the artist himself and others can get that sense of belonging too.
5 Ideas To Open The Dialogue With Your Superfans
The more you try to bridge the gap with users who like your records, the better you’ll understand them, which significantly impacts your odds of building an engagement super-fanbase.
Basic rule of thumb.
It also brings up one of the most underrated challenges in music: how do you make sure a fan keeps listening to you over time? Fan retention is key and allows you to understand the listener better. Getting to know your superfans will also let you explore new avenues for possible conversions, increase engagement, increase attention like Patreon memberships, crowdfunding, limited edition merch, or anything you originate. 4 Ways For Artists To Evolve & Thrive As New Technologies Usher In a New Era of Big Tech
Create an environment where people don’t just join empty channels and disappear because the community or conversation is dead, which then turns into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You may see spam, abuse or none-respectful messages. How you plan around these issues and the way you decide to architect your community of superfine will determine what types of conversations and interactions you enable and the outcome. Setup a Discord channel, or a Clubhouse room, there is an abundance of powerful platforms to break the ice.
2- The Weekly Hangouts
If you have a limited number of engaged superfans, consider reaching out to them one by one, individually or set up a weekly hangout. Those are times where you can chat about life, music and more. Bonding may take time, it’s clear that the more you do of this, the easier you will create bonds and fans will feel more invested in the success of the reason why they’re connected: your music.
3- The Monthly 1 on 1:
We also recommend setting up a monthly, individual call with various fans, one on one.
Check in on each other.
You’ll not just get a snapshot of who people are, but this will allow you to get status updates.
You will be able to listen, which they will appreciate; sometimes, even about how they’re progressing on certain of their own projects… and they’ll hear the same from you.
Patreon offers the best 1:1 conversations that are monetized. Supporters pay a few to get value, content, time or something in return. Although fans usually expect music from you, we actually see a lot superfans getting a lot of value out of this even by learning about new domains.
4- The user interview:
Whenever you’re drop new merch, or a challenge, consider reaching out to a bunch of your superfans directly and hold an interview with them (that you prepare well beforehand).
How they express themselves through march, product or campaign, how much they spend, how they decide to purchase item are all great feedback to get from them. These are 1-on-1 calls that changes the social experience of a artist-to-fan relationship.
5- The co-creation:
Imagine kicking off a project or co-creating a line with a fans.
Aim to have fans part of a project and populate feedback or value from them. Working together on something will helps you understand people new ways to communicate with them, it will let you see how some superfans express themselves, and in what styles they also like to be creative themselves.
Besides building a sense of community and connection, it’s imperative to consider what you want to learn from these interactions. They are time-consuming and there could be dozens of topics, ideas for interaction. What’s important is to prioritize, have a mission, end goal and purpose. You must plan and understand that there are possible challenges.
Think abut what insights will help you address certain challenges and in some cases, the challenge might actually be to speak to fans so you can get more clarity on what goals to set.
Not everything has to be in the hands of a few platforms. We understand that you are spreading yourself too thin by spending a lot of time on Clubhouse, and then hopping on Instagram, diving into discord and so on. Prioritize, listen and decide where you want to start. We recommend being everywhere, but picking one or two main platforms won’t hurt.
You can choose to interact directly with fans and you can do it today even by DMing some people who recently liked your posts. Break out of the channel paradigm and see what you can build through network. It’s not one or the other: you can play both games.
All of us, from Gen Zers to boomers, are consuming more digital content than ever. Whether they are trying to escape a bad day, find a new hobby, hoping to see what everyone is talking about... leverage these platforms in any way you want to generate interest, build bigger reach and communicate with your fans.
Our next article is scheduled for Wednesday and we reveal the headline tomorrow on our Instagram page!
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