Marketing and Promotion in the Music Industry 
People (2011 Article By Asbati Bashir)

Published Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:07 PM

In today’s music industry there are many ways of promoting a music product or an event due to the internet, social networks and now having access to equipment and facilities which were typically used by companies, in one’s home for independent use. It is now far easier for music to be promoted with a very low budget compared to the cost 10 years ago. In this essay I will be focusing on a select artist and the strategies used in order to promote this artist’s products I will also be talking about some of the most popular platforms that are now used to promote music platforms such as:

Twitter

Magazines

Ustream

Youtube

MySpace

Facebook

These are all internet based websites with the exception of magazines which may have websites in addition to being available in print form.

The artist I have chosen to talk about is New York Brooklyn born rapper Skyzoo. In the year 2009 Skyzoo released his second album ‘’The Salvation’’ and I will be discussing the ways in which he promoted this album.

Twitter:

Twitter is a very common site where celebrities are able to connect with their fans and let their fans know what they should look out for. This is an ideal place to promote a product without needing any expense. Though simply telling the direct fans isn’t the only way to promote a product on Twitter. Having other artist that have collaborated with the artist on their album also tweet about the album to their fans and followers on Twitter will allow news of the album to reach a larger fan base and a larger audience especially because most famous artist have numerous followers on their pages. Skyzoo had all the producers that collaborated with him on his album tweet about the album its’ release date.

Magazine

Interviews:

Magazines such as Vibe, The Source and XXL are very popular Hip-Hop magazines. Securing an interview with one or more of them is a huge way of getting promoted because these magazines provide a platform which directly links the specific Hip-Hop industry to the audience. They are also very popular because of the number of famous and relevant artists and people in the industry that they feature giving them a very good reputation and high status in the industry. Skyzoo had managed to be interviewed by all three of these magazines and others too. Being featured in popular magazines helps artists reach the audience especially those that are not online looking at the specific artists or searching for music online. The magazines also print artist’s tour dates on their pages, and covers of the album to be released! Not only are the articles printed on paper each issue they are also posted on the magazine’s website, therefore anyone who is subscribed to the magazines will find out information via print media or via the internet.

MySpace:

MySpace is a universally known website where a lot of artists post their music for the world to hear. It was first launched in August 2003, since then many of the world’s famous artists, posted music on MySpace before they became famous; they have continued to use it even after they have achieved fame. MySpace is one of many websites where people can post their music for people to hear and it also gives the audience an idea of what to expect from the artist. MySpace allows the artist to add pictures and a biography about themselves so that the audience can get some background information on the artist. MySpace also provides its own billboard chart where the most played profiles on the website will be shown. Getting on the billboard chart is not only based on MySpace plays. People are able to advertise their page on banners on MySpace and be seen on the main pages of MySpace home pages.

Live Performances and Touring:

Touring gives artists the opportunity to expand into regions where they attract more of the public eye. Artists may be well known in their own cities but not in other cities our countries. Touring enables them increase their fan base and to assess how far and where they have a potential fan base.

Before the release of his second album Skyzoo went on tour with other music artists, they travelled all over the United States, toured Asia and also Europe in order to reach audiences outside the United States. A live performance gives the audience a true picture about the artist. It allows them to be in close range with the artist and hear how their music sounds live. This also allows the artist to show appreciation to his/her fans. 

Youtube Promotion & Music Videos:

Youtube is a website where people can upload videos of all types to be viewed by the public in general. If the quality of the video is good enough and gets a certain amount of views the videos can go viral and the user that uploaded the certain video can earn an income from the site. Many people on Youtube aim to enter the partnership system where they can either make revenue or get more promotion and more views to their page. Youtube also allows people to subscribe to their channels so that they are updated whenever that channel uploads a new video, the more subscribers the channel has the more promotion Youtube gives.

Many companies are on the Youtube partner plan such as BMI and Universal Records where they upload videos from the label and generate revenue from the views. The record labels that Skyzoo is on are both Youtube partners and host his music videos on their pages. Being a Youtube partner allows videos to appear on the side bar of Youtube pages, they are called featured videos and are promoted by Youtube on searches that may seem relevant to the featured video.

‘’Skyzoo-Beautiful Decay music video www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6vP4QbtFGY&feature=channel’’

Youtube allows artist and record labels to post music videos without having to pay for it to be on air like day time television. This also means that it is accessible to anyone who wishes to see the video at any point in time.

Channel IWWMG:

One of the record labels Skyzoo is on is called ‘Jamla Records’’ it has a channel called IWWMG on Youtube where they show short videos of interviews with artists. In these videos the artist explains to the viewers who they are and what they stand for. They also explain the process of how they were signed and their experience working with the label ‘’www.youtube.com/watch?v=248vCG4EROI&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL’’

This channel also shows footage of the performances held by the record label for Skyzoo as well as music videos that Skyzoo had featured in with other artists from the same label !

Duck Down Records:

This is the second record label that Skyzoo is on and this is where they post most of his music videos for his album ‘’The Salvation’’ and also posted his webisodes which were used to help promote his album.

Personal Youtube Promotion:

Some artists make their own personal Youtube pages where they let the audience have a peek into their personal lives. This is often called vloggin which is a video blog. Some artists like to show their fans their recording process or their day to day lives working on their music or even show their fans the backstage events that are not covered on local television. This also lets the audience feel a lot closer to the artist while remaining in the confines of their own homes. Skyzoo made a channel on Youtube called ’’youtube.com/skzyootv’’where he showed his fans some sneak previews of the albums and also some personal views and concepts on things that he thinks about. www.youtube.com/skyzootv . Skyzoo also had his own webisodes which he posted every week these were topics related to his album ‘’The Salvations’’ and called them ‘’Saving Our Grace’’; these videos were also featured on his Duck Down Records label Youtube Channel to help get the subscribers on that channel to see the video. www.youtube.com//watch?v=8BXkZl8XyGA .

The Saving our Grace Youtube Webisode Countdown:

Skyzoo also had his own webisodes which he posted every week these were topics related to his album ‘’The Salvations’’ and called them ‘’Saving Our Grace’’; these videos were also featured on his Duck Down Records label Youtube Channel to help get the subscribers on that channel to see the video.

At the end of the video “The Salvation’’ the credits showed the artists that are going to be on the album and how many days were left until the release of the albumwww.youtube.com//watch?v=8BXkZl8XyGA. This allowed the subscribers of the channel who did not know about Skyzoo to have a reason to check out the album when it was released.

Ustream:

Ustream is a channel where artists can broadcast live on camera and speak directly to their audiences through a chat room. People type in questions and the artist can speak in the camera. This is a phenomenal site that has made artists fan base grown even bigger than what it was based on the music alone! This means that the fans can be close to the artist without even being in the same country, state or region. Ustream is also a place where many artist like to give out exclusive information about their location or album that others will not be able to get unless they are tuned into the the Ustream channel. This channel was used when skyzoo was touring in China with his label. He used it to let the people know where in China he would be during the day before the performance.

Facebook Fan page:

Making a Facebook fan page allows users on Facebook to know about the product or music that is being promoted. It is also a quick way for someone to gather a lot of Facebook fans. When a person becomes a fan of a page on Facebook it is posted on their wall, this is visible to their contacts on the person’s profile. This makes it a lot more attractive for people to join as they will see what their friends are joining. In Facebook profiles you can post pictures and update statuses, add posts, links and videos. Also fans can leave comments to on the fan page so that the artists can read their opinions and get feedback directly from them.

Major music blog sites:

Major blog sites usually have a lot of people following them and trust the blogs to update them with what is being released, and music reviews; opinions on what is good or bad in the market and industry. These sites are usually based on the opinions of the people who are respected within the music industry and have some good co-signs from the industry. In the case of Hip-hop music websites like www.hiphopdx.com,www.hiphopgame.com and www.kevinnottingham.com are major online hip-hop blogs that have had the industries top celebrities co-sign and have thousands of subscribers. Usually getting onto these sites comes from the personal research of the people who manage the blogs but sometimes having been connected with people in the music industry they usually first in line to getting exclusive insight in what is coming up. This allows the people on the blog to see something new and also allows the artist to have their product spread to a wide audience, an audience that is more likely to be loyal because of the subscription commitment they have made with the blog!

Covers, Remixes and Mixtapes:

In this specific genre of Hiphop, mixtapes and remixes are probably the easiest and quickest way for artists to get their name publicized. Mixtapes are a compilation of music that the artist has made before the release of their album. Mixtapes used to be songs that the artist has made using the instrumentals of already known songs in other words covers of the original song using their own lyrics. Mixtapes usually get to the public via the work of Mixtape DJ’s who sometimes host the mixtapes of certain artists and play them on the radio and release the recorded session online. Now mixtapes have more of an original twist using instrumentals made exclusive for the artists. Mixtapes are referred to as ‘’Street Albums’’. The main difference between mixtapes and albums are that mixtapes are usually distributed for free. In Skyzoo’s case he has released an original mixtape called ‘’The Power of Words’’. All the production on this mixtape was original productions and it was hosted by world famous DJ’s DJ Drama and Statik Selektah.

Shout Outs:

The easiest and the most common form of promotion in today’s music industry is having established artists give an less known artist a Shout Out, which lets their fans know that this artist is worth checking out. Through a range of mediums Skyzoo has had many well-known artists work with him and produce for him throughout the time before releasing his Album. Having well known producers, DJ’s and magazines mention his name means that that he is someone who is credited by these people; he is worth their fans checking out his music and products. Before Shout Outs would mainly be via video but now Shout Outs can happen through any means that an artist is able to reach his fans; Twitter, Facebook, Ustream, Radio stations and etc.

Conclusion:

I have researched many different ways that artists can promote their work in today’s music industry. It has become extremely easy to do so due to the advances in technology and specifically the advent of the Internet. The new ways enable the promotion of products without the need for huge funding or excessive amount of time as it was 10 years ago in the music industry, making introduction to the industry more accessible to the general public.