Digital Marketing And The Music Industry: Street Teams & Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing as a whole has yet to find product market fit with the music industry. With the shift of revenue to digital streaming and the rise of influencer marketing, there is a clear opportunity for the marriage of both industries. In this article, I’ll share my $.02 on why there hasn’t been a solution and what a potential solution would look like.

Lack of Defensible KPI’s → Lack of Solutions

Influencer marketing has primarily been a brand awareness tactic vs. a direct response marketing effort. As artists monetize through streaming, paying influencers high fees to promote songs results in a negative return on investment for marketing spend. In an already cash strapped industry, paying for vanity metrics won’t power large advertising spends. Because of this, you don’t see many of the large influencer marketing companies working consistently with the music industry, and there is a lack of influencer solutions geared towards the music industry.

Solution 1: Digital Street Team

When working with both independent and major labels for Influencia, we saw a clear gap in communication between artists and fans.

When I was in high school, Danny Brown released XXX. Listening to the music for the first time, I felt like I had discovered something. At the time, that was my favorite mixtape of the year. I told everyone I knew about it. Although Danny didn’t know (and still doesn’t know who I am), in a weird way, I was an unofficial street team member. And as Danny began to release more projects and grow as an artist, I continued to promote him on his journey.

When we activated fans as micro influencers, we heard the same story. Fans were happy to promote artists for free and spread the word. They felt as if they were a part of the artist’s journey. They had a clear desire to feel connected.

Prior to the rise of the internet and social media, artists had street teams. These fans and young people interested in the music industry would act as promoters, through flyers and other print marketing tactics. This was once an effective tactic that can easily be replicated through social. Fans want to be a part of the process and artists want free help. Artists need a platform to host their digital street team. A similar model has been executed for major brands by Boston startup Mavrck.

Building a platform that would host a community between artists and digital street team opens a way for artists to grow their career. It would allow for constant access to fan feedback, whether it be for merchandise or running fan accounts ( **link** etc). It could go a step further. Maybe a street team member is web developer or a merchandise expert and wants to give back. Or maybe someone has a friend who owns a famous Twitter account. Artists have an army of individuals with untapped resources that want to help.

Solution 2: Influencer Marketing for Building Playlists

As of now, the primary focus on influencer marketing in the music industry has been to promote artists. Similar to my argument here (LINK), the return on investment for these efforts are limited to the individual campaign. Instead of working on an on and off basis, influencers should be activated to build streaming playlists.

The majority of the top influencers do not have playlists due to the current lack of economic incentive. A label could assist an influencer in creating a playlist and have the influencer directly promote the playlist.

Most of the top Musically influencers, known as musers do not have playlists.

The top 10 users have over 45 million followers on Instagram. Not a single one is identifying the music they’re lip syncing too, let alone promoting them.

In this example, @lissaandlena posted a video of the song #SELFIE by the Chain Smokers. The video received just under two million views. An easy call to action would drive users to a playlist created by Lisa and Lena and include this song. In the process, through forming relationships with the musers, labels could work out arrangements to have them create videos for specific songs.

There is a clear opportunity for a label to build a conglomerate of influencer playlists under a Spotify playlist brand cloud. The playlist growth could be directly related to the influencers themselves marketing their playlist.

In exploring the playlist ecosystem, I created a Spotify account called Tastly, with Spotify playlists related to a fun cartoon theme.

This account could serve as the brand cloud, fueled by created influencer playlists. If anyone wants this account, they can have it for free. Just shoot me an email.

Ripe for improvement, influencer marketing has yet to find it’s place in music.

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