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Digital World and Music Industry, the New Importance of PR

The rise of streaming platforms and social media, along with the impact of major world events, has completely shaken up the role of PR within the music industry. Traditionally focused on gaining exposure for a musician through such outlets as radio airplay, interviews and press releases, the PR for today’s music artist has evolved and expanded to include the artist as influencer, self-promotion on social media, viral trends and ensuring that any of the artist’s work that is shared is properly credited.  With the Covid-19 pandemic and even the effects of Brexit transforming the traditional touring landscape, digital communication has never been as vital to the music industry as it is now.

It is now easier than ever for an artist to get their music out there – great news for all independent artists – but of course this does come with one significant downside: it means that there is also much more competition. Promotion can’t be an afterthought for any new or established artist and they need to ensure that they have a clearly defined brand and strategy right from the off. 

For any unestablished artists, the key to defining their personal brand is to make sure that it truly reflects their own values and style. Authenticity is essential when it comes to connecting with the audience. So too are consistency and frequency, with the regular publication of engaging posts via various platforms that reflect their tone and style. With so much to take into consideration, a musician may consider employing a professional agency to take care of their PR. It’s vital that they choose an agency who not only respects but understands their personal brand, to ensure that their vibe remains authentic.

It is also essential that the agency (or artist) understands the unique potential of each social media platform in music industry terms. Social media offers endless ways to connect with the target audience, but while TikTok might be the perfect channel for a K-pop group, it currently isn’t the best platform for reaching a more mature generation. 

While Craig David might have said,

“I let the music do the talking,”

for most artists, the lines between their music and personal brand have become increasingly blurred. Fans are increasingly expecting a more insightful and interactive relationship with their favourite artists. Such digital activity can include behind-the-scenes features, giveaways, Q&A sessions, live streams, and work-in-progress teasers. And all of this content needs to be consistent in conveying the message that an artist wants to transmit. For those who get it right, powerful self-branding can also result in additional lucrative revenue streams, such as fashion, beauty and lifestyle products – think Frank Ocean with his luxury brand, Homer, or Rihanna and her successful corporation, Fenty Beauty.

As previously mentioned, leveraging the platforms that best fit an artist’s profile can also vastly increase an artist’s exposure and sometimes even propel them to fame. The popular short-video platform, TikTok, has created a multitude of viral trends that can launch an artist’s career or take the success of their latest release to dizzying heights. Dance challenges have been particularly effective at promoting artists popular with younger fans, such as Drake or BTS. With a daily user count of 600 million and rising, TikTok is the fastest-growing channel when it comes to gaining exposure for music artists. A video of an artist ‘busking’ can also go viral overnight on Facebook and gain the musician a whole new legion of followers.

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The fact that music is available everywhere and anywhere, on streaming services and channels such as YouTube also makes the role of PR even more important for artists who want to be heard. With just a few taps on their smartphone, a user can go from an Instagram story, TikTok video or even a paid ad on Facebook to browsing through an artist’s back catalogue on Spotify, or discovering the full song behind the catchy chorus they’ve just heard. A savvy music PR service will spot the best opportunities on social media to ensure that the artist’s music reaches the ears of their potential fanbase.

Music being more available than ever before inevitably comes with a drawback. The unlicensed use of music by content creators is a real problem that is hard to resolve. While it might be easier for large labels to pursue copyright infringements, for independent artists this can involve time and resources that they often don’t have. Again, an effective PR agency can take the hard work out of such endeavours, as well as responding to and negotiating any requests for usage that can result in additional revenue streams. 

More recently, restrictions due to the global health pandemic and even limitations on touring due to Brexit regulations have required artists to look to alternatives to the traditional touring circuits. Video games have redefined concerts, providing unique virtual experiences where users can attend events by artists. Virtual concerts have been taking place on Fortnite, featuring such musicians as DJ Marshmello, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. These virtual performances have garnered the attendance of 12 million players worldwide. While in-person concerts and festivals are now back on the agenda, artists have also realised the power of virtual access, which allows fans from across the world to attend an event. Many festivals and tours look set to incorporate an online element to their physical event, looking forward to 2022.

With so many facets to digital PR in the music industry, an artist should seriously consider turning to a professional service to build their brand and expand their reach. At Slava Communication, we make it our business to know your business and we are committed to helping artists achieve their ambition.

As the king of music PR, Mr Snoop Dogg himself said,

Companies that get down with me know how I get down.” 

For any music artist, selecting the right PR company might be one of the most important decisions they make. 

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