Growth Hacks for Musicians: Use Social Media and Country Trends to Get Discovered

This goes out to all emerging musical maestros and beat visionaries out there! Do you feel lost in the infinite digital ocean of social media? If so, you’re not alone. Many are struggling to make waves in an industry overflowing with musical giants. However, you can leverage our stats, data, and game-changing growth strategies, to stand out.

Breaking into the charts in countries like the US and UK can feel like an impossible mission. These saturated markets with fierce competition from established names make it tough for new artists to shine. But what if I told you there are a few growth-hacking tips you can use to reach those high notes in your career?

Introducing… 🥁 Growth Hacking for Musical Artists! In this post, we’ll discuss how you can use social media and global trends to catapult your fanbase to the next level. 

Let’s make music history together.

Why Is It So Hard for Emerging Artists to Get Discovered?

The internet and digital rights make it easier for new artists to create and get their songs out there. Yet, it’s still very challenging to establish a name for yourself. It takes much more than raw talent.

Yes, social media helps, but established artists also use the same digital channels. Adding listeners to your fanbase when you’re facing so much competition from industry legends isn’t easy. Plus you’re working to carve out a space among other talented rising artists too. 

Let’s look at some key factors that make it challenging to break through the social media noise:

          • Saturation – Music platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube make it easier than ever to create and share music. However, the sheer volume of content has made it difficult for new artists to stand out. 
          • Algorithm bias – Music streaming platforms often prioritize established artists and popular tracks in their algorithms, making it even harder for emerging talent to get the exposure they need. 
          • Networking – The music industry is built on relationships. Without an extensive network, it can be tough to connect with the right people who can help propel your career forward. 
          • Marketing & promotion – Emerging artists often lack the resources, knowledge, or budget to effectively market themselves and build a strong brand.
          • Evolving music landscape – The way we consume music is constantly changing, and artists need to adapt and innovate to stay ahead of trends and capture the attention of listeners.
          • Local audiences – The US has 5x more TikTok users than Germany or Japan, which makes it more difficult to capitalize on social trends as an artist in the latter regions. Connect to a server from a different country and reach more audiences around the world – try it out risk-free with our VPN free trial.

    The Complexities of Music Promotion on Streaming Platforms

    Music streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music offer growing musicians an easy way to enter the industry and show their music to the world. At the same time, these platforms present a unique set of challenges.

    For instance, streaming rates vary widely between platforms, with some paying much less than others. This can make it difficult for you to earn a sustainable income from your music, especially if you rely solely on streaming revenue.

    Infographic with how much money artists make from a million streams of one song on major platforms
    The figures are based on what each streaming service pays per stream, on average.

    Apple Music pays 2.5x what Spotify will pay an artist, on average. That’s not all. Established and emerging artists also face significant earning differences, with a lot of factors determining that ultimate payday. 

    Earning Differences Between Recognized and Emerging Artists

    Recognized artists like deadmau5 are often signed to major record labels. They have more resources and support to promote their music and get it in front of a larger audience. They likely have better negotiating power in discussions with streaming platforms, which means they can secure more favorable royalty rates and other benefits.

    Independent artists like Husa & Zeyada, on the other hand, rely on their own efforts to promote their music. Since they have a smaller fanbase, they have less bargaining power to individually negotiate with streaming platforms, if that’s even a possibility.

    Infographic with the difference in revenue between major musical artist and independent artist.
    It pays to be famous, but that doesn’t mean only famous artists make good music.

    Unclear Agreements & Monetization Figures On Streaming Platforms

    As an artist, you can never tell how much exactly you’re going to make from streaming. This is because all is not black and white when it comes to streaming payouts. For instance, Spotify uses a lot of variables when calculating an artist’s income and isn’t very transparent about how they reach these numbers. 

    Even the most popular artists complain about streaming apps’ unclear streaming rates. Here’s what Snoop Dogg had to say about it: 

    “I don’t know who’s running the streaming industry—if you are here or not—but you need to give us some information on how to track this money down, cause one plus one ain’t adding up to two.”

    Ideally, artists should be able to know how much they’re going to make off a given number of streams. In the world of streaming, the legendary rapper adds, no such agreements exist. “It’s not being translated,” he added. “It’s not working for the artist right now.”

    Here’s what you need to know to understand monetization on streaming platforms:

    While major label artists get a smaller cut, their pie is exponentially bigger.

    How Different Subscription Plans & Locations Impact Your Revenue

    Platforms typically pay artists a percentage of the revenue their streams generate. This percentage varies depending on the level of subscription a listener has.

    For example, on Spotify, the pay rate per stream can be as low as $0.003 for free users, while paid subscribers generate higher rates. This also happens on almost all other streaming platforms. 

    The impact of these different pay rates can vary depending on where most of your fanbase is located. For instance, streams may be more valuable in some parts of the world than in others, depending on the local economy and on consumer spending habits. 

    Infographic showcasing how much Spotify pays artists in different countries.
    Spotify may pay its artists in the UK more, but the competition is also more fierce.

    All these variables can make it tough for emerging artists to generate a stable income from their music. But don’t worry, you can turn things around with a little creativity!

    6 Growth Hacks to Take Your Music Career to the Next Level

    There’s a lot you can do to increase your reach, gain more listeners, and boost your music income. Let’s look at some tips that can help you step up your game and be on your way towards that platinum.

    Social trends are a powerful tool for emerging artists to increase their reach and gain more listeners. Social media challenges and trends like duet chains, sea shanties like The Kellerman, and covers of popular songs can do wonders for a growing artist.   

    TikTok is now a major force in the music industry, with many popular songs and artists getting their start on the platform. Lil Nas X’s hit song “Old Town Road” gained traction on TikTok through the #YeehahChallenge, which helped propel it to the top of the charts. 

    You can use TikTok to create short music videos, participate in viral challenges, and collaborate with other artists to reach a wider audience. 

    Apart from TikTok, you could also give your music career a boost with YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. This sort of short-form content gives you exposure to a wider audience, opportunities for viral content, connection with fans, collaboration with other artists, and monetization.

    Take a look at the top social media platforms for short-form content:

    Infographic showcasing the most popular platforms for short-form  video in the US.
    TikTok has the lion’s share of the short-form video market, but YouTube Shorts is catching up fast.

    Make it Big With Short-Form Content

    Creating snackable content is an excellent strategy to get your name and your music out there. But you also need to do it right. These six tips will help you make sure your content does what it’s supposed to: make your music reach new ears.

            • Collaborate with other musicians: Collaborating with other artists can spark creative ideas, expose you to new industry contacts, and strengthen community engagement. Most of all, you both get exposed to a wider audience that potentially already likes your type of content. This approach can quickly increase your reach and visibility. 
            • Do covers of popular songs: Covering a hit can increase your visibility, as listeners often search for their favorite songs on social media. When you cover a well-known song, your version may appear in search results or automatically reach users who enjoy the original. This attracts new followers and engages your existing audience.
            • Prioritize original content: While covering popular songs is not a bad idea, it shouldn’t be your mainstay. If content is king, original content is the emperor. It allows you to showcase your unique style and talent. More importantly, it brings you greater visibility because social media algorithms favor original content over reposted content.
            • Post at the right time: Social media algorithms rank your content higher if it gets good engagement right after it’s posted. This is why it’s essential to post when your fans are most active online. If you share a post at an odd hour when most of your audience isn’t online, it won’t really make an impact. You can experiment with various posting times to determine which ones get the best results.
            • Stick with short videos: Short-form content reaches more users if it has a higher retention rate —  AKA how long users stay on your video. Since attention spans on social media are extremely short, only short, focused videos will make it. Content under 60 seconds retains 80% of viewers halfway through and 60% stay until the end.
            • Stay away from fake followers: Buying followers is the worst thing you can do and it won’t increase your social media reach. When you purchase followers, you’re only getting follows from dead accounts that will never interact with your posts. This destroys your engagement rate and lets algorithms know that you’re producing no-good content that only a few of your followers like. This can have an even greater negative impact on your future posts.
    Infographic with stats on viewer retention for short-form video content.
    Keep it short and sweet if you want your video to go viral.

    Use Alternative Funding Platforms

    Streaming platforms aren’t the only way for you to make money from your music. You can also use sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Patreon to raise funds directly from your fans and supporters. You can set up campaigns to finance specific projects like recording an album, going on tour, or creating music videos.

    You can offer rewards such as exclusive content, merchandise, or personalized experiences in exchange for financial contributions on crowdfunding platforms. Know that crowdfunding isn’t an easy road to make a lot of money. You still need effective promotion through social media, email newsletters, and live performances to maximize the funds you can raise. 

    Engage Your Fans

    Community is a basic aspect of a person’s experience of music. It unites listeners and the artist in a unique bond that might not exist otherwise. You can capitalize on this sense of community to gain some extra support from your fans and strengthen your career. 

    Places like Discord and Twitch give you a fantastic opportunity to connect with your fans and establish a direct line of communication with them. You can use Discord’s chat rooms and voice channels to host live Q&A sessions. Here you can answer fan questions, share insights into your creative process, and even collaborate with your followers. 

    Twitch is great for live streaming performances, art creation, or sharing behind-the-scenes content. This interactive experience lets fans watch your work in real-time and interact with you through chat, creating a dynamic and engaging environment.

    Additionally, you can organize contests and giveaways on these platforms, which is an effective strategy to promote your work and attract new fans. These activities help build your online presence and create a sense of appreciation and loyalty among fans.

    Tap Into Other Markets

    Getting into the top 50 or top 100 on streaming platforms can do wonders for you if you’ve never been there before. It gives you a lot more exposure and discoverability. It also means algorithms are more likely to recommend your music to listeners who haven’t listened to it before.

    But, as a growing musician, you also know how hard it is to get into that elite club. It’s near impossible in countries like the US and the UK where you’re in direct competition with Drake, The Weeknd, Taylor Swift, and Ed Sheeran. Good luck with that!

    The solution? Play it smart and try to get into the top lists in a country with fewer A-list competitors. You’ll need much fewer streams to do this, but how does it work? 

    All you need is a good VPN. You can use CyberGhost VPN to change your IP address to a country with lesser competition. For instance, it’ll be much easier to get to the top 50 in Denmark or Iceland.

    Since you own the rights to your own music, it won’t be a copyright infringement if you change your location to enlist it in another country’s charts. Spotify and other streaming services also don’t forbid the use of VPNs as long as you’re not violating copyright laws.

    Remember that you need to connect to a VPN before you upload your music. This makes sure your new music goes to the right country charts. 

    If your music reaches the top list in one country and you want to change your country again, it should not be a problem – in theory. This is because streaming platforms use the number of streams to rank music. If your music is already popular in one country, it should stay ranked even if you change your country later.

    You could also do the same to change your TikTok region to a country with more users. Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and Russia have the most TikTok users after the US. You can easily tap into these markets and increase your reach beyond borders if you think your music is likely to do well in these regions. 

    Use AI Tools

    Imagine this: AI tools helping you whip up snazzy album artwork that’ll make your fans go bananas. No more headaches over trying to come up with the perfect visual vibe for your masterpiece — it’s all at your fingertips!

    But wait, there’s more! AI can also be the perfect songwriting assistant. Tools like Popgun and Amper can compose fresh tunes that’ll make your creative juices flow faster than the coffee at your local hipster café. Say goodbye to the dreaded writer’s block!

    AI can give your career a tremendous boost. That said, it can’t replace genuine talent. It’s a great supplement to improve the work you’re already doing, but AI alone can’t guarantee success.

    What’s Next? A Bright Music Career. 

    Earning a living through music isn’t easy. It takes a lot of work, creativity, and smart decisions.

    Not every streaming platform pays well. Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Deezer will pay you better than Spotify, but Spotify has a larger audience and helpful tools for artists. Diversifying your income streams is a good bet so get your music listed in every place you find. Don’t forget to capitalize on low-competition regions with great streaming rates. 

    Boost your monetization efforts with social media. Focus on short-form video content to increase your reach on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. While you’re building a decent income through streaming, you can use alternative funding platforms so your fans can support you in creating the music they love.  

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