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Leveling Up Your Music Brand

The CAB Portal blog provides articles on tricks of the trade and best practices, as well as news, interviews, artist showcases and recommended products/services, that emerging artists can utilize to take their music brand to the next level of success.

Has Music Streaming Made It Easier For New Artists to Make a Breakthrough?

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The modern world is changing rapidly. It has become a difficult time for even technologically savvy people to keep pace with every emerging new trends and gadget.

It seems as if everyone is trying to become successful in this fast-moving world.

Streaming, in the form of digital music or entertainment videos, has the primary way of consuming art today.

Music lovers can now listen to music performed by new and well-known artists - and on-demand.

But, has it made it easier for the end users who listen to these artist’s music?

Here are two main problem musicians face when using music streaming services: 

  • They do not get paid for their music to be streamed by these companies. 
  • Secondly, they have problems with exposure and relevance.

So, what should upcoming musicians do?

The answer is simple. Musicians need a better strategy for MORE exposure! 

Streaming services may not pay enough for musicians to make a living. However, streaming services can help them get exposure

If more unknown artists were available on music streaming platforms like Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, it might at least help them reach out to a much larger audience to make a breakthrough, right?

Well, the answer can be quite complicated than a simple "Yes" or "No."

Yes, music streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify can help upcoming or struggling artists and party bands get more visibility, boosting their album sales, driving more attendance at their gigs, and generating more profits at the end of the day. 

However, this seems to happen only to artists who are already well-known in their industry. Music streaming services can only help them to supplement their already established influence and popularity.

But, if new artists don’t have an overall (and effective) strategy on "how to properly market themselves" to their masses, music streaming services might be pointless to enhance their visibility - a usual case for many upcoming and unknown artists. 

If that's the case, these upcoming artists will have to happy with only a small fan base.

What's the difference between now and 20 years ago? 

Not much. Struggling artists, now and 20 years ago, stayed unknown, except the fact that they’re able to stream their music now. 

And what should new artists do? 

The answer lies in developing a strategy that indeed works!

Atlantic Records UK, a record company from the UK, has devised "a simple strategy" for their unknown artists to gain more exposures, and they use streaming services to achieve this feat.

How do they do it? 

Here’s how: 

They look for a fairly well-known artist on their label - probably someone who have had few successes on the charts. They also look for a lesser-known artist on their label and latch them with the well-known artists for a collaborative project.

Often, this pairing leads to creating a hit single. Then this hit single is marketed heavily and receives good airtime on the radio.

But radio usage has declined today. That’s where streaming services come into action. 

These hit singles are placed on featured playlists that Apple Music or Spotify creates for their listeners. “New Music Mix,” or “Today’s Top Hits,” are where these new hit singles are kept.

Over a period, this single hit track will get lots of plays. More people start to talk about “this awesome song I listened to,” giving free advertising to this ad.

Music lovers find these two artists featured on one single track, which, in turn, leads them to do some further searching on these artists - both the well-known and the struggling (new) one.

Okay, I admit, this success story might not happen often. But even if a relatively unknown artist gets featured in a hit song, that could mean they have their hit song to release to the masses. 

Many record label companies apply this simple marketing strategy to unknown artists to boost their visibility after their successful feature.

And, guess what happens after the success of this single hit? The upcoming artist will finally “be ready” to release a full-length album to their masses.

To make this simple strategy work, remember this: Before releasing a full album project, making sure there’s a high demand for their music. 

Many record label companies have used this simple strategy in the past to make it easier for new artists to make a breakthrough. 

For example, The Weeknd, a relatively unknown artist at that time, was featured on the song “Crew Love” on Drake’s second album, “Take Care.” 

And, although this song was released in November 2011, The Weeknd’s hit single, “Wicked Games,” wasn’t officially released until a year later. As you might have guessed, “Wicked Games” received massive success for their album.

Over to you: Do you think streaming music services help upcoming artists gain massive popularity? Is there any strategy these artists can use to boost their visibility to their audiences? Please feel free to share your ideas below, in the comment box.