Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo, Gayle, and more. You may be asking yourself, why mention these artists? What do any of them have in common? Well the answer is simple, really: Marketing. If marketing yourself as a music artist feels like a puzzle you cannot solve, don’t worry as you are not alone. In fact, it is such a common question that there have been entire Music Marketing Books based around this very concept!
If you are looking to better market yourself as a music artist, books are a great place to start! They can answer all sorts of questions.
For instance, you may be asking yourself, how can I, as a music artist, market myself in an effective and cost-efficient manner? Or you may be wondering how to navigate this new landscape of social media in a way that is conducive towards building a personal brand.
Music Marketing Books are an important resource in finding these answers. With these books as a guiding point, you will have taken your first step towards achieving a successful music career!
While several music artists have harnessed the power of marketing to generate momentum in their career, there are still many individuals who do not recognize the importance of a personal brand. If you find yourself in that category, let me show you some examples in which marketing was transformational to an artist’s journey.
Taylor Swift is one of the most popular artists of the generation and has earned a reputation among the internet as a marketing genius. In fact, some regard her business skills as being equal with her music prowess!
How did she achieve this title? She implemented techniques such as dropping easter egg hints in her music videos and songs in order to increase fan engagement. This fan engagement generates hype even among those who wouldn’t necessarily consider themselves Swifties. For instance, my sister, who does not actively search for this information, knows all things Taylor Swift simply because of these easter egg theory videos filling her Tik Tok For You page!
These marketing skills can be traced all the way back to the beginning of Taylor’s career, more likely than not helping to explain how she achieved some of her once-in-a-lifetime success.
Olivia Rodrigo is another music artist who capitalizes on the positive impact of marketing. In early 2021 Olivia exploded onto the music scene with her first single “Driver’s License,” now streamed over one billion times on Spotify!
Sometimes after an artist has such a successful first single, they find it difficult to keep the momentum going because they now face the challenge of living up to their initial hype. Olivia was able to avoid this problem entirely due to her propensity for Marketing.
Olivia’s debut album Sour achieved immense success, taking the internet and the world by storm. In less than one year, she had gone from a relatively unknown music artist to a staple in the music industry!
Much of the hype surrounding Sour and Olivia herself stemmed from marketing tactics in which she created a personal brand of nostalgia and relatability. Olivia identified her target audience as the younger generations (Gen Z and Millenials), and played into these generations’ longing for a simpler time. She costumed herself in early 2000’s clothing and wove this theme into her music videos in an effort to have a nostalgic appeal.
Olivia also pushed her relatability factor by tapping into the common theme of teenage angst. She drew from the nostalgic angst of bands’ past, such as Green Day and Paramore. Her open expression of angst allowed her audience to feel connected through this shared experience, and bonded them to Olivia.
Gayle, as well, took advantage of marketing to gain notability. Her breakout song, “abcdefu”, blew up on Tik Tok because of a marketing plan done so well that many didn’t even realize they were being marketed to!
This marketing scheme featured an individual, who we now know was a part of Gayle’s team, commenting on one of Gayle’s Tik Tok posts asking if she could make a song based on the alphabet. She responded to the comment with a video of her singing the chorus of “abcdefu”. Quickly gaining millions of views, all of a sudden Gayle’s new song was everywhere from Tik Tok trends to the radio!
While many of these artists had marketing teams who helped them construct these strategies, I would argue that there is a way for you to learn these skills yourself: Music Marketing Books.
The three music marketing books featured below are a great way to generate your own marketing ideas and begin to expand your audience! The best recipe for success is to combine your personal creativity with the lessons taught in these books, and you will be well on your way to building your brand as an artist!
Widely regarded as the golden standard of music marketing books, this is a must-have for anyone hoping to break out in the music industry. First published in 1991, and routinely updated to keep up with the changes in the digital world, All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald S. Passman goes into detail regarding record and managerial details along with information on how to negotiate and more!
Readers of All You Need to Know About the Music Business sing its praises, with the average rating on Amazon being 5 stars and reviewers using words such as “informative,” “excellent,” and “must read” to describe their experience with this book.
While not music-industry specific, I would say Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media by Brittany Hennessy is just as important, if not more, than an industry specific book.
This is because, nowadays, knowing how to brand yourself on a social media platform may be all that is needed to jumpstart your career. For instance, look at our earlier example of Gayle. She achieved overnight success simply through her involvement on Tik Tok! All it took was one viral video, spurred on by a comment designed as a marketing ploy, and she had a music career!
Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media by Brittany Hennessy covers all this and more! You’ll learn how to establish a following online plus create a brand for yourself, which then can be used to launch your very own successful music career!
As we know, the rise of social media platforms, such as Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram, have changed the way the music industry operates. Because of this, it is now possible for a musician to launch their career without the backing of a big record label.
This shift in the music industry offers up-and-coming artists an incredible opportunity to create their own success! However, as discussed, marketing plays an important role in determining success. This is where Music Marketing for the DIY Musician by Bobby Borg comes into play.
Music Marketing for the DIY Musician by Bobby Borg teaches musicians who are forging their own paths, without the help of big teams, how to market their music to a broad audience on their own. It provides the musician with all the marketing tools they could possibly want or need!
Now after reading this book, you may be thinking, “Okay, I know how to market myself, but how do I go about publishing my own music?”. Don’t worry, we have the perfect solution to that too! Head on over to this article in which we discuss all the ways one can self-publish their own music!
Well, I think that just about covers it! Let’s recap what we covered really quick:
Now that that’s done, I think you’re ready to go out there and conquer the music industry! Don’t forget: Have fun, stay true to yourself, and make your best music!