There are still traditional music business models that haven’t gone out of date. Digital technology is an undoubtedly useful tool and the communication possibilities opened up by social media are endless. Furthermore, streaming has widened the audience market for music hugely.
However, some might argue that social media is depersonalising for artists. It puts them in a sea of noise that’s difficult to avoid. Streaming has also allowed so much music to be released that making yourself stand out is difficult.
So how can you avoid the noise?
Releasing music in 2020
#1 Consider vinyl
Physical purchases are currently outselling digital, thanks, mostly, to the resurgence of vinyl as a medium. Digital purchases have also decreased because of streaming, but vinyl has nonetheless played a massive part in making physical media the most popular way to buy music.
Why? Well, there’s the argument about sound quality, which, while not necessarily objectively better on a record, is perhaps more distinct (the needle drop, crackles, warmth etc.).
In addition, many find the vintage feeling of vinyl, at one point a bygone of the “olden days”, to be appealing. In particular, older albums were originally distributed on vinyl, so some might say that vinyl is the “correct” way to listen to it.
While you should remain wary of the costs of pressing records, being able to sell your music on vinyl shows people that you are attentive to audience trends and fit in with the zeitgeist. They are also more expensive than CDs and digital albums, and so are potentially a better source of income than both.
#2 Don’t underestimate touring
Tours can go on for a long time if you have the money and are a personal way to connect with fans. To use a lofty example, Bob Dylan has been touring almost non-stop (on what is appropriately called The Never-Ending Tour) since 1988.
To be clear, we’re not suggesting you tour for 30 straight years. But a tour, by its very nature, maintains the momentum of publicity, and it’s a constant source of income when you consider ticket sales and the opportunity to sell merchandise too.
#3 Concentrate on your music
We’ve advocated for the use of social media before, and stand by it. However, if you’re looking to be traditional with your marketing, using it just to inform people that there’s a new album or single out is the best way to use the platform.
Many artists work this way, only sparingly making use of social media to promote new material. Outside of that, it is radio silence. One such example is Radiohead, all the members of which have avoided not just social media proliferation but public speaking altogether.
Granted, Radiohead are a world-famous group who headline festivals. But they and many others like them have maintained their mystique by taking a less-is-more approach. They tour, make music, tour, and make music again, the traditional way, and it has worked. It can for you too.
2020 music trends
#4 Be a real person
While it is easy to reach out to people via social media and email, if you are looking to get someone’s attention, traditional communication tactics are likely to yield better results. Those in high demand will be likely be bombarded with messages from strangers.
So, rather than sending an unsolicited email or Facebook message, reach for the phone, pen a letter or take a drive. This is not only more likely to get their attention, but you are also demonstrating that you take your career and your communication with them seriously.