03 December 2012


Many years ago the fledgling musician had precious little options as far as reaching an audience was concerned. There was playing live shows and passing along demo tapes, and that was about it. These days musicians have more ways than ever to reach a wide array of listeners, and most of these avenues are provided by social media.

Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter put the power of distribution directly in the musicians’ hands. But while this is certainly convenient and efficient, there are still hurdles to overcome. Because while there may be untold millions kicking around social media sites in cyberspace, there are only a few ways to reach them all.

That’s why it’s particularly important for the modern musician to understand the trends of social media to ensure they can reach their target audience.

Fan Funding

This is an increasingly popular social media-based trend that allows musicians to get the attention of the larger labels. For example,  in record label lingo the ability for a musician to sell over 10,000 units is called the “obscurity line.” Once a musician surpasses this line he or she is no longer regarded as small time.

Through social media fan-funding campaigns, musicians can raise money in order to achieve this mark and get the labels to take notice. There are even fan-funding platforms, such as Pledge Music, Kickstarter and Rockethub that are ideal resources for musicians looking to pursue this route.


This may sound like tool used in quantum mechanics, but metrics is actually the process of providing an artists with analytic data. Metrics supplies actionable data based on specific factors, such as fan engagement and fanbase growth. Forget marketing, metrics is crucial for those musicians who want to pinpoint exactly how their music is affecting their fans, and many musicians find metrics invaluable when planning their first tour.

Some popular metrics analytical services include: RockDex, Band Metrics, Next Big Sound and Gig Whiz.

Social Currency

This trend evolved from the mostly debunked myth that giving away free music online would grow a musician’s fanbase. More often than not, this practice led to a  lot of people getting free music downloads and forgetting about the artists shortly thereafter.

What social currency does is establish trust between the musician and the consumer and provide a mutually beneficial exchange with no money being involved. One example of an effective social currency strategy involves the musician offering free downloads in exchange for adding the recipient to an email newsletter. Another strategy involves having the recipient make a Facebook or Twitter post regarding the artists in exchange for a free download.

Streaming video

The popularity of YouTube has been well established, but video streaming services such as LiveStream and UStream are also making a splash. Musicians who ignore the marketing possibilities of these streaming sites do so at their own peril, as video streaming is a great way to deliver live performances and jam sessions to those who can’t otherwise be in the room.

Geolocation Marketing

With the advent of geolocation sites and apps, such as Four Square, Facebook Places and Gowalla, users can get updates regarding the exact whereabouts of friends and family. Geolocation social networks are also perfect for musicians, as they can use them to post real-time location updates regarding live shows in different cities and towns.

These are just a few major trends that all musicians should know about if they want to grow their brand and build and audience. The most important thing is to continue to stay abreast of changes in the social media landscape in order to ensure optimum marketing effect.

Justin Miller is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including video guitar lessons. He writes for JamPlay.com, a leading online music educator offering 2,000+ easy guitar songs to learn in HD.