Whether you like it or not, social media are part of the everyday life of musicians today. Probably the most important platform at the moment is one that had the reputation of not being particularly relevant to musicians for a long time: Instagram.
Instagram: Only for narcissists?
For many, Insta is no more than a place for self-promotion and trivial videos.
That may even be true, but then it is simply a reflection of our time. But the fact is, Instagram has very active users, is growing constantly and fast and is especially popular with younger users who are turning their backs on Facebook more and more.
This has to be accepted and you have to try to use Insta for your purposes and not just as a social media tool, but as a marketing instrument.
Instagram for musicians: One tool among many
Instagram is ultimately a tool for musicians to build a personal and emotional relationship with their fans by letting them participate in (artist) life through photos and videos.
Even though Instagram is very simple and limited in its functions, there are still many things to consider and optimize.
How to use Instagram properly as a musician
We’ve put together some tips to help you use Instagram more effectively and expand your fanbase…
Set links in Instagram correctly
Instagram helps musicians to tie the fanbase and also to gain new listeners. But of course Insta is also supposed to help to move sales and streams upwards. But especially here Instagram does not make it easy for musicians, because the use of links is enormously limited.
Where can you even use links?
In the Bio exactly one link can be inserted.
You can also add URLs to posts, but then they are not linked.
By means of buying ads, which costs money even though Instagram is basically even cheaper than the parent company Facebook or Adwords.
It is therefore important to always adapt the link in the Bio to the current events. Is the new album released? Then insert the Link Site! Did the new video go online? Then post the YouTube link!
Of course you can also insert URLs in the posts, but probably only few people will take the trouble to copy the URL and paste it in a new window.
We’ve done a lot of research, but we still found some ways for musicians to use and promote their music on Instagram Links.
Setting Spotify Links in Instagram Stories
Since May 2018 it is possible to provide Instagram Stories with a Spotify link. For this you need the Instragram app and the one from Spotify. There you can search for the song you want to share. Then you choose “Share” and then “Instagram Stories”. Now you can add lyrics, emojis or filters. Finally you choose “Your Story” and the story appears including a “Play on Spotify” link.
A very smart way to work around the link problem is to post the logos of the shops as a story and finally mark them as highlights so that they appear directly below the bio. You can find out how to put stories as highlights under the bio here.
But now comes the problem: At the moment it is not possible for everyone to add links to his stories. Either you have to have a verified account or you have to have a large number of followers (estimated 10,000, but Instagram does not name exact numbers). Currently, however, Instagram only verifies accounts of persons or companies (indicated by the blue check mark next to their name) that are at high risk of being copied. However, it certainly can’t hurt to ask Instagram support if you can verify your account.
If you have managed to verify your account, the disadvantage remains that the “Learn more” button is used very discreetly and probably overlooked by many. So here a hint to the link can’t hurt.
Learn from the best: Look at other artists on Instagram
It is always worth learning from other artists. So check out the accounts of your favorite bands and find out how they keep their fans engaged.
What content do they post, what hashtags are used and what special features do they use? It’s the same as with music: copying is forbidden, but inspiring is always desired.
Using hashtags on Instagram as musicians
Hashtags are much more important on Instagram than on Facebook and are not only used as a conversation method. Instagram users regularly use hashtags to find new people to follow. Instagram’s search function is also based on the hashtags that are used most often. So you should give some thought to the hashtags you use.
As a general rule, you should not set too many hashtags (up to 30 are possible per post), but at least two per post. To get as many new followers as possible using hashtags, they should be relevant and up-to-date.
Here you can find out which hashtags are trendy at the moment. To find out which of your used hashtags worked well, there are various analysis tools, but more about that in the next point.
Use analysis tools for Instagram
If you invest a lot of time in your social media platforms, you want to know which of the measures you have taken are successful and what you can avoid. Various analysis tools help to further optimize the appearance on social media.
With these tools you can find out which posts are particularly well received, which hashtags work or where the fans have interacted particularly well. Of course you can also find out a lot about your followers and there are also valuable hints how to increase the number of followers.
Further, many of these tools help you to find out exactly when it is best to post something. Both the day and the time of day can have a big impact on how many of your fans actually notice the post.
In addition, there is the possibility of scheduling. Especially if you have a clear plan, but do not have the possibility to go online at any time, such a tool can make life easier.
Of course, most of these tools are not free, but in most cases you can test them for free before you pay anything.
Make a gift to your fans on Instagram
Who doesn’t like to win something! Instagram is also a great place to raffle off albums, downloads, t-shirts or concert tickets. Of course, ideally such a contest should also provide a good buzz or generate new followers. Therefore, it is also important to think carefully about which hashtags you want to use.
Further it needs a good, expressive picture and of course the price should also be worth something. Finally, it should be made as easy as possible for the fans to participate in the competition. Tools that help with the execution of contests are among others:
Of course it is convenient to synchronize Instagram directly with Facebook and Twitter. But if your fans follow you on all platforms, it can soon get on their nerves to see exactly the same content everywhere. So you should only post selected posts on all platforms and have a different strategy and direction for each page.
Use all possibilities as a musician on Instagram
As mentioned in the beginning, Instagram for musicians doesn’t offer dozens of features. However, those that have been added in recent years should be used occasionally. Besides photos and videos (up to 60 seconds), these are also Instagram Stories, where you can pack several photos and videos into one story. They disappear again after 24 hours. As mentioned above, under certain circumstances you can link or highlight them, so that they are not immediately gone again. Within the stories you can also insert polls (click on the smiley and then select “Poll”). So you can find out the opinion of fans about a certain topic.
A relatively new feature is Instagram Live. Here you can go live on air for up to an hour. Unlike on Facebook, this live recording is not saved in your profile afterwards. Nevertheless, this is a good tool to get in touch with the fans directly. They can also comment live and you can get in touch directly.
Again, it is important to have at least a rough plan of what you want to use this live connection for and to include a “Call to Action”.
Use Instagram Live for exclusive content, announce breaking news or alert your followers to special promotions. As mentioned before, it’s also a way to get direct feedback from your fans.
Do you have questions about Instagram for musicians?
How do I know if a playlist is serious and thus a placement creates additional reach? We’ll show you how to find out in advance whether a playlist works primarily with bots.
Many artists want to boost their streams, but are unsure if the offers are serious. We have already mentioned it several times, but we like to say it again: NEVER buy a fixed number of streams! Bot streams don’t generate followers or real fans who attend your concerts or buy your merch. But what about playlist placements? Again, it’s important to look closely.
Check the playlist before you book
First, take a close look at the playlist and its curator:
Does the playlist only feature unknown artists but has a lot of followers?
Are some artists represented with multiple songs in the playlist?
Are the same artists in multiple playlists of the curator?
Does the curator have multiple playlists that all have roughly the same number of followers?
Does the curator have large playlists but hardly any followers himself?
Do the curator’s followers have weird, often similar names and often no profile picture?
These are factors where at least some skepticism is reasonable.
In a second step, you should analyze the profiles of the artists that are currently on top of the playlist:
A comparison between monthly listeners and the top 5 cities is particularly useful. Evaluations show that the top 5 cities represent no more than 10% of total listeners. If the number is higher, there is a high probability that bots are involved. You should also check whether smaller cities generate a disproportionate number of streams.
If you are still not sure, you can do the following tests:
The curator doesn’t want to hear your song before adding it to the playlist? Then it’s all about the money and therefore the playlist is probably fake. If he wants to hear the song first, you can do a another test, but it involves a certain risk: send him your worst track in lousy sound quality. If he accepts it anyway, you have to be skeptical.
Check the curator’s social media presence. If he has many followers but hardly any likes, it smells like fraud. If he is cheating on social media, then probably also with his playlist.
If you have access to tools such as Chartmetric, you should check the development of the playlist’s followers. If the number of followers has increased dramatically, you should assume that fake followers have been bought.
If you have already booked the playlist, you can check the following, as already described here, using Spotify for Artists and your distributor’s insights:
Streams / Saves ratio (Saves should not be less than 3%)
Ratio streams / number of listeners of the song (ratio should be between 40-60%, i.e. about twice as many streams as listeners)
Ratio desktop / mobile (more desktop is suspicious)
Ratio Free / Premium (more free streams is suspicious)
Analyze the origin of the streams as well
As an iGroove customer, you’ll automatically receive a warning if the streaming numbers are suspicious so that you can end the booked service early and the song won’t be removed by the streaming providers.
Conclusion: Many offers seem legitimate, but most of them aren’t. If you buy into fake playlists, the damage is much greater than the benefit.
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The Release Radar offers listeners the new tracks of their favorite artists on a weekly basis. The evaluation of iGroove shows that this leads to significantly more streams for the artists in the release week.
Launched in 2016, Release Radar is one of the most handy features on Spotify for music fans. Every week, they find out what their favorite artists have released. This is also the advantage for artists, because listeners who don’t follow every move you make don’t miss your new release and give it a listen. Our evaluation shows how important the radar is.
What is the Spotify Release Radar?
The Release Radar is an algorithmically generated playlist that is created individually for each Spotify user on a weekly basis. The radar gives listeners an overview of the week’s new releases. According to Spotify, the Release Radar is said to generate more streams than any curated Spotify playlist. This is quite plausible, since curated playlists only include a fraction of artists, but everyone has a chance to get on their fans’ radar.
In order for a release to be considered for the radar, it must be delivered to Spotify at least one week before the release date
It’s not necessary to pitch a release that it appears in the radar. However, if you want to have a certain song in the radar, you have to pitch it. If the pitched song is changed in the 7 days before release, it won’t be taken into account.
The release radar includes artists that the user follows, whose music he has listened to, or artists that the algorithm thinks the listener might like.
If the listener has already heard a song (e.g. because it was released as a single), it won’t appear in the radar. But possibly another track of the release
Songs for which you are the main or feature artist are taken into account. If you are marked as a remixer, it won’t appear in the radar as well as songs with various artists.
Re-releases of songs that are already available on Spotify are not considered
Each listener gets only one song per artist per week in their radar
A song can stay in the radar for up to 4 weeks if the listener has not listened to it yet
What else you can do
Try to encourage your fans to not only listen to your music, but also to follow you. The more followers, the more radar streams
Release as many singles as possible. With an album you are only in the radar once, but with regular single releases you are constantly in the radar of your listeners.
The Release Radar analysis
We evaluated over 2,800 songs from artists in various genres with different reach. The analysis shows that the Release Radar is responsible for an average of around 14% of streams in the first week. However, the range is wide, for some it only makes up a low single digit share, especially if they are already in large playlists, for others half of the streams or even more come off the radar.
The release radar can give you a good boost especially in the important first week and lead to numerous streams and saves.
You can see how many streams were generated by the radar in your Spotify for Artists. Select the corresponding song and go to the playlist tab.
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More or less worldwide, the concert business is at a complete halt. Countless concerts and tours were canceled in the Corona year, and it’s the lack of fees that is causing existential fears among countless artists. That’s why one of the most pressing questions of our time for musicians is: when can I finally get back on stage? Pollstar asked this question to 1,350 employees from the live music sector.
The survey shows that industry experts are cautiously optimistic. Slightly more than half of the respondents (54.7%) believe that full capacity will be reached again in 2021. However, only 2.07% believe that this will already be the case in the first quarter. After all, 16.26% believe in the second quarter and a fourth of the respondents consider the third quarter to be realistic.
But not everyone shares the optimism. Almost a third believes that we won’t be able to go to concerts like in the pre-Corona era until 2022.
It’s therefore not surprising that 75% are prepared to continue working with lower capacity, even if this cannot be a long-term solution. The majority of respondents state that they will be able to continue their business for another year at most if the situation does not improve.
Most respondents agree that there will be additional costs due to increasing precautions. However, only 2.37% believe that the majority of these costs will be passed on to the artists and their management. Most believe that the additional costs will be shared between event organizers, fans, promoters and artists.
Drastic losses in the live industry
A further and even more recent study by Pollstar shows that the live industry has suffered losses of 30 billion worldwide this year. 9.7 billion alone relates to losses by the concert promoters themselves. The rest is made up of lost revenue from hotels, restaurants, merchandise, ticketing, sponsorship, transportation, etc. related to shows or festivals that didn’t take place.
It should and could have been a great year for the live industry. This is shown only by the figures of the first quarter, when there was still a growth of 10.92% compared to the previous year. The rest of the story, however, is well known.
After a decade of steady growth, the drastic slump came in 2020.
What will happen in 2021?
As in many other industries, concert organizers are hoping for an early impact of the vaccinations. For everyone it’s clear that a lot of flexibility will also be needed in 2021. Organizers and artists will have to regularly adapt their plans to the circumstances and one will probably see a gradual opening.
Many promoters assume that shows that appeal more to a younger audience will bounce back more quickly. If the target audience is older, it will take a bit more time. In general, it’s hoped that the comeback will begin slowly but surely in the summer. Meanwhile a complete normalization is not expected before 2022.
In addition, many insiders expect the market to become oversaturated once things normalize, as planned tours of two years are packed into just one year.
The situation remains uncertain for the time being, but there is also justified hope for a return to normal. Until then, artists will have to find new ways to get in touch with their fans and compensate for the loss of income. In addition to creative concert ideas or virtual shows, the main thing is to find new income opportunities.
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Even if the pandemic would be over soon, many artists will feel the after-effects even longer. Find out why this is related to collecting societies and why musicians won’t feel the effects until 2021 or 2022.
The situation of many musicians currently looks something like this: The income from streams and sales remains more or less stable, they get money from the collecting societies but what is missing is the income from gigs and with that maybe also a slump in merch sales.
Let’s take a look at a hopefully near future where the pandemic is under control. Revenues from the live sector are flowing again as usual, and so all is well and as it used to be. Unfortunately, not quite. The problem lies with the income from the collecting societies. They pay out with a delay of 6 months up to two years. For artists, a decline is only noticeable later.
And this decline is massive. According to the recently published Global Collections Report global revenues will decline between 1.8 and 3.1 billion. After growing for years, they are expected to decline by 20-35% in 2020. However, musicians will not really feel the effects of this decline until 2021 or even 2022. Since half of all revenues are generated in Europe, we are particularly affected here.
The falling numbers are due to the virtually complete shutdown of the live sector, but also to the closure of restaurants, bars, etc., which have to pay license fees for playing songs.
Unfortunately, musicians were among the first to be affected by the crisis and will be among the last to completely return to normal.
It is therefore essential that every musician includes these declining revenues in their financial planning. It would be equally important that a long-term state aid for artists is now quickly and unbureaucratically initiated.
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Advances always cause heated discussion. While for some musicians it’s the declared goal to get the highest possible advance, for others it’s nothing but a rip-off. We have collected some of the frequent statements and show you the chances and risks. One thing is for sure: an advance is not a gift. You simply receive the money you would earn in the future already now.
Advances drive artists to financial ruin
It’s standard that advances are non-refundable. This means that the artists are not liable with their private assets and the label / distributor bears the economic risk. Advances that must be repaid under all circumstances are not recommended.
With iGroove, the advance only has to be recouped with the contractually defined releases. If the amount is not recouped after the agreed term, it’s extended. The artists are never liable with the private assets.
Advances are just the same as a loan / credit
Despite some parallels, there are also substantial differences. This is primarily that a credit / loan must be repaid in any case. The risk therefore lies with the borrower. In addition, you pay a fixed interest rate each month, while this varies with the advance depending on how the releases perform in the respective month.
Advance contracts are non-transparent and artists are being ripped off
This happens without a doubt. We therefore recommend that you seek advice from a specialist, such as a music lawyer.
iGroove focuses on full transparency and easy-to-understand contracts. You can determine the term and conditions yourself and see the costs listed in detail. In addition, you can always see how much has already been recouped.
I’m dictated what I use my advance for
Generally there are two types of advances:
Production cost advances: As the name suggests, this is used to pay for the production of the release and is therefore earmarked.
Advances on license payments: In the vast majority of cases, these are not earmarked.
Advances from iGroove are not earmarked and can be used for any purpose.
With an advance I also give away income from concerts, merch etc.
In fact, so-called cross-collateralizing is increasingly becoming the standard. This means that you have to recoup the advance not only with a release, but also with income from publishing rights, concert fees or merchandise. It’s advisable to consult a specialist when negotiating the contract.
There is no cross-collateralizing with iGroove. The advance must only be recouped with the contractually agreed releases.
The fees are insane – I have to pay back more than I receive
An advance is only ever recouped with the artist’s share of the revenue. For example, if you have a 50:50 deal with a label and receive a 10,000 advance, your release must generate 20,000 until the advance is recouped. This covers the label’s risk in the event that the advance is not recouped.
iGroove’s share is between 14-18%. If you choose a 15% deal and receive 10,000, your advance is recouped once the release has raised 11,500.
Advances tie me to a label / distributor for the long term
This is a matter of negotiation. Often contracts go over several releases and the labels can redeem a so-called option. This can have a direct influence on the amount of the advance for your next release through the minimum or maximum fund: for example, if an advance was recouped, the maximum fund comes into play for the next release, if not the minimum.
At iGroove, each advance is calculated from scratch by our artificial intelligence.
If I don’t recoupe, I have to deliver more releases
If an advance is not recouped, it often has to be recouped with the next release. For example, if you received 20,000 but only recouped 10,000 and you receive 10,000 advance for the next release, you must recoup 20,000 again.
The problem with such long-term contracts can be that the terms remain the same, even if you’ve grown tremendously as an artist.
At iGroove, an advance always refers to the contracted releases only and never to additional future projects.
Advances are a big risk because I never know if I will recoupe
This is only a problem if the artist has to recoup in any case, which we do not recommend. Especially because labels miscalculate more often than you might think. Also, you have to make sure that the advance is not at the expense of the budget for promotion / marketing, which the label invests in the release.
iGroove calculates advances very precisely using artificial intelligence. Thus, we reduce our risk, as well as that of the artist not to recoup. In addition, as an artist, you get a realistic preview of your future earnings.
Advances are only for big artists
Until now, this has indeed been the case for the majority. Smaller labels have no budget for advances and the big players hardly sign artists with a small reach.
iGroove wants to change that and also allow artists who are just making their way up to the top to receive advances.
Advances do not bring benefits to the artist
In fact, an advance is not equally valuable at every career stage. An advance can be helpful in the following situations:
Planning reliability: you know how much money you have available for the next few months
Budget: You use the advance to cover the costs of a release
Bypass: Especially an advance for already published releases helps when money is tight
Career step: If you want to put all your eggs in the music basket, an advance can help you achieve this goal and free you from the pressure of having to work a regular job.
Thanks to iGroove’s transparency, you can see at a glance what amount you will receive and also what costs will be incurred. We also calculate the expected streaming revenue for the next 48 months, which helps you to better assess whether you need an advance or not and what amount of advance you can realistically recoup.
What is more important, as many views as possible on your channel or maximum reach? We’ll show you why you shouldn’t just push your music video on YouTube, why it makes sense to upload it on another channel, and the advantages of working with influencers.
If you have invested time and, above all, money in a music video, you obviously want to generate as many views as possible with it. It’s therefore important to promote your YouTube video properly, maybe even set up a premiere or book a YouTube ad. However, getting as many views as possible on your channel is not all that counts. We’ll show you why.
You must always keep in mind that the main purpose of the video is to gain new fans and encourage them to stream or buy your song. It’s therefore irrelevant whether all views are generated on YouTube or on different channels. The only thing that matters is to make potential listeners aware of your release.
You can certainly make a post with the YouTube link. However, it’s much more effective to upload the video directly to Facebook. Every platform wants to keep traffic on their site, so directly uploaded videos reach significantly more people than external links.
Except for the bio, links are practically useless on Instagram. Therefore, you should post a trailer as a post and story and provide the whole video via IGTV.
Use the reach of others
Everyone wants their video on their own channel to gain not only views, but also additional subscribers. But if you don’t have that many followers on your channel yet, it’s worth placing your video on a channel with a large reach.
To increase awareness, it’s worth working with influencers. This does not necessarily result in many views on YouTube, but it increases the reach enormously and ensures additional streams and downloads.
Equally important are the micro-influencers, in other words, your fans. Send the video or trailer to your mailing list and ask your fans to share it on their channels and tag you.
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