How Social Media Has Revolutionized the Music Industry

Social media is everywhere. It’s officially the number one online activity for consumers, who often spend several hours a day surfing multiple social newsfeed.

For that reason, social media has found a way into every industry, and music is no different. Thanks to some unique sharing capabilities and plenty of online attention, social media is changing the music industry for good.

From CD Development to Digital Downloads

The music industry’s basic business model was once uncomplicated and simplistic. A band or an artist recorded music, they sold that music through a record label, and the two parties profited from it, selling CDs by the millions. If you didn’t get picked up by a record label, your hopes of selling music on a mass scale were virtually non-existent.

Now, the social scene makes it possible to get noticed without help from anyone else. You can even make money without selling music through advertisements. Musical platforms are more fragmented now, and file sharing through the social sector is changing opportunities for both artists and fans.

“The music industry has experienced a revolution over the past decade,” reads a report from Elon University. “After successive years of growth in the 1990s, CD sales began to decline at the turn of the century, posing a great threat to the industry. Following years of fighting digital piracy in legal battles, the music industry began to embrace innovative digital business models and shifted its focus to signing artists with mass appeal and large sales potentials. During this same period, Internet-based social media became an increasingly important aspect of marketing communications throughout all industries, including the music industry.”

Online Streaming Helps Artists Get Found

We all know about the success of Justin Bieber, the YouTube-sensation-turned-star. He became one of the first artists to be discovered on YouTube in 2008 at the age of 13, and by the end of 2010, he had seven songs from his debut album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He’s gone up and down in fame since then, but he still puts out top-trending songs and has remained an icon of the social age.

YouTube has helped hundreds of artists find their way to stardom, and it’s set the standard for other social channels as well. Artists can hop on Facebook and Instagram to build their own unique followers, selling music and earning revenue through advertisements.

Bands Embrace Crowdfunding

Bands starting out are more willing to rely on others to fund their music production and exposure. Crowdfunding has proven to be an effective way to do this – fans are willing to show their monetary support.

Crowdfunding would not be possible without the use of social media. It’s managed to break down the walls between fans and their favorite artists. They like the opportunity to connect with their favorite celebrities in this personal way.

“[Crowdfunding] is a project born on the internet and may solely live on the internet,” Michael Franzino of the group A Lot Like Birds told Social Media Week. “This project absolutely would not have been able to be funded without the internet, which is where its greatest beauty lies for me. Crowdfunding is a rare successfully symbiotic relationship that allows fans to be responsible for the creations they want to consume by giving the artists the means to create them.”

This relationship between fans and their favorite bands not only creates stronger bonds between them, but also increases the spread of music on social media. As the crowdfund solicits money, people are exposed to their work, generating even more supporters.

Music Sharing Spans the Social Network

Fans can also spread their love of music to their friends. Word of mouth marketing is the most lucrative form of promotion in any industry, and thanks to social media, the spread of good music across these channels is fast and easy.

About 20 years ago, the best method for sharing music with your friends was through mixed CDs. Not only did this cause copyright issues, but it was also difficult and time-consuming. It was hard for people to get the word out about their favorite bands.

Today, people can instantly copy and paste links and share music across messaging platforms. Now that 80 percent of the U.S. has a smart phone, listening to music is as easy as touching a screen – it’s instant and remote.

There area also apps for sharing music. Music Messenger, for example, is an instant messaging app designed to bypass the time-consuming aspect of copying and pasting links into Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. It’s like Pinterest for music, letting you both listen to and share music immediately without costing money or displaying annoying ads.

The sharing technology is endless, and social media has made it possible. We’ll never go back to the time-consuming and bulky methods of sharing our favorite songs and new artists.