By J.P. Kallio
So here we go, the new year is almost here. There are changes happening in our digital surroundings faster than we have time to react to them. Us musicians need to keep up with the changes and adjust our promotion and business plan accordingly. Here is my five top prediction to keep in mind 2015
1. Steaming services.
In 2014 we saw how Spotify spread like wildfire. But in general, whoever makes it big is going to be faced with opposition. The problem with all the opposition is that most of them want to stick to an old format, which the general music consumer has given up already. Sure you’ll make more money from a single download than streaming, but only if your followers buy your music. If they decide to consume their music through Spotify and you decide not to use it, guess what happens? They will move on to someone else. Sure Taylor Swift sold more albums after pulling her albums out of Spotify, but the fact is, she works completely on a different scale. To try to scale down her business model and repeat as an independent artist is never going to work! I believe her fans got shafted and she has also with her actions misinformed lot of independent artists, who by now I believe have lost in excess of millions in revenue. You cannot stop progress, embrace it.
Instagram is growing fast and no wonder why. Never underestimate the power of a photo. Make sure you use this as part of your promotional plan. Get creative and put some effort into it. The modern music business is all about you not only sharing your music, but also letting people behind the scenes. People do want to know you are a real person. I have had great results by sharing my everyday life with my followers and I recommend you will try this. Just to put things into perspective, Instagram is now bigger than Twitter
3. Never underestimate Twitter
Even though Instagram is growing past Twitter, do not underestimate the power of Twitter. Twitter has the organic power to make things go “viral”. But also Twitter has the power for you to reach individuals and many people in the business. I have worked hard on trying to get some radio play by contacting stations, but by now I probably got more requests through Twitter for tracks to be played at different stations, interview requests, blog feature requests. Twitter is also one of the biggest sources of traffic to my website.
I have warned all of my musician friends about how the reach of their Facebook page is on it’s way down, and will pretty much become nonexistent in 2015. It remains to see how this will affect musicians using the site. I personally think even though Facebook is here to stay, it will lose a lot of musicians, as we just don’t have the same budgets as most companies using Facebook pages. It is a pity Facebook did not take the route of making dedicated pages for arts and allow them a little bit more organic reach… But they are in the business of making money.
5. Entrepreneur music business
There has been an underground movement of musicians starting to operate as entrepreneurs. As the business has changed, many artists have adopted their way of working. And many of these underground artists have gone to be very successful in their niche markets. I would expect more and more of this model to come into the limelight. It is my wish as many of the so called music business school curriculums are still mainly based on the old model where the main goal is to get signed by a major label. I personally feel sorry for anyone who enters these schools hoping to graduate as music business professionals and to find out that nothing they were taught really applies anymore. If you are thinking of going to study music business, do your homework and make sure the college is up to date with their business programs.
So there we go, a few of my predictions for the music business in 2015. Have a great end of the year and holidays
J.P. Kallio is a singer-songwriter