Having singing skills comparable to those of the frontman of an international band or being able to play a musical instrument like a conductor is not enough to know how to work in the music industry. Thanks to the digital transformation process that is also taking place in the music industry, new professional figures are finding their way here. One only has to think of the importance of social media and online reputation management for an artist, publisher or record company to understand how digital marketing has become indispensable in this sector as well.
For example, attending the Web Marketing Manager Course at Digital Coach® can be one of the first steps in building a career in the music industry. To succeed you need a global vision and a structured approach and to achieve this, you need:
- know how marketing tools and channels work,
- knowing how to use and interpret data analysis tools,
- be able to implement the best web strategy.
Working in the music business today
Besides being the soundtrack of the most significant moments of our existence, today’s music – much more than it was only two decades ago – can accompany us in every moment of our day from waking up to our workplace, from shopping to occasions of leisure and relaxation.
It is accessible and available at any time and in any place. And this has also changed the way of working in the music world. Thanks to the web and technological innovation, new development perspectives have opened up, new professional fields have been created, and how long-established roles are performed has been transformed.
The music industry, while still relying on the pillars of record production, publishing and rights, music management, live music and promotion, has been enriched by new elements such as:
- digital download,
- online purchase,
- video sharing platforms and social media networks.
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These are all factors in an evolution that has transformed the way music is produced, performed and enjoyed, to the point of shaping new habits in its consumers and leading to the emergence of new roles for those in the industry.
Those who want to work in the world of music must possess skills that have little or nothing to do with artistic talent but instead are closely linked to the use of technology, digital and web marketing strategies and therefore cannot do without knowledge of the dynamics of the Internet, social media and streaming platforms.
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The professions of music
Before the Fourth Industrial Revolution came to disrupt the industry, working in the music business coincided with one of the following roles: being a singer or musician, organising concerts and tours, or being an employee in a record company. To support the entire life cycle of a music product from the initial creative phase to production, distribution and promotion, the contribution of other professionals with digital skills such as:
- the social media manager,
- the digital PR specialist,
- the content editor,
- the blogger.
For a major record company, a singer or a musician, it is necessary to be able to reach the widest possible audience through the most appropriate means, engaging them with content designed to grow the community. For both emerging and established artists, new media have become crucial because they allow them to:
- make themselves known,
- increase their popularity,
- maintaining a relationship with their audience,
- influence the collective musical taste,
- determine new listening trends.
And it is precisely the constant relationship with the community – which is not only made up of fans and supporters but also insiders such as journalists, influencers and bloggers – that makes it possible to spread the desired image of an artist and to better manage its web reputation.
Online posts, articles, interviews, videos and comments help create a specific opinion about the singer, the latest hit, the tour or the record company and influence it, positively or negatively. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube have gained such strategic importance that they determine the success or failure of a band, a record, or a tour.
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So when a new artist enters the music scene, a new record is ready for release, or a concert tour is about to start, it is crucial to rely on experienced professionals.
Social Media Manager
The social media manager operationally manages the official accounts of an artist or record label on the main networking platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and possibly also on the record company blog. He defines the strategy and creates ad hoc content for the target audience, to expand the online presence, improve brand awareness, create engagement and generate leads.
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To ensure effective communication on social media, a professional in this role must:
- technical knowledge of the different platforms,
- defining objectives and drafting the communication strategy,
- prepare the content and editorial plan,
- planning and managing advertising campaigns,
- analysing data from monitoring and performance measurement tools,
- interacting with fans and managing possible crises,
- coordinating the team of professionals and any external providers.
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Digital PR Specialist
The Digital PR Specialist deals with online public relations and manages the web reputation of the record company or artist he or she works for, liaising with the fan community and with influencers, bloggers and key opinion leaders.
Other activities that require the intervention of Digital PR Specialists concern the management of the music press office, whose task is to take care of the relationship with journalists and editorial staff – of traditional media, specialised press, TV, radio and blogs – through the dissemination of releases, the organisation of press conferences and dedicated press days.
To work in the music business as a Digital PR professional, it is essential to be able to:
- constantly collect and monitor everything that is published, shared and reviewed to have an overview of the state of online reputation,
- measure the effectiveness of the implemented strategy, identify any critical issues and know how to intervene with improvement actions.
These skills help to increase the notoriety of artists and record labels and improve their perception in the eyes of audiences and influencers.
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The copywriter writes persuasive texts for use in advertising campaigns and texts for different communication tools and media, such as blogs, websites, social channels and e-commerce. His objective is to influence the audience, attract and retain them, create or grow a community, to increase sales of new records or concert tickets.
A copywriter in the music industry must be able to:
- write texts suitable for the different media, specific to the target audience and in line with the editorial and marketing strategy,
- collaborate in the creation and development of communication plans,
- editing the content of blogs and websites using CMS (Content Management Systems) tools,
- write SEO-friendly texts according to basic SEO principles to increase the visibility of content.
Web Content Editor
The web content editor creates and disseminates content (text, images and video) via social channels, the website, the blog and e-commerce platforms to increase the engagement of the target audience. In the case of the music business, content must be able to create a profitable relationship between the record company and its audience, understood in the broadest sense of the term, which includes the fans of the artists it manages and all possible stakeholders, from authors to publishers, from radio and TV stations to live event organisers.
This professional can also be joined by another professional figure the YouTube & video content manager, specialised in the creation of video products and multimedia content for different communication channels: from the choice of topic to the production of the video and its publication.
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Bloggers and Vloggers
The Blogger and the Vlogger are in charge of producing content, text and video respectively, to promote labels or artists and publishing it according to a pre-established plan. Running a music blog enables communication by sharing information, news and experiences to strengthen the brand identity of the singer, band or record company, promote the sale of an album and concert tickets, and entertain fans by stimulating their engagement.
Streaming and career opportunities
How to work in the music industry? New opportunities to work in the music business are related to the distribution and sale of music through streaming platforms. All it takes is an Internet connection and a device – be it a smartphone, tablet or computer – to access almost infinite catalogues of tracks, hits and works. All this is made even more powerful by the trend towards more frequent and assiduous use of one and only one device, the smartphone, and by the spread of 4G and soon 5G networks.
There are many music streaming solutions available, offering service levels that allow music to be listened to for free or on a subscription basis. The vast majority of platforms, however, use freemium formulas, which provide different types of service:
- a basic, free version, but with various restrictions such as advertising interruptions;
- different versions with additional functionality, differentiated according to the subscription fee.
When we talk about streaming applied to music, the first platform we think of is undoubtedly Spotify, the most famous in the world. It is joined by Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, Tidal, and Napster, among others. Each has its peculiarities – the capillarity in reaching the public, the duration of the playlists, the size of the catalogues or the specificity of the music genres on offer – that impose a new way of producing, distributing and promoting music.
Alongside songwriters, producers, art directors and music publishers, other new professionals are also emerging, in addition to those in online communication, who are familiar with the characteristics of individual music streaming platforms but also with web sales techniques such as:
- the curation manager, which inserts new releases into the playlists of streaming platforms, to which users connect to listen to music and discover new tracks;
- the streaming platform data analyst, who analyses data and listening trends of the tracks and albums in the catalogue and interprets them by deriving information on users’ musical tastes, times and modes of enjoyment;
- the sync manager, who chooses the music tracks to be used in audiovisual products such as commercials, TV series, films, smartphone and web apps, and digital products of various kinds;
- the e-commerce manager, who is in charge of sales strategies on the web and dedicated online platforms, is responsible for achieving sales targets and possesses digital marketing skills.
Skills for working in music
To ensure adequate presence and dissemination for new hits, music projects, singers and groups, and to take care of the digital presence and visibility of an established or emerging artist, major record company or independent label, new professionals are required to have the skills to work in the music business:
- techniques, because it is essential to know the characteristics of the different platforms to be able to exploit their potential to promote an artist or a piece of music;
- analytics, because by interpreting the data one can identify new trends, draw up a precise profile of the consumption behaviour of one’s users, evaluate the progress of the strategy and decide what action to take to optimise its results;
- strategic, because the choice to use a specific platform, the creation of a certain multimedia product and/or the publication of a video on a certain channel can influence the success of a singer and his new record;
- copywriting, because the writing must be at the service of the audience, the brand, and the medium used. This means, for example, being able to write a blog post that conveys the brand’s values, a catchy post for social media, a news item condensed into a maximum of 280 characters, a call to action that prompts one to take action;
- creativity and design, because the visual part of communication contributes to creating a recognisable image of a brand but also of an artist or an individual music project and, at the same time, is also able to engage its community emotionally;
- project management, because within the framework of a music project, in addition to the overall vision, a professional must be able to define objectives and design, plan and manage the development phases and possible evolutions of the same, supporting their progress or bringing them back on track.
How to enter the world of music
In this context, it is clear that to work in the music industry, there can be several routes in addition to the artistic one, such as those opened up by digital marketing. In this case, it is not enough to have a passion for music, to have an account on the main social networks or to listen to music from streaming platforms, it is necessary to have specific training. To be able to work in the music business then become an expert in digital marketing and social media management or specialise in digital PR, web content or video marketing and with Digital Coach you can prepare yourself to become a music business professional.
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