Lewis Capaldi has been UK #1 in the Official Charts for 4 straight weeks.
As someone working in the Music Industry, I’m ashamed to say that I discovered him not through listening to him on the radio, not because I was hunting through Spotify’s niche playlists, but because a colleague at Burstimo showed me an Instagram story of him wearing a pair of heart shaped sunglasses and explaining to his audience that with his iTunes royalties he’s going to buy his mum a new hoover.
Ever since that point, just like his other 650k followers, I was hooked. Every time he posts a new Instagram story I’d instantly watch to see if it’s another one of his funny rants or anecdotes. And even when it wasn’t, I’d still cycle through his other stories which are essentially ads for his singles, albums, music videos and gigs. Luckily, I absolutely love his music as well as his content.
Now labels and managers are asking their artists to “be more like Lewis Capaldi”. And you can see exactly why, I haven’t bought anything on iTunes since 2006, but I bought his single just because I wanted him to get UK #1. Everyone in the office is attempting to get tickets to his gigs as soon as he advertises the availability on his story, and as soon as his music video was released for ‘Someone You Loved’, we immediately went to watch it.
What is significant about this, is we aren’t clicking his stories because we wanted to know when his next gig was, or know that his music video has been released, we just wanted to take a break out of our day and consume a little bit of his content and we ended up taking notice of an ad or a call to action.
You simply can’t buy that level of attention and engagement, this only comes with nurturing an audience and providing so much value on a consistent basis that when you do ask your audience to do something, they’re willing to cooperate. Artists are one of the very few commercial operations who have the ability to create a personal relationship with their audience, unlike brands such as Coca Cola and Nike who still need to sell their products but need to invest millions in content production to make their Instagram stories even worth watching.
Lewis Capaldi’s success is only a small sign of things to come, content creators who have built a ready-made audience are already beginning to release their own music and generating streams and views far beyond what most artists are able to achieve via traditional promotion methods.
Just look at YouTubers such as JoJo Siwa and Scotty Sire, who are able to reach up to 680 million views on their music video. To put that in to context, Rita Ora’s most viewed track on YouTube stands at 294 million views.
I know the pains that you’re facing, you’ve probably already begun to recognise these trends, understand the importance of social media in the future of the music industry and there’ll be more of these artists coming through over the next 5 years. We face so much resistance from artists who tell us that they want to be taken seriously and don’t want to be a gimmick in order to be successful and promote their music, they want their music to do the talking and carry their career… meanwhile Lewis Capaldi is posting to Twitter comparing his face to a potato smiley…
But the point of this is, artists don’t need to be funny to launch their music career, they just need to be creating content on their social media in order to engage and capture a fan base.
Helping artists use social media
Musicians tend to have the mindset that because they’ve invested time and money in to their music, it means that it is their gift to the world and therefore they shouldn’t need to do anything further to add-value to people’s day. Unfortunately, asking someone to listen to a 3-minute track from an artist they haven’t heard of is taking up a lot of time. The amount of content we can consume in 3-minutes in 2019 could never have been imagined back in 1995. Before mobile phones and social media giving up 3-minutes to listen to a new piece of music didn’t seem such a large investment, but in that time, you could have scrolled through 100+ Instagram posts. This is what needs to be sold to artists, in the age we live in you’re asking a lot more of your potential fan base than you can ever imagine, you’re asking them to take a risk that your music is going to be worth their time listening to and bring more pleasure than those Instagram posts.
To get our artists to create social media content they need a framework to work from in order to not constantly require prompts or the social media team to repurpose old content to keep things active.
The artist will need to establish the type of content they can create, whether they’re going to be funny, voice their opinion, set themselves goals and challenges, music-based content following the writing and production process from beginning to end or simply behind the scenes footage from their latest tour.
Their timeline over the next 4-8 weeks will allow you to give the artist targets and suggestions to produce content for their social media accounts which means they don’t have the dreaded “what do I post today??” creative block.
A lot of artists tell us that they’re not comfortable talking to camera, but what’s often overlooked is how versatile social media really is. Instagram offers so many different ways to post content, you can write mini-blog posts underneath images, text-based Instagram stories or even start podcasts, social media isn’t just about talking to camera.
Once they’ve began creating social media content, they can then start working with other large social media influencers where some have a larger platform than NME, Rolling Stone and Q Magazine put together! Both Lewis Capaldi and Tom Grennan are appearing on the YouTuber Jackmaate’s podcast which will give them huge exposure to their personalities as well as raising awareness of their music to JackMaate’s audience of 1 million subscribers.
The possibilities for growing artists on social media are endless, and there is no barrier to entry. It doesn’t cost money to start posting or to collaborate with large influencers in the space.