Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why Twitter and music industry are dependent on each other?

Particularly in last 2 decades, there have been lots of changes in the music industry as well as in the ways we find and listen to music: from cassettes to mp3s, from radios to online music streaming platforms. Below is a nice animated infographic from Digital Cowboys showing the world of digital music:

Especially with the booming of social media, it became a lot easier to discover new musicians, to follow your favorite artists and to keep in touch with them. Here is another interesting infograph by MusicMetric showing the trends after SXSW - South by South West 2012 festival where all new talent are presented and promoted.

Back in the time, Myspace was a lot of help to discover new talent and follow your favorite musicians but there are other social media tools replacing it now. Such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, SoundCloud, Beatport, Pandoraetc. There are many services being provided to fans and musicians too. For instance, last year Foursquare signed a partnership with British Songkick to enable fans to check in not only to places but also to events, gigs or concerts.

Among all these tools, Twitter has a key role for musicians and their fans. Twitter defines itself as "the next best thing to being backstage for music fans" in a guide they prepared for musicians and artists. In October 2011, Twitter transferred Tatiana Simonian from Disney Music Group and appointed her as the Head of Music Industry Relations for Twitter. This was almost at the same time they launched Twitter Music. Twitter certainly pays special attention to music industry and is aware that music is a key industry for growth. During International Music Summit 2012 held in Ibiza, Ms Simonian had a key note speech. These are the highlights:
50% of all users on Twitter follow at least 1 musician... 87% of Billboard top 100 are on Twitter... The top 5 most followed accounts on Twitter are musicians... The hashtag EDM* is now used up to 3,000 times a day. It is the fastest growing genre.
However it isn't only musicians and fans need social media tools, the tools need them too. According to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, social media platforms are heavily dependent on music fans for growth. As a proof to this, Twitter Counter reports that 7 out of top 10 followed accounts belong to musicians. Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna and Britney Spears are the top 5 followed celebrities on Twitter. FYI, Barack Obama is the 6th.

Twitter is encouraging the musicians to use Twitter as a main tool to communicate with their fans. Within the guide, they give such advises:
  • Include photos in your tweets
  • Create hashtags for your tours
  • Reply to your fans
It's interesting to see that the only reason Twitter cares about musicians isn't the growth. They are making money out of this. According to TechCrunch, Twitter signed a partnership with 3 music data services at the beginning of 2012 and will distribute tweets of verified musician accounts to be integrated into consumer apps.

At the end, it's a mutual relationship between musicians and Twitter. For musicians, Twitter isn't only about being discovered and followed by fans but also a way to connect with other artists and bands too. As John Paul Titlow from ReadWriteWeb explains, "For musicians today, especially smaller, independent artists, not taking full advantage of the social Web is a huge missed opportunity".

*EDM stands for Electronic Dance Music.