Influencer Marketing in the Music Industry: A New Shift in a Hyper-Competitive Space

Music is a powerful force that affects people in all cultures throughout the world. It has the ability to stir emotions, relieve stress and anxiety, and even shape identity. 

And there are now more ways to listen to music than were available just decades earlier. Streaming services have made it possible to listen to the songs of your choice even if you don’t own a record or CD, and they allow listening on-demand; you don’t have to wait for your favorites to be played on conventional or satellite radio. In January 2021, 487 million people worldwide were streaming music subscribers, up nearly 22% from the previous year and nearly three times more than subscribed just five years ago.[1]

Many avid music fans are connecting with their favorite pop stars on social media. Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift each have hundreds of millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter. But music aficionados are also finding new artists to follow on both Instagram and TikTok. Olivia Rodrigo, Piper Landon. Scotty Sire, Doja Cat, Madison Beer, and Jojo Siwa are some of the most top music influencers on those social channels, and many rose to fame on social media alone.

Because people have such an emotional connection to music and their favorite artists, music influencers on social media can have a tremendous impact on which vocalists and bands gain notoriety. But music industry influencers can also bring attention to the products that artists use in their craft as well as the gadgets that create a better listening experience for the fans.

Whether you’re an up-and-coming artist, you sell gadgets and gear to consumers, or you market products and equipment for the music industry, music influencers can help your brand succeed.

How Can Influencer Marketing Help Artists Promote Their Music

When it comes to music promotion, it’s always been challenging for new recording artists to stand out amidst enormous competition in the industry. Social media has made it easier, but there are still hurdles to overcome given the sheer number of bands and music options available.

One way to overcome these challenges is to plan an influencer marketing campaign that partners with enthusiastic music devotees who have authentic engagement with their followers. Music fans love discovering new talent and sharing it with others, and if the influencer has successfully established credibility with followers and is known for their authentic opinions, partnering with that social media account may be the key to your song or album going viral.

Even if you don’t achieve overnight success, a top music influencer can help get your name on the map and encourage more people to listen to your music. When more people listen, there’s a greater chance of the songs being shared with an even wider audience base. Influencer marketing could potentially help you increase followers on music streaming platforms, or boost tickets sales and merchandise.

Which Are the Most Popular Social Channels for Marketing New Music?

  • TikTok – This social media platform has seen a growth explosion over the last year and its users like to discover new musical artists here. TikTok is quickly becoming the social media channel of choice for popular music influencers.
  • Instagram – Instagram is one of the most used social channels for influencer marketing and is host to millions of social accounts that champion all kinds of brands across diverse product categories. Instagram influencers can integrate music in their posts by using the Stories and Reels features. If a music influencer on Instagram uses your song in their content, the exposure could increase awareness of your name and encourage people to listen to more songs.
  • YouTube – If you’re a musician, there’s no question you should run your own channel on YouTube. But other popular accounts on YouTube often use music as a background for their video content, and it often encourages people to explore more of the featured artist’s work.
  • Snapchat – Snapchat continues to add music features to the platform. It’s as simple as opening up the app, tapping on the music icon, and finding the song clip you want to use for your Snap. 
  • Triller – Although it’s a lesser-known social platform, Triller was actually introduced a year before TikTok. It began as a tool for helping people create music videos, but as TikTok was facing litigation in 2020 that could have caused it to lose access in the U.S., Triller began to ramp up its efforts as a platform for influencer discovery. Triller caters only to music creators – and there’s less competition on the channel – which could be advantageous for new artists. However, Triller still pales in comparison to TikTok in terms of the number of active users and downloads.[2]

The caveat for musicians who are counting on influencers to incorporate songs into their Reels, Stories, and Snaps is that the music must already be licensed. On TikTok, music can be added from outside of the platform, so a musician would need to work closely with a TikTok influencer to provide access to the songs.


How Influencer Marketing Can Help Brands That Sell Music-Related Products to Consumers 

If your brand sells gadgets or gear to music fans – like earbuds, headphones, speakers, turntables, or even music-related merchandise – influencers who are passionate about music can help increase awareness of your products and encourage sales.

The influencers you choose to work with don’t even have to identify as music influencers. They just have to appeal to your target audience and authentically identify as people who love to inject music into their daily routines.

One high-end headphone brand reached out to influencers of all stripes on Instagram to promote their products. The company created a hashtag – including a branded one – that influencers on the platform used to increase brand awareness and affinity. Influencers included an Olympic medalist, an NFL star, a musician, and a former reality television star, and the campaign greatly expanded the company’s reach and engagement rates.

Your choice of influencer niche will depend on how you’re positioning your product and who you expect will be most likely to purchase it, so don’t assume that you need to reach out to influencers that focus solely on music. But the influencers you select should be able to tell authentic brand stories about using your product, or the partnership will fall flat. 

How Influencer Marketing Can Work For B2B Music Marketers

Brands who sell to companies – not the end consumer – have also found success with influencer marketing when they select industry influencers who are respected in their fields and have positioned themselves as thought leaders in their industries.

From brands that sell instruments and equipment to band managers to talent agency executives that are trying to sign a new artist to a record label, those in the business of music rely on influencers to promote their products or “talent.”

Because companies that promote expensive equipment or potentially lucrative talent have to reach and persuade more decision-makers than companies that sell goods to consumers, a respected music insider that endorses your artist, your microphone, or your amplifier can increase your credibility in the industry.

There’s such a wide range of products and types of musical acts, so it will take some work to identify the social media channels and influencers who will be your best partners. Most won’t have anywhere near a million followers and are more likely to be categorized as nano- or micro-influencers.


The Business of Music Promotion Has Undergone Tremendous Change, Which Makes it Even More Competitive

Music discovery used to be tightly controlled by record labels, payola was standard for getting airplay, and a limited number of suppliers held a monopoly on musical equipment. Today, streaming platforms contribute significantly to finding new talent, and social media now plays a major role in introducing up-and-coming artists and promoting the equipment and gear that musicians and fans either need or want.

Strategic influencer marketing in the music industry can level the playing field for lesser-known artists and brands. The key is to find the right advocates and design a campaign that resonates with the audience you’re trying to reach. If you’re considering using influencer marketing and you don’t know where to begin, an influencer marketing agency that has access to influencer marketing software can provide campaign management and help ensure your success.