Changing The Tune: How Digital Marketing Has Changed The Music Industry Forever

By April Ngo

If you'd compare how music is listened to today versus fifteen years ago, it's no surprise that things would be extremely different.


In 2001, Apple shook the world when they introduced the first iPod. Alongside Apple's iPod came none other than iTunes the "world's best and easiest to use 'jukebox' software." This revolution sparked the beginning of music streaming, which spans various applications like Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, Apple Music and so much more.

As a society we've transitioned from vinyl, to tape, to CDs, and now to mp3s or streaming, which has ultimately changed the musical experience through the decades. In today's age, we aren't strangers to the change in music consumption, but just how much has the Information Age coupled along with digital marketing shaped the music industry overall?

The use of social media platforms has added exponentially to the artist to fan experience. From artists who established themselves before the age of social media like Justin Timberlake to YouTube sensations like Justin Bieber one thing almost everyone shares in common is that they're putting content out onto the web.

Before he had 98.1 million followers on Instagram, Justin Bieber's mom regularly posted videos of him singing or performing on YouTube. It wasn't until he was "discovered" by Usher that his road to stardom began with fangirls screaming the lyrics to his hit song "Baby" at every middle school dance across the United States.

After years of albums, concert tours, and merchandise Bieber has made a name for himself in the social sphere. Today, he is among the Top 10 Most Followed Celebrities on Instagram, which he can thank his loyal #beliebers for since they've stuck by his side through every up and down in his young life. Though he's not huge on utilizing captions or hashtags, he has been seen to repost fan photos onto his feed featuring his merchandise and "Purpose Tour" clothing.

Justin Timberlake, on the other hand, uses his Instagram in a completely different way in order to keep his fans up to date on his whereabouts. A newer feature on this social media platform allows users to track hashtags, which Timberlake has taken full advantage of for his most recent Man Of The Woods Tour

His hashtag, #MOTWTOUR, allows all of his fans to follow along with him as he tours the country and shares the experience on a global, yet local level. This experience not only brings people from different walks of life together, but it also creates a community tied to the artist that could have never happened before the Information Age.

Social media has given us as digital marketers a way to easily engage and communicate with our audiences. It's no surprise that YouTube is oversaturated with content, while everyone and anyone wants to catch their "big break" in the music industry but the bottom line is that it is completely possible to be "discovered" with the click of a button.

Digital Marketing, above all things, has completely and totally changed the way that the music industry operates today. Artist managers and booking agents can do a lot of work remotely straight from their devices, which has changed the tune of the industry forever. People are constantly on the look-out for the "next big thing" and with the media platforms that exist today success is dependent on how you utilize your fanbase, what kind of content you're posting, and whether or not you understand how to maximize your reach.