Leveraging the power of social media has become so important in today’s music industry that many independent artists seem to be half musicians, half marketing professionals. But sometimes the big players in the industry make it easier for independent musicians to take advantage of the power of the web 2.0.
Take Grammy Amplifier for example, a new online platform launched by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. The site essentially works like a free version of Chartburst : artists upload songs via SoundCloud and music fans “Amplify” their favorite tracks. The most popular songs will be heard by all-star curators, who will then share the songs on their own Facebook and Twitter profiles. The first curators were Ozzy Osbourne, Linkin Park and RZA.
The site is part of #theworldislistening social media blitz the Academy has presented in the past couple of months to promote the Grammy Awards, which will be held this Sunday, February 10. So while Amplifier certainly wasn’t created solely with artists in mind, it uses the weight of the Academy to provide a more visible platform. While the current most popular artist on Chartburst currently has 196 “likes” as of this writing, Amplifier claims to have a total social reach of 104,230,405.
Heineken is offering a similar social media platform in advance of this year’s Ultra Music Fest in Miami. The beer company has created an app that asks artists to create remixes from provided stems, and the winner will receive a trip to the March EDM festival.
This app isn’t as democratic as Amplifier, but once finalists are selected, the public will vote for the overall winner on Heineken’s Facebook page.
The power of social media for independent artists is undeniable, but these examples showcase how artists can take advantage of the web marketing campaigns of established brands. While those campaigns are created to be self-serving, a primary goal of today’s marketing is user engagement. Like in the previously mentioned cases, this can sometimes work to the advantage of the artist.
Amplifier’s main concern is getting people to watch the Grammys -- once one of the curators tweets his favorite artist or artists, that’s really all the service promises. But if the service is a hit, it would be a great marketing tool for the Academy to use to keep the Grammys in the public eye year-round, rather than just one day every February. The side effect of this, of course, is that it also would provide new artists a visible platform to showcase new music all year.
Currently the site advises users to “stay tuned to see who our next curators will be.” It doesn’t specify when those will be announced, but there’s a good possibility it will be before next January.