How Music Publicity is Changing in the New Digital Platform
As the music industry is constantly changing, people working in music publicity need to find ways to constantly adapt to those changes to be able to provide the best for their client. In the PR Industry, my passion lies heavily in the music industry. I grew up singing and doing constant home karaoke performances for my family, mind you, for a while, I would only sing one song, A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton. I cringe as I say that, but at 6 years old, I thought it was my best performance piece. Moving forward, music publicity is something that I have learned a lot about through different courses at Hofstra University and through various internships in the industry. One thing that has stayed consistent in the past couple years is that TikTok and another similar platform, Instagram Reels have completely changed the way publicists are marketing music.
Have you ever found yourself scrolling through TikTok or Reels for hours and find the same snippet of a song playing over and over and over again. Sure it seems exhausting at first and you get tired of the song quickly. Then two days later, you’re folding laundry and you find yourself singing that same exact part of that song you were so called “sick of.” As time passes on, you continue to sing it, then you end up downloading it on whatever streaming platform you use (Spotify is superior), and last but not least, now it’s your favorite song to play while you’re driving around. If this doesn’t happen to you, you’re lying.
TikTok and now recently, Reels, have promoted so much music and so many new artists, that this now seems the new way to gain traction in the music industry. The looping nature of the short video clips allows catchy snippets of a song get into your head, eventually leaving you to download it to your phone. Not only that, but the dance challenges play a big role as well. You watch a video about 20 times to learn a dance and then record it another 20 times until it’s perfect. Now you’ve listened to that track about 40 times and then some, it is very likely that that audio clip will stick.
So now music publicists are trying to trim snippets of their client’s songs, add an interesting visual appeal to it, maybe even a dance challenge, and adding it to artist’s socials hoping that it will gain attention. To do this, they try to make the material as relevant to their audience as possible, something that listeners can relate to and remember. A lot of artists or artist’s teams are even going as far as renaming songs to make them easier to find on a platform like TikTok. For example ily by Surf Mesa changed the name of the song to ily (i love you baby) because people had a hard time finding it. Lottery by K CAMP is another fine example from a song that blew up on TikTok but is associated with a different name. It’s used for the Renegade Dance Challenge, which was called so because that’s the word constantly used in the audio clip, so everyone just refers to the song as Renegade. The snippets of songs on TikTok and Reels are usually the chorus line and that’s the biggest part that an audience will remember. If you market a song correctly on TikTok and Reels, that song can be huge. Doja Cat’s Say So absolutely blew up because of TikTok and dance challenges and that probably wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the marketing strategy of using TikTok.
By uploading audio of your client on TikTok or Reels, you’re promoting their brand. TikTok’s algorithm is based on the latest trends and this is how artists are receiving a lot of success. Users are being exposed to the same repeating audio when a trend goes viral. Trends go viral with popular audio because it encourages the audience to participate. Not only are there dance challenges with popular audio, but there are also duets on TikTok where a person can create a video responding and singing with the original video.
Music publicists are taking this all into consideration and are finding different ways to market their client’s music on these platforms. In a past internship I had, a weekly task was cutting up videos of a client and adding it to TikTok and Reels with their audio. It may take many tries to get your client’s audio to become viral and trending, however it’s worth it. Once it’s trending, that’ll be a great opportunity to gain more fans and even if it doesn’t necessarily become viral, these marketing strategies are still a great way to promote a musician and gain new followers. It’ll be interesting to see how music marketing and publicity will change in the next couple of years since it is always consistently changing with different media and platforms.
Written by: Amber Clavette