Working within the music industry is something that I have always wanted to do from an early age. Being on stage and performing in front of thousands of people was always a dream for me, but the opportunity never arose for me to have my moment of fame. The UK music scene is currently booming. The Music Industry in the UK is growing year of year (5% growth), and with this growth new genres within UK music are now flourishing. One of the genres to take advantage of this growth is UK grime music. Grime is thriving with new talent, and the scene is expanding massively. With Grime pioneer Skepta collaborating with global stars such as Drake and A$AP Rocky, Grime will soon arrive on the global stage. The music industry in the UK has never been better, and with the improving technology innovations is it time to reimagine social media with the music industry in mind?
UK Grime Skepta (left) Grammy Award Winner Drake (right) Source: DJBooth
My love for music runs deep. Being from a both Jamaican and English household I was exposed to many different genres of music from an early age. Due to this exposure I was able to understand the interconnection between all kinds of music. Many people will agree with me when I say that music is part of who we are as people. It helps form and develop your ideologies. It helps you to build your character, and it can give people the courage to have a voice. It has the power to fight the oppression of minority groups, and gives people the motivation to go out and chase their dreams. Music is the one art form that can represent the people, giving artists reach on a global scale to stand up for what they believe in. This is why the music industry must be protected at all costs. From companies and organisations with ulterior motives. This is why I chose to get involved in the music industry, and it is an area that I have great passion for.
Understanding how the music industry works is paramount to having any level of success. Being aware of your Macro and Micro environments can help you to effectively plan marketing strategies. Using competitor analysation techniques such as SWOT analysis can help you to analyse your competitors internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as there external opportunities and threats. This information can help you to expand and develop your own business because it enables you to learn from others mistakes. As well as this, being aware of the sheer magnitude of the industry will help you to understand how many peoples lives depend on the the music industry, with 119,020 people currently employed in UK music. (breakdown of the employment shown below)
UK Music Employment – Source: Measuring Music 2016
In 2015 the UK music industry contributed £4.1 billion towards the UK economy in GVA, and the industry continues to grow. On average the UK music industry over the last four years, as a whole has grown by 17%. (Breakdown of Industry size shown below)
UK Music in Numbers- Source: Measuring Music 2016
With growth, opens up new opportunities for emerging businesses to grow and expand, and with this promising information I decided to search for an area of the music industry that suited my skills set best.
After looking at the current state of the music industry, I felt like I had found the perfect niche for me to begin working on. During my research I realised how popular social media websites currently are. This (in my opinion) is down to human nature. It is well documented that humans have an intense urge, or even need, to be apart of a team, group or community.
“Deprivation of stable, good relationships has been linked to a large array of aversive and pathological consequences. People who lack belongingness suffer higher levels of mental and physical illness and are relatively highly prone to a broad range of behavioral problems, ranging from traffic accidents to criminality to suicide… It therefore seems appropriate to regard belongingness as a need rather than simply a want.” (Baumeister, Roy F and Mark R. Leary, 1995)
This may be why everyday users log on and interact with one another. Whatever the case may be, this is a very effective business model. The problem that I faced was trying to develop a ‘social media type’ application, but for musicians. How can this be moulded into a social media application solely for musicians and music lovers?
THE RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media is one of the most effective marketing tools for musicians. It allows artists to promote new music and live shows free of charge, and it also allows for fans to connect with their idols.
“People (including artists) have been given a powerful and mostly free platform to share ideas with the world – and are doing so in droves. Every sixty seconds more than eight hours of new video content is being uploaded to YouTube. That’s 11,500 hours of new video content everyday” (Joel, M 2009).
In 2015 social media websites generated a staggering $25.14 billon (£1.88 billion), and this figure will continue to grow. A full breakdown of social network advertising revenue from 2014 to 2017 can be found in Appendices 1.
Social Media Fame
Musicians have gained huge success from solely marketing themselves via social media websites such as, Myspace and Facebook. Using social media to target your fanbase can sometimes be very difficult for artists. Due to the ease of use, social media is flooded with endless amounts of content. It can sometimes to difficult for artists to stand out and direct their marketing at the correct demographic. This issue is sometimes described as The Long Tail. There is a huge amount of ‘niche’ posts and marketing on social media. This low demand content collectively takes up a huge percent of social media, therefore making it difficult for artists and fans to connect. See Appendices 2 for full breakdown of the “reach” of online platforms.
A great example of using social media to market an artist is the story of The Arctic Monkeys. In the early 2000’s the UK garage band gained fame on the then popular social media website MySpace. The fanbase of The Arctic Monkeys created a community where they could share music and information about the band. The band then updated their profile on a regular basis with forums, tour information, photos of the band and online streaming of their music. This enabled The Arctic Monkeys to stay connected with their fanbase free of charge. Having this connection with their fanbase gave them the ability to market themselves directly to their ideal demographic. This is turn grew the band to new heights. They were eventually signed by Domino Records in 2006 and released their first album which became the fastest selling album in UK history. This example shows how effective a community of music lovers can be, and this is what sparked the idea for my business idea Dopsal.
Early 2016, I came up with the business idea of Dopsal. In all honesty the name is completely random, but nobody knows what Google means and they seem to have done relatively well. The vision of Dopsal is to reimagine the way people communicate, whilst bringing together music enthusiasts from around the world. We aim to offer exclusive news, music and interviews, as well as incorporating new emerging technology, such as 360˚ photos and videos. Having the ability to conduct a PEST analysis enabled me understand the key technological trends that are currently circulating within the industry. 360˚ technology is currently very popular within the music industry. It enables the user to become immersed in the musical experience, and this is a new technology that we intend to heavily use. Dopsal will aim to create a perfect online ecosystem that gives users the necessary tools and features to discuss music related topics in a new imaginative way.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Having the ability to survive, adapt and thrive in the current and future music industry environment can be very difficult. It is a competitive industry were only the most prepared and switched on people survive. When running Dopsal is it important that we understand our target market. We fully understand the demographic that we intend to target. A great way of understanding this is using a common strategy called demographic segmentation. This is a common strategy to segment the market that you are working within. The demographic of Dopsal is 16-30 years olds, who enjoy music and enjoy communicating with like minded people. This target demographic is very precise and niche, but this is for a very good reason. Its important that we establish a strong core user base because this core base will form the foundations of Dopsal. If we target just music lovers for example, the main aspect of Dopsal (communication) may be lost. Its vital that the vision of Dopsal stays clear and doesn’t become clouded by a poor brand identity.
The key to being able to adapt and thrive within the music industry is being aware of the Macro and Micro environmental factors that surround your company, and may affect the present and future running of your organisation. At Dopsal we are very aware of these factors and we are currently paying close attention to the political factors that currently surround the UK.
Its important that we analyse the stability of the government, the potential changes to legislations, and the global influences that might affect the functionality of Dopsal. The UK recently voted for BREXIT, and this has caused a huge uncertainty throughout the sovereign state. There is huge uncertainty if this will benefit businesses or not. Currently we are a online company and aspects such as trade regulations will not currently affect us, but we are currently looking at developing Dopsal merchandise. Given the current circumstances it would be best if we waited until things became more clear. It’s crucial that we pay attention to the on going negotiations to prevent disturbance to the running of the company.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY LOOK LIKE THROUGH MY EYES?
The music industry is a difficult thing to predict because trends fluctuate on a regular basis, but this is my vision. I envision an industry that becomes more in touch with the immersion and the overall experience of listening to music. With innovative technology in virtual reality now becoming affordable, its only a matter of time before artists start selling VR versions of their live events. This in turn will grow the music industry even more because it will add another revenue stream to the already overflowing sea of music. This is a huge reason why we intended to integrate 360º technology into Dopsal because immersion and VR is the future.
Social Media marketing needs to be improved to keep up with its ever growing popularity. It is currently virtually impossible as an indie musician to target your intended market. New algorithms will need to be developed to pierce through the crowds of unwanted information, but this is perhaps the area that Dopsal will excel in. Musicians are becoming frustrated with the ineffectiveness of social media with many artists deactivating their Facebook and Twitter accounts. If Dopsal can get up and running, it may have the chance to be the social media kingpin of the future.
Feel free to comment on this article, and share you opinions on the idea of Dopsal! Also where do you think that the music industry is heading? Comment Below.