This is a guest post by Ethan Warlick.
There is no question that social media has brought fans closer to their favorite recording artists – Facebook lets users like artists and Twitter lets users follow and even communicate with them – but now it is even reshaping the landscape of music.
Not only are social networks allowing musicians to bring fans closer to their lives, artists are even using social platforms to promote and distribute their music.
Spotify, the largest and fastest growing social network for music, has made great strides to add services to create a better user experience. Other than being able to listen to a large library of songs, including new release albums, users can follow artists and, as of recently, listen to the music that they are currently listening to. Musicians build playlists of their favorite songs, much like users, and their fans are able to listen along and are updated when new songs are added.
In a recent campaign, Spotify invited users to stream “Wish You Were Here”, the first Pink Floyd track on the network, one million times to unlock their full catalogue of music. The campaign was so strong that the full catalogue, including their multi-platinum albums The Dark Side of The Moon and The Wall, was released in less than four days.
Pandora, another social music powerhouse, is also taking part in creating a unique user experience. With the release of their new service, Pandora Premiers, users are able to listen to full-length albums weeks before they are released. Not only is this taking music discovery to another level, but it is also allowing users to sample new music to assist in the decision of whether or not they will purchase upon release. The new service allows for repeated listens of tracks in any order, which has never been offered by the platform before.
Myspace, the recently re-launched social network, has a focus on music and plans to revolutionize the way that music is discovered and experienced. Owned by Justin Timberlake, musician turned businessman, the platform is being reintroduced through a 20 million dollar campaign including commercial spots with some of the current top artists who are already using the social network. Fans are able to listen and follow their favorite artists in a whole new way and musicians are able to get closer to their current fan base and even introduce their music to new ones.
Not only have musicians joined social platforms to reshape the landscape of music, but artists are also starting their own movement to do it themselves.
Hip-Hop giant turned entrepreneur and business mogul, Jay-Z, has taken the world of music by storm by offering his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, for free to select fans. Users of such Samsung phones as the Galaxy S4, S III and Note II were encouraged to download his app, JAY Z MAGNA CARTA, and the first one million who downloaded a copy of the album on July 4th received it for free. The man himself even took to Twitter to answer questions from his fans about the album and their favorite tracks! Unfortunately, because it was unprecedented, these copies were not considered in first week sales, but there is no question that this movement has changed the way that music is experienced and distributed.
Will more artists use similar Spotify campaigns as Pink Floyd? Justin Timberlake brought ‘sexy’ back, but will he be able to bring Myspace back? Do you think that other artists will duplicate Jay-Z’s music distribution movement? Whether you answer yes or no to these questions, it is obvious that the music industry is constantly evolving and being changed by social media.