Reports Media & Marketing

Music Marketing Niche is the New Mainstream

Report by Mark Mulligan
Cover image for Music Marketing
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The 20,000 Foot View:  Streaming personalisation and falling radio audiences are combining to rewrite the music marketing rulebook, ushering in a whole new marketing paradigm. Hits used to be cultural moments; artist brands built by traditional mass media. This fire-hydrant approach to marketing lacked both accountability and effective targeting. Now, hyper targeting, both in marketing campaigns and streaming recommendations, is creating a new type of hit and a new type of artist. Global fanbases are being built via the accumulation of local niches, while a few global hits are being replaced by many, smaller hits for individuals.

Key Findings

  • Digital targeting,            decline and streaming curation have            how music marketing works
  • Just            of            olds listen to music, compared                       that watch music videos on           
  • However, radio            the only large-scale tool that            have for reaching audiences at            shared time and place
  • Record labels            becoming increasingly resigned to radio            but they could be sleepwalking            a post-radio marketing crisis
  • Hearing new            is not shorthand for discovery.            stripped of the context and            of radio can fail to            cut through
  • Big record            influence over the scarce commodity            radio airtime is being replaced            democratised access to self-serve digital            tools
  • The cultural            of broadcast-based marketing are being            by cultural movements – super-engaged            that thrive under the mainstream           
  • Fandom is            but the cumulative effect of            local niches is global-scale fanbases
  • Mass media            macro hits for large audiences.            creates micro hits, songs that            like hits to individuals but            may never have a large           
  • Post-album economics            already challenging record label return            investment (ROI) but if hits            smaller, then the economics become            more extreme
  • The number            streams and social actions per            matter more than total streams
  • On-demand audiences            low tolerance for being pushed            they do not like. Their            must be sought, not bought

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Acast, Audio Boom, Billie Eilish, BTS, Drake, Facebook, Google, Kobalt, Lauv, MySpace, Rex Orange County, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Spotify, Wondery, YouTube

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