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“Circulate the image every time I come around”. How social media has transformed the music industry.

Social media has completely transformed the music industry. The model, famously used by sensations like Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, has been refashioned. With social networks, artists are now able to instantaneously reach their fans around the world with just a click of a button and when used properly social media is the most effective marketing platform available.

Beyonce is a pop sensation who consistently uses Instagram and Twitter to maintain a relationship with her Beyhive, Beyonce released an entirely digital album on iTunes at midnight, with no formal press release or promotional campaign, and the album immediately went viral. With the help of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Buzzfeed, and other popular networks, Beyonce’s self-titled fifth album sold 828,773 copies worldwide in its first three days of availability (according to Columbia Records), becoming the fastest-selling album in the history of the iTunes Store. Because of social media and its global reach, Beyonce’s album release was #Flawless.

Social media has changed the music industry in more than one way. With the emergence of streaming services like Spotify, which gives users access to millions of songs at their fingertips, albums sales have been in dramatic decline. One artist, however, has found a way to employ social media in a way that has allowed her to beat the odds and outsell every artist in the last decade.

Taylor Swift RED Tour

Image courtesy of Flickr User Jana Zills.

Taylor Swift is a cultural phenomenon who gained unprecedented success in the most simple way, social connections. Known for her songwriting skills, Swift uses her lyrics to gain a connection with listeners, a connection she later cements through a very calculated social media presence. This formula is the reason why Taylor Swift is the only artist in history to have three albums sell over a million copies in a single week. Her last album 1989 has been on top of the Billboard Album Charts for over 11 weeks, an accomplishment only achieved by the late Whitney Houston. While her intelligence is often underestimated, Taylor Swift has used her success to make an intellectual public statement about art, albums, and the business. In a bold op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal, Swift optimistically writes that “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.” The article which created a lot of buzz and even had its own trending hashtag on Twitter, was a successful push by Taylor to get her fans to invest in music. Her fans then went on to buy over one million copies of her 1989 album in one week, making it the top selling album of 2014.

Her 1989 social media campaign can also be deemed one of the most successful marketing campaigns in the past decade. At little to no cost, Swift managed to connect with millions of fans around the world. Twitter. Instagram. Tumblr. There wasn’t a social media network that Taylor did not employ in her impressive effort. Her constant tweets about the album, retweets of fans with the #taylurking, and selfies with famous friends Lorde, Karlie Kloss, and Sarah Hyland, allowed Swift to make her fans feel like they were part of the “Swift Inner Circle”. Taylor’s constant use of social media has even landed her cats success. Olivia Benson and Meredith Grey are arguably the most famous felines on the planet.

More often than not, recording artists have used social media to promote their work. Some artists have been more successful at this as they have been able to create an online connection with their fans by giving their followers an intimate glimpse into their personal worlds. By allowing fans to enter their lives through Instagram pictures and tweets artists have built a relationship that has resulted in increased album sales, sold-out tours, and merchandise purchases. Artists who have mastered this art are not only talented performers, singers, and songwriters, but innovative social media marketers.

Featured Image is taken as a screen grab from Beyonce’s Instagram.

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