The music industry is a very symbiotic one. Artists, journalists, publicists, and labels all depend on one another to stay afloat. Artists depend on entities for coverage, distribution, and support, and entities depend on artists for quality content for their label, blog, or magazine.
In some cases, these outlets make investments in artists, whether it be a financial investment from a record label or a branding investment from a media outlet. Think about it: if I want to attract readers and advertisers, then I need to be placing quality artists in my magazine or blog. Similarly, if I'm a record label, and I'm paying for promotion and studio time, I expect to get some of that recouped. It's an investment either way.
So, what do these decision makers at labels and publications look for in an artist's digital presence? Here's a brief rundown.
1. Social proof
Whether it's a label, media outlet, or any other solid influencer, they're going to first look and see how people are reacting to your work. Sadly, you could have incredibly great talent, but if your product looks poor, or if not enough people are behind you organically, it might hinder the eyes of magazines or labels.
Therefore, spend your time engaging your fans. Get your social media profiles up to par and get organic interaction going. Before a label wants to invest money in your work, they want to know it'll sell; therefore, they'll be looking at your fanbase to see if it exists and how it reacts to your work.
Make sure that your hometown is backing you and regional outlets are covering you. These are huge ways that press and labels gauge if you're worth their time and attention.
2. Professional presentation of your content
Obviously, if a label wants to work with you or a magazine wants to cover you, then they need access to your work. This means that you need to ensure your work is shown and produced professionally. If you have a YouTube channel, make sure the production and sound quality is perfect; similarly, those SoundCloud links should be top-notch.
This seems pretty obvious, but it's always worth noting: you need to treat your work professionally. If you don't, no one else will take your work as seriously as you want them to. It's fine to do silly vlogs or joking videos, but ensure they're packaged as such, and that your "serious" content is displayed prominently.
[Learn more: 7 Things That Make Your Band Look Bad]
3. A mutually beneficial relationship
While a label may be more flexible on modest numbers depending on the deal, quite often a magazine or blog will want a decent following to cover your work. If you think about the reasoning for this, it's pretty simple: If you have a combined following of 300,000 on Facebook and Twitter and you share the article you're featured in, then that outlet is being put in front of a ton of new eyes.
Similarly, by partnering with a large media outlet, your work will be exposed to new potential fans as well – it's the same mindset for the outlet. By having a healthy following, folks are more likely to take a bet on your work due to proof of fans as well as a symbiotic relationship for views.
[Learn more: 4 Simple Steps to Creating a Killer Press List]
4. Easy access
Back in my journalism days, I'd often try to find an artist for an interview request, but either had to hunt down a media contact or was led to an incorrect email. Therefore, you should always have your EPK and contact information placed easily on your website. If decision makers have to search too long for contact info, they'll likely just give up and look for another artist (unless, obviously, they're contacted first by a manager or publicist).
5. Consistent presence
One way to give journalists the fodder they need and the labels the look that they're searching for is by having a consistent and updated web presence. Folks want to see different types of content. Rather than just constant pushes for your new video and single, find creative and fun ways to promote your work. This matters! Decision makers love working with artists who have their own marketing already locked down.
As a music marketing strategist, Tyler Allen works with an extensive array of artists, labels, music tech, and music retail entities. Tyler began his music industry career with Sony Music Entertainment and RED Distribution, as well as the advertising industry. He is dedicated to giving veteran artists the tools to preserve their legacy, and new artists the tools to begin theirs (as well as everything in between). Learn more at wtylerconsulting.com.