Viral Marketing For Musicians



Viral Marketing For Musicians

 Viral Marketing For Musicians


            Viral marketing is all about marketing a brand, an idea or just about anything that you want to market through word of mouth, online networking sites, and simple mobile communication, many musicians use this nowadays with the accessibility of the internet and social networks, mailing lists, and any form of online advertisement you can think of whether subtle or direct.

We will see general terms of Viral Marketing and explain how they adapt to musicians in the process to, as it is good that you build a notion of this procedures for anytime you require marketing you can do it yourself or hire a team with which you can collaborate and not stay in the dark wondering how is it going.

Let us start by explaining why it is denominated Viral

Why Viral Marketing?

            The concept makes a reference to a virus and how it spreads non-stop, that which is contagious and fast spread, to promote path breaking ideas that can cause a great deal of good and happiness to the world. That’s viral marketing for you.

It is like that song that is just played over and over since the 80’s it stays strong and alive because the impact was so huge it even became considered a classics as nobody disliked of it.

As in many cases today it is also an incidental thing, we share one video or photo around because it is funny or curious and a few weeks later everyone who you show it too answers “Oh yeah I’ve seen that before” and music is not staying behind, although it can also be the result of well-done internet marketing…

Starting to get an idea of the size the marketing magnitude we are going to explain, right?


Keep in mind, Viral Marketing is overall focused in internet terms and it is not directly related to physical marketing, as they are in so many ways two worlds apart form each other, as viral marketing success comes from the fact that from a computer, you have access to the whole world to gain their attention with a product good enough, in our case, our music.

The first successful story, (and probably creator of Viral marketing ) was that decided to advertise and market their company website by posting a link of it in every mail sent by their email client. The links encouraged users to open free Hotmail accounts and so; with every mail sent, Hotmail was marketed.
While viral marketing is more about getting new fans attention to come check out your work, you also need to do a good job once you get them and make sure you meet (or preferably exceed) all their expectations once you engage them. Otherwise, you may find your own viral campaign being used against you, sabotaging the results you hoped to achieve, as it is true that bad news spread faster than good.

We will give you some rules of thumb on how to avoid that! Don’t worry, although Viral Marketing is a huge universe filled with a lot of information we managed to sum up the core aspects for you to not have the need to investigate much further.

How Viral Marketing Works


Viral Marketing is known to be a way of spreading an idea or message across to people with the intention to influence a reaction, growth or sale. With internet and the current upward trend of active social networking and the different platforms it provides; viral marketing enjoys the possibility of advertising, and thereby; gaining immense  popularity almost instantly. Since uploading an idea on the web is free, it takes little investment from the marketer ( in our case from your band’s budget or your music team) to reduce the risks of incurring a possible loss.

You need to have an objective, in your case as a musician your objective is earning more fans or/and marketing your album and making everyone hear it, as much people as possible, make it a trend even! Many pop stars today reach this phase because not only the music but they themselves are marketable as a brand and they take advantage of this edge by investing as much time and effort as possible in becoming a social figure and exposing their music at the same time.

It does not have to be your objective, it was just an example, but it is good that you follow the next procedure to narrow down your objective and goal and not alter it mid-way:

  • Your desire or goal: State your most desired goal, if it is marketing your music as it should be with viral marketing for a profit earning, then stay strong to that, this is to avoid altering the desired result by changing the objective itself (it happens a lot)


  • Pros & Cons: Cover up all personal and business related Pros & Cons your Viral marketing campaign could bring once it is sucessful.


  • Your Genre and Style: Exclusive for musicians consider how much people you can really target and why you want to be heard, many fans are proven to follow an artist who has a reason to be so, some want to inspire others and others just want to have fun, either way is fine there are all kinds of fans out there just as many musicians.

With this you should be able to get at least a good picture of what you want to achieve with such a level of exposure.
Let us now describe the exclusive benefits as a musician from viral marketing.

Viral Marketing Benefits For A Musician

my-job-isnt-like-that-musician-600x310The biggest benefit of course is the fact that albums, merch, tickets and any sort of promotion success and sell rate will augment in a very exponential level.

Being viral does not only mean earning fame but maintaining it, what we mean is that attention is going to be set on you, and there is some work to be done to keeping it for as long as possible, we will get there eventually.

The second great feature and benefit is fan interaction, as fans who are engaged to your music are fans who question when will they have the opportunity to see you live.

Here is a short list of the most important economical advantages and social advantages you will be receiving through this form of marketing:

  • Establishes Presence Online: Having presence online is a big factor for a musician, just think about all the artists that have it, and how they benefit from it, it saves you the need of calling for attention, you just upload something and likes, follows, Tweets and etc… start raining on you, which means you are saving money on promotional campaigns.
  • You Establish Yourself As A Social Figure: Viral marketing comes with the influential individual package, and that is a great thing! Having the gift to ask for help in a difficult situation and being listened is great, here is where you can start helping others not only with your music but with what you can drive people to do to help someone out.We have all seen artists play in benefit concerts for free, and that is for the sole reason that they do not want money, they want to help others because we have all seen difficult times at some point in life.
  • Keeps Your Band Afloat: another “you don’t need to pay for promotion for a while” reason, yes you can pay and reach even more people out, but if you are cold on cash at the moment there is no Need anymore to keep constantly paying for micro-promotions or even a semi-large promotion campaign.

Your band will always, no matter what, be a thing.

Being viral is not an exclusive thing although, yes, it is indeed hard to attain it is a one time thing as people will knowyour name from now on, some people are unlucky and ave taken years to achieve this point in their internet marketing and others have reached it in a matter of months, this all depends on how well you structure your marketing campaign.

As for now, let us approach the basics on going viral…

First Step: Audience Targeting

If you know marketing you probably have heard this term before if not, let me fill you in on how it works.

Audience targeting focuses on selecting the individuals you consider could be potential fans, in general marketing terms this is who you would sell your product, in music terms, this are potential fans and support… but in viral terms, this means shares an engaged fans that will spread you around.

Of course it is a system that works as a whole with a bunch of benefits when you become so selective, some considerations for a musician who attempts viral marketing are:

  • Age: an estimation of your average follower in social networks
  • Gender: simple Male or Female
  • Attitude: plays an important role, ask fans to share you if you see they are always positive with you and your band members and do constructive, justifiable critiques, bad news are bad for a viral campaign, if you feel they expose an unnecessary opinion too often then just leave them be, many artists commit the mistake of engaging in a dispute with this kind of fans and social media takes care that you are never the victim in this scenario.
  • Musical Taste/ Similar style: Look up for the fans from other bands that play under the same genre as you do or if your band sounds similar to other take advantage of it.

There are many more considerations but as far as we can tell you, these are the most important ones so far.

Now that you have objective & Audience targeting to give you a positive start up, let’s get a bit technical and approach Viral Marketing Itself.
Viral Marketing: Success For Success

You need a platform (or several) where to reach your audience, in our case we are going to use, social networks, a mailing list, your website and blogs you own.
The best social networks considerations to start off with, based on interaction from fans, facility to advertise and market and amount of monthly users are:

  • Facebook: Of course, the largest social network is no the list, having a band page is a great advantage, because you can gather all your followers in one single place.There are a lot of things to take advantage of, starting with facebook’s unique Advertisement system that can do automatic Audience targeting for you.It also analyzes the users, how often the comment or share posts and if it is a positive or negative attitude. You can share photos of your band, write a whole post about personal matters that you want to share with your fans, if there is a project building up or even just a funny photo can open the gates to the viral response we are seeking.

Facebook also has a system to share your page only to a percentage of people who could be potential fans or share similar tastes to yours, also this system avoids pages to overlap to much on people’s newsfeed ( facebook’s home page when the user logs in) and gives them the chance to be noticed instead of ignored due to the huge amount of suggestions they could offer.

  • Twitter: The famous blue bird is great for viral posting, even media uses it to share news about serious issues around the world and if necessary they even make a # hashtag (a hashtag is twitter’s holy grail per to say as it makes something viral by how many people use it, imagine how many people use #music or #art hashtags a day )
  • You can use this general overused hashtags as people looks for them on a regular basis to start earning recognition and later on petition your fans to use a hashtag with your band’s name. To have your own unique space of attention.Twitter counts with hundreds of functions and they can be even monetized to earn you an extra cash flow (that’s another story but it’s good to keep in mind if you plan going viral) these tons of functions can be integrated by the official twitter’s team or they are authorized third party pages that give you statistics, narrow down possible fans, and can even organize daily activity for you to see if you are really growing big, staying afloat or drowning.Although twitter is a very fast social network where millions of people write a day, learning how to really use it is not that hard and can earn you another huge window to viral marketing.
  • Youtube: Youtube is visual, only videos. You want to advantage from this mostly by sharing your videos on twitter and facebook, if people listen to your music most first timers usually they go through Youtube or Spotify.Youtube can share statistics about how your videos are earning views on a daily basis and how much exposure they are having is up to you.

These mentioned social networks are the most efficient for viral marketing only because of the large users amount they have.

As for considerations to keep in mind to giving a professional look to your social network account:

  • Create a fan page: so that people can follow and connect with you. Include a well written biography, one that is compelling self explanatory and useful even as a cpoy-paste template bloggers can use if they write articles about you (when going viral this happens a lot so be prepared!)
  • Get Personal: Give your fans the incentive that you are being social friendly, this helps a lot when they want to share something about you as they will consider you wont mind and this opens up your exposure level exponentially.
  • Photos: Upload professional photos that can be used for media purposes, as many people will take them out of your social networks (which is fine if it is for our viral marketing)Also their activity on a daily basis is important for you as you want to keep sharing and sharing. Also, all of these have a form of writing where the fan or listener can express their opinion or how they feel when listening to your music.Which takes us to the next point of Viral Marketing, a bit more intricate but we will sum it up as best as we can, as it is related with a psychological aspect and some sociological terms, all of these involved with the Emotions we want to generate in our fans.

As it has been thoroughly studied, positive music or artwork that generates a vibrant reaction on the audience gets viral more often rather than something sad or shocking (unless it is a worldwide event, like an earthquake , tsunami, or even a terrorist act can earn their share of viral reaction for the simple fact of being a serious subject)

Influential Factor: Emotions


We will go through each emotion and how they have generated a different form of viral marketing, these can be related to your music genre so it is good you investigate other artists similar to you if they have had a share of viral marketing and the reactions from the audience and/or fans that surround them.

As for now let us give you a general picture with some useful tips for musicians:

  • Joy/Happiness: Focused viral marketing on this can involve a lot, a good example is a celebration, like Christmas or a Birthday, you can take advantage of a festive day to take a next level in marketing by offering something that can be presented like a gift.Some artist have their own set of shirt-s or even signed photos with a birthday message.In viral terms you can share these and petition your followers to share the joy with others, you can make a video or a song even dedicated to the given date. (it does not necessarily have to be Christmas)
  • Surprise: the most internet powerful one in this list, Note that the element of surprise, whether pleasant or not has the ability to wake someone back into their senses and break people out of their habits. If wisely used it can be a key player in influencing viral marketing.How can a musician do this? You have to be creative, you can make a music video addressing a social issue severyone is concious of but no one considers in their daily life, for example phone addiction, some artists have made powerful lyrics expressing how it is sad or just inninteresting already to sit in a table and everyone is hooked up to a screen, you can make a video where the person realizing this tries to change and fails or succeeds depending on the impact, it has to be something that crosses lines to be surprising.
  • Sadness/Anger: Negative feelings can have a positive reaction it is kind of like the “minus plus minus equals plus”law we all learned in school, and that law is not entirely mathematical, actually is more of a general social law we apply to masses, we see this all the time.There is a point where they drive you with enough anger to act towards something that is generating an issue (global warming, racism, classism , sexism, and many more social movements to avoid these are perfect examples)Musicians at least one of their songs attempts to adress social issues of some sort of magnitude, they hide meanings in between lyrics or just make it very direct, the viral effect here works mostly on the message of the lyrics and how it spreads among (if there are any) supporters and people against your opinion.

As this can generate a lot of social conflict you have to stay as neutral as possible, never take sides just express the general feeling in air but do not get personally involved, as we said, bad news spread way faster and they stain you for a long time.

  • Disgust: This is an emotion that is usually seen in people who are highly provoked or rebellious in attitude. Although this emotion does have its chances to influence a purchase, it should be sparingly used for it may cause unnecessary offense and hurt the sentiments of people.

Artists use this not to go viral, in fact it usually happens accidentally, they say something or they start a movement to erradicate something not anymore as musicians but as social figures and tkae some other forms of action through.

It can influence a wrong aspect as everyone starts developing personal opinions so you should be careful, this is mostly to remind you to keep control of yourself at all times many musicians are eaten through the stress of a huge social impact because it also means a lot more of work to be done.
These are it, pretty simple to understand and an art on it’s own to master how to handle them, every musician that attempts to grow big are given or subconsciously understand how this behavioral patterns based on emotions work

Which brings us to our next point, the Practice & Trial and Error.

Apply Emotional Factors In Your Social Networks


We have given you both elements where you are going to share your viral marketing and the intent you want to proceed with, now how can you combine them?

Le us take Joy as our example, your band has finished producing your newest album and it is time to make it viral! So share your happiness, literally.

Record a video where you show fans how thankful you are, artists sometimes even cry of how the really really mean it from the bottom of their soul, and anyways you are where you are because of your true fanbase that has been there since the beginning.

A free giveaway of 50 signed copies with a surprise handwritten letter play with your Element of Surprise they will immediately share it in social networks “I won a free copy and this amazing letter came in the box!!” his friends will see it, and that can start a sharing chain with even a headline like “dedicated band/artist does this for his fans”

You have seen some like these, maybe not music realated but they are there and the real key to the element of surprise is creativity, as we said, step outside the box and innovate, subtle things even can change and waver someone’s feelings.

Enough emotional stuff! Let me approach the other side of the coin, the key marketing things that highly favor a campaign for going viral! As this will be the objectives for your post in social neyworks with which you can mix your emotional aspects with and make a pretty good, fulfilling and professional message to engage fans, or new individuals to get an idea of you are and why you are here.
Elements That Favor Viral Marketing
By now you should have the whole picture of how viral marketing works in a game of convincing and engaging fans to react and share your objective or purpose.

There is also a big list of how to favor and raise the success rate of your viral marketing capaign so if you invest money in advertisement and promotion it does not go to waste.

Here is the list of elements that help enhance your over reach. Embracing these elements in a manner that best defines your organization can yield an effective marketing strategy for your band, for you and for your music:

  • Free Stuff: the world itself calls enough attention in a world where every single material thing has a prize and we are sometimes not in the economical disposition to aquire what we want or need.Selling cheap or discounted is a great tactic, yes, but giving it away for free can make anyone say “yes”As we said, fans enjoy the element of surprise understand the needs of your fan base, they want a pick, a sticker or even a shirt for free? Make them compete andSHARE a post in social networks, imagine you have an amazing design, that calls the attention and you are saying that you have 100 for free for those who share your post (or any way you can track them and randomly select them) will be convincing enough to earn some fans and have a level of viral recognition.
  • Words With Power: Do not only focus on your audience feelings with this but share a message with an even poetic meaning.You can investigate which words have a higher impact on people when they read them.
    Bad words are an example (no, don’t use them it is just an example) but when we hear one in the street we flip in no time because we feel surprised, that is the reaction we want them to have, to not divert their gaze from our message and read it, therefore like it, and share it.
  • Make use of Previous Trends: If there is one you can fit in, USE it.Previous social trends that went viral are a window that is walways open for someone new to jump into the big ocean of social-viral recognition they offer, as we said also, once it is open it never closes!Why do you think so many musicians make covers of those super famous pop songs from the 80s with a twist or just an identical version? People out there are always looking for them, non-stop. It is a time bomb though, they will recognize you as “the guy who brought this back” so you have to use it only as a basis and build some different image aspect from this, we could say it is like a play dough that has to ressemble a sculpture now, you have the “mass” but now you have to give it meaning to keep this people engaged to your original music or your project.
  • Make it Worth The Effort: Very rarely a viral campaign becomes fruitful and successful for free, and that is as we mentioned, pure luck, yes it can happen to you but you can not sit forever waiting to go viral because the gods decide it is your time to shine!Invest your money into this carefully.Plan a good advertisement campaign in which you cover your social networks and all the aspects they offer for you, every single one of them can benefit you, you would be surprised by the ways some people go viral or they start their viral campaign! Look up for prior success stories, what they use to do before going viral what they did in the process and how they are handling it right now, how are they applying that explosive success to benefit.Have a lot of references and not only in musical terms as this is where many fail , which brings me to the next point..
  • Your a business, think like one: You and your band are the leaders and your product is your music, and it all comes down to administration, social and economical.What you do is an art form, but as long as you can market it and promote it it is also a product, a sellable thing is a product, as it can generate money and interest in people.Of course music is not a need but a form of entertainment in the eyes of the industrial world, but it has been there almost since the beginning of humanity. Think of yourself as a corporation, administrate the money like they do and also give your product (your music) top priority at all time, if you sell your music as much as possible, you raise the stakes for possible purchases for the next one, more exposure and an even higher chance to explode in the eyes of society as a viral band with a powerful message.
  • Keep it Simple: Don’t make anything to complex, make it accesible and time savvy.You want to be able to administrate everything without feeling to much pressure, and the only way to do this is either hiring people and/or keeping it simple.Remember how we mentioned some can’t handle it? We did mean that mostly because of this! The way they achieved viral recognition was complex and required a lot of time from their part or the whole band.
  • A Social Networks Team: Our last suggestion is you hire a group of people if you have the money for it, to assist you with the sharing and keeping up the the internet’s speed and every social network you are handling.Many artists reach this point at some part of their artistic career as they have too much to do, (touring, meet and greet, photoshoots, album recordings, gigs, live performances for a special cause or charity, interviews) they spend enough time within all of these to even forget about social networks.Hiring a team at the beginning can be a bit of a stir unless you really know that you are going to have a successful impact, which is almost unpredictable, but we mention it so you consider it in a near future if every thing goes as planned!

Conclussion & Thoughts

The internet is a powerful tool these days right? We hope you explode the possibilities from every aspect we shared with you today.

There are millions of tactics for marketing and internet marketing that you can benefit from, and your best tool of choice is social networks when it comes to viral marketing, as we said do not focus on the money but on making people aware that you are there first.

After that, you can take it to the next level and make a seriously huge marketing campaign for selling and distributing your artistic work!

And remember the most important rule… Enjoy it and have fun!