Task 21 – Marketing Essay

Question: How far is marketing important in the media area (music industry) you have studied?

Marketing is an essential factor in the music industry. The different factors in the music industry, production, distribution, marketing & exchange, work together as a sort of media ecology, so are all vital for the success of the star, however due to changes in technology, therefore change within the audience, marketing is now even more important.

The way music and the artist’s star image is marketed has varied significantly over the years as the use of technology has changed. This technology has also made the music industry democratized and more available for anyone, making it quite ‘crowded’. To be recognised or for their music to be popular it is important for them to be innovative in the way they market their music. 

A recent example of when synergy was used by two brands for marketing, was Travis Scott’s collaboration with Fortnite. On April 24, Scott performed, live on popular video game, Fortnite. He performed all of his popular songs like ‘Sicko Mode’ and ‘Highest in the Room’ as well as his newest song ‘The Scotts’. In my opinion I think this performance was a good example of the use of synergy. It is quite significant due to the status of Scoot, as quite a popular artist, and Fortnite, which is also a very popular game. It worked well (with 12million viewers) as both brands have very similar target audiences. It was also significant as the two huge brands, together, would have had a powerful impact in terms of marketing, for each other.

Another way artists promote and market their brand is via social media. In 2017, Beyonce announced her pregnancy on Instagram, receiving 7 million likes in just 24hours, which would have had a huge impact on her music too. Instagram has also launched a new music platform, which allows artists to promote and be recognised for their music. This is a good example of cross media convergence, due to the varying ways artists are promoting their music. Social Media is a platform used by millions of people all over the world so consequently has a huge impact on the way that music is marketed. Cross media convergence (used by Beyonce and many other artists) is a really great way of promoting their brands, especially because it allows the artist to reach a huge audience.

Traditional marketing is still a very popular method of promotion for many stars. For an artist’s music and brand to be recognised, they need to be innovative. In 2014, Kasabian, (who had just bagged a slot as a Reading and Leeds headliner), thought of a creative way to promote their album, subtly. When they were caught, in East London, painting a shop bright pink, with a bold, black timestamp ‘48:13’, it left fans very puzzled, yet intrigued. They later discovered the time stamp was in fact the name of the band’s new album. I think this was very significant, as it was not a typical method of marketing. This use of guerilla and traditional marketing confused fans, but also excited them. 

The Weeknd chose to go down a similar path also. Many months before the release of his new album ‘After Hours’, he decided to go MIA on social media, in particular instagram, with very few posts on twitter, dropping subtle hints that he was producing a new album. In November 2019, The Weeknd re appeared on Instagram captioning his first photo ‘the fall starts tomorrow’. This obviously excited fans, firstly because The Weeknd was back online, but also because he was releasing some new music. To make his campaign even more gripping, it was only a couple of songs that he released in November, making fans wait till March 2020 for the whole album to drop. On the date of the full release The Weeknd used billboards, posters, advertisements on streaming sites and teasers on social media to market his new album with powerful and striking  images of himself. The way that The Weeknd conducted this marketing strategy was extremely successful. The way he used (or didn’t use) social media and teased fans by releasing two out of the fourteen songs, and finally used cross media convergence of traditional, guerilla and viral marketing, was extremely effective. In just a few weeks The Weeknd’s new album ‘After Hours’ had 221million streams and 275,000 copies sold.

Taylor Swift has approached how she will market her music, quite differently in comparison to artists of her size. She refuses to promote her brand via traditional methods and press interviews. Instead, she chooses to talk to fans on Tumblr and uses Youtube too. Swift does not have the control she desires in respect to her brand when journalism is involved nor does she trust them. Her decision clearly paid off however as in the first week of her album release ‘Reputation’ she sold 1.2million copies! I think this is a very significant movement in terms of how marketing is slowly evolving and changing, especially with the impact of social media. Traditional methods of marketing such as press interviews, are known for being slightly manipulative of the truth, and in my opinion I think that many more artists will follow in the footsteps of Swift and avoid it all together. 

In conclusion, from the research I have done and these case studies I have looked at, it is clear that marketing has a huge impact on the success of the star. I think the way marketing is evolving is also significant, as more and more artists move towards using cross media convergence or using the Web 2.0 for more interaction with the audiences, as well as the use of social media, less artists choose to promote their brands traditionally for example on billboards or in press conferences.

Although marketing is extremely beneficial and a crucial factor of the music industry, it can have negative effects on an artist’s success. Taylor Swift is a great example of this, as many fans accuse her of using feminism to promote her brand, hence why she now chooses not to take part in press interviews. This negative feedback from fans may have had a bad impact on her music success.

FInally I believe that digital technology is vital for producing all types of marketing, even traditional methods. As well as this, artists must be creative and innovative in the way that they use this technology, to stand out from the crowd, and excite fans.


The only thing missing from this really outstanding essay is something about money. The marketing campaigns your cite are all extremely expensive, perhaps a case study on a DIY artist using the tools at her/his disposal to promote their image / music. Otherwise this was really superb. A* work!

Term 5 / 5, Examples 4 /5, Analysis 13 /15

Mark : 22/25

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