By Laís Oliveira | Translation: Isabela Jordão

young woman holding tablet with spotify app 23 2147987823Music is at a completely new moment in this contemporary world. Radio still exists, but streaming and new music platforms have changed the way people consume, and have also provided a more democratic environment for both the listener and the musician. Now, famous and unknown artists, with or without investment, can promote their musical work on the same platforms and reach large numbers in the digital environment.

Those who used to listen to their favorite songs and artists on the radio have opted for music apps like Spotify, Soundcloud and Deezer, among others. Amid the attractions are the agility in the choice, the power to repeat the music you like, and the option of organizing playlists of your favorite artists and listening whenever you want — without having to wait for music A or B to play.

According to the 2019 report by “Mundo da Música” website (Brazil), specialized in the music industry, various styles have grown in the digital environment and have fallen on radio. In the first quarter of 2019, “pop” style managed to establish a growth of 16% on Spotify and 8% on YouTube. However, on the radio, there was a slight drop of 1%.

The biggest growth was with samba: Spotify (+ 35%), You Tube (+ 97%), and radio (+ 35%). Styles that had dominated for some time, however, fell. An example is the “sertanejo”, which had a negative balance in all formats: Spotify (-5%); YouTube (-5%), and Radio (-5%).

This does not mean that the radio is going to die, so as was said with television, magazines and other traditional media. These media are, in fact, adapting to the needs of generations that increasingly seek quality content and entertainment. Radio streaming is there to prove it.

In case of musicians, especially unknown or independent ones, digital platforms have become allies in the dissemination of works and, who knows, the only way to make themselves known to larger audiences. This is because the figures do not lie: it is still very expensive to have your music broadcasted on radio.

Anyone who had access to the list of values ​​of the main radio stations in Brazil, for example, knows that no few digits are spoken. In addition, it is not enough to pay, programmers have to want to play their music, and the waiting list is long. So, it remains for thousands of artists to publicize their work as they can and according to their budgets.

The fact is that, even world-renowned artists have chosen to release new songs, singles and albums on digitalradio 2588503 960 720 1 platforms due to the wide reach and possibility of quick dissemination due to social networks. Nobody plays to lose in the great music industry. Platforms like Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Tidal, Deezer, Napster, Shazam, Google Music, Amazon Music, and now YouTube Music, are concerned with making millions and maintaining their relevance and editorial independence by attracting diverse artists and audiences.

For lesser-known musicians, there are also distribution service platforms, and here in the United States we can mention Amuse, Distrokid, CD Baby, Tunecore, Ditto, Record Union, Spinn Up, AWAL, United Masters and Level. The fact is that the Internet has forever changed the music industry scenario and several artists have come to know how to use new digital technologies. On the other hand, some artists with less knowledge have struggled when it comes to choosing and / or using the most effective platforms to promote their music.

In the midst of so many offers, it is essential to have a clear understanding of how to deal with these three questions:

1) Which communities are the most popular with your target audience?

2) Why are they powerful (i.e., what are the capabilities and resources)?

3) What are the appropriate circumstances to put a plan into action?

In 2018, American rapper Drake released the album Scorpion, which quickly became the world’s best seller. Anyone who opened Spotify anywhere in the world during the week of the release saw Drake’s image as the cover of several playlists. Many people then wondered: how much does it pay to put an artist on the cover of an official Spotify playlist? The answer is: nothing.

To be on the official cover of Spotify’s playlists, for example, you need to analyze the size of the artist, the quality of the release, the relationship of the office or the label with Spotify, and whether the publisher of the playlists liked the track. In addition, there is a desire of Spotify to create a successful case in its territory. In a quick analogy, the same job disclosure on a radio would take thousands of dollars and waiting.

boy 2861417 960 720When we talk about the USA, although music giants are looking to diversify the means of publicizing their work, radio remains the leader in the way Americans discover new music.

Nielsen, the data analytics company that monitors entertainment consumption in the United States, revealed in its 2018 Music 360 annual report that radio is still the main way for people to discover new music. In addition, the group’s large-scale audience survey reports show that the percentage of Americans aged 12 and older listening to weekly radio broadcasts has remained relatively stable from 1970 until today.

These numbers can be puzzling: if there are Spotify, SoundCloud, etc., why stick to an old format that offers much less? The data reveals that “for many people, the availability of so much music has led to what some academics and analysts call the tyranny of choice”, explained Larry Miller, director of the musical business program at the Steinhardt School at New York University. “You are faced with all the music in the world, but what the hell are you supposed to hear? Somebody tell me! What is good?”.

Most people just don’t care that much; they want music to be a passive, peaceful experience, something to have in the background while they cook, clean, drive, relax, in short, live their lives. There are so many options that many prefer to sit down and have someone else — a DJ, a chart-based hit list, any reliable authority at the radio — to take control by putting what they should listen to. That is why streaming services are increasingly like radio.

This division of opinions and different ways of choosing what to listen to is a very democratic characteristic of the digital age: you may just want to turn on the radio and go do something; you may want to create a playlist with a specific artist or style; you may want a list of songs ready for your party, whatever your will, there are options for everyone, of any age, generation and musical taste.


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