Why Is Audience Development a Vital Part of the Marketing Mix?

By Rebecca Rees

Throughout traditional album cycles, artists and their teams often work tirelessly to strategise a timely marketing campaign to support the weeks around releasing an album or track. But what about the time in-between these cycles, and how can you harness new audiences to make the most of this release, two, three, six months later?

Increasing the longevity of an albums' success has since taken shape in special edition presses, remixes, and acoustic releases. However, with Spotify’s CEO Daniel Ek recently claiming that it's no longer enough to 'record music once every three to four years' there has been a growing trend in labels releasing albums as a series of EP’s before announcing an album product. Since we can't all master the excellence of Taylor Swift and release two albums a quarter, breaking up albums into smaller fragments of content aim to maximise its use and harness the popularity indexes on streaming platforms to increase chances of being playlisted. Major labels are taking the lead in employing audience development managers on top of their digital teams - to educate artists and their teams on the best practices for engaging with fans between release cycles. This is because the marketing teams often do not have the time or resources to support a full roster at one given time. According to Universal Music Group, these departments aim to grow bigger, more engaged global audiences for artists and their catalogues – developing long-term creative digital plans, informed by clear audience insights, to grow listening over time.


In the podcast, Digital Dissect, which explores the challenges and solutions for creative industries in a digital economy, Digital Marketing Manager at the independent label Cooking Vinyl Records, James Corbitt, explains how artists should have a thorough understanding of their identity for long-term marketing success. Portraying this message to their marketing or audience development team will help the marketer understand the narrative they should aim to share with the audience to generate interest and engagement with their brand. He states that, 'as a digital marketer, I can help with the how and the what, but I can’t help with the why’ - explaining that without the why, different tools, features and best practices can't hit the right touch-points to maximise the success of a long-term campaign. 


With music its most powerful once released, it’s time to go above and beyond a basic short-lived marketing strategy and plan to develop ongoing relationships with new customer segments; by age or territory. Developing a creative marketing campaign to explore how to share music with different audiences and push it into more diverse areas will achieve long-term success for releases. So next time, why not push out some acoustic versions of your track, put together some new marketing materials and fork out some extra cash for some paid advertising campaigns in a new territory?


Digital Dissect dives into some exclusive strategic decisions behind some internationally successful artist campaigns, revealing the internal workings of Spotify and how to harness the popularity algorithm. So give it a listen here: https://linktr.ee/digitaldissect