Why has it become essential for musicians to become content creators if they want to continuously grow, develop, and monetize a die-hard fanbase? Because leveraging short-form platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and soon Spotify, has made it easier, cheaper, and more effective than ever before for music content creators to achieve this exact outcome – find fans, develop them, and monetize the growth with music streams, brand sponsors, record deals and more. So, how can artists and their teams implement growth and monetization strategies and workflows to achieve these outcomes consistently and predictably on short-form media platforms?
This blog post will explore how these platforms can be used strategically by music content creators to access wider audiences, engage new fans, convert them into die-hard fans and lastly convert these views into opportunities and revenue for the artist. Dive in now to find out more about how you can optimize your presence (and visibility!) on short-form media platforms TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts today!
1. Overview of TikTok and Reels Platforms
TikTok and Instagram Reels are two of the most popular social media platforms among music content creators today. TikTok is an online platform and mobile app that enables users to watch, create, and share short-form videos. TikTok and Instagram Reels are both powerful tools for music content creators to reach wider audiences, generate awareness of their work, foster fan engagement activities and ultimately achieve success. By utilizing these platforms strategically and following best practices outlined above, music content creators can expand their visibility by creating unique and engaging content that will capture the attention of current and prospective fans.
TikTok and Reels at a core function differently from Instagram. Instagram is a curated platform (for the most part) – you see content from people or brands you follow. Instagram Reels and TikTok function very differently. They pitch your content to viewers who don’t know you – 100% cold fans systematically if you upload high-quality and consistent content. This is what musicians and their teams hire our team of music content creator coaches, editors, and consultants to achieve.
2. How Uploading Consistently to TikTok and Reels Finds New Fans and Develops Them Into Die-hard Fans?
Let’s imagine the fan development journey from stranger to die-hard fan. It starts off with the fan becoming aware of an artist via a music video, an artist’s song on a Spotify Playlist, hearing a track on the radio or in this case – seeing a video of your artist on TikTok or Reels (which we now know is a COLD PITCHING platform so it’s literally designed to put your content in front of strangers as a core functionality). A stranger is now aware of your music project.
By posting consistent high-quality content, you’re 1) guaranteeing new people become aware of your artist project every day and even while you sleep and 2) it increases the likelihood for your content to go viral on TikTok and Reels. Think of this as planting seeds that constantly grow into fan awareness.
Now the next part of TikTok and Reels is where the fan development part happens. If you’re a TikTok or Reels user, you’ll know exactly what’s happening once I explain it out of pure experience of this happening to you!
Let’s say you get 10,000 views on your top post and assume 20% of people engaged with that content through a like, comment, or watching it mostly through. That 20% of people told TikTok and Reels that they want to see more of your content whether they know it or not because the algorithm decided that if they liked the initial awareness-content, there is a high chance they’ll engage with your other content. And when they do, that is exactly when the fan development occurs. From here, the fan sees content from the music content creator daily as they continue to upload daily. New posts go viral so the content cross-pollination is constantly funneling new fans into the creator’s other content to be developed automatically. The new fan now aware and engaged with the artist goes to follow the musician on Instagram, YouTube, or signs up for their mailing list to continue engaging with the artist in other ways while getting daily content from their artist sent to them every day via TikTok and Reels. BONUS: each viral post is validated by the algorithm to Boost (TikTok paid views) and continue converting for the artist just like a successful Facebook Ad but without the need to test because the platform already did for you!
All of this awareness, engagement, and fan development resulting from consistent high-quality uploads is setting up their teams to convert these fans into merch sales, brand sponsors, record deals, mailing list growth, event sales, and more.
This is the exact journey a stranger goes to becoming a die-hard fan starting and ending with TikTok and Reels as well as why it’s worth musicians, labels, managers, and their teams to invest in coaching and services that help artists create the best content possible as consistently as possible. Setting up an artist to consistently create content that engages new fans and develops them into die-hard fans while their teams convert these views into merch sales, record deals, mailing list growth, event sales, and more.
It’s easier said than done which is exactly why our team mastered short-form content for music creators.
3. Common Challenges Facing Music Content Creators, Managers, and Record Labels (and solutions)
The best way to describe common creator challenges facing musicians is easily broken down into the deliverables that drive algorithmic ad-free exposure and marketing.
Content Strategy: what high-quality content do we create that not only garners views, but promotes the artist and their music? And how do we strategize 7 per week consistently?
Solution: Teach artists how to 1) efficiently conduct content research and 2) identify and capture content opportunities in their musician lives so they can drive their own content strategy with minimal time commitment each week. All people and creators are unique which means their content strategies are too.
Consistency: long-term sustainable growth and success promoting a music brand comes along with months of consistently uploading high-quality content. Whether you’re self-motivating yourself as an artist or you’re a manager/label trying to motivate your artist to create content – this is crucial to long-term success as an artist leveraging these platforms. Making time as an independent or signed music artist is near impossible, let alone creating daily uploads for TikTok and Reels to maximize their chances for success and growth on these platforms. This is a major roadblock stopping full-time AND part-time musicians.
Solution: Batch workloads and create a “content day” each week and stick to it. Also practice makes perfect. Just like singing and songwriting, you need to practice creating content before you can spend less than a few hours each week producing it but once you do, it’ll be the strongest marketing tool in your arsenal as a music creator. Stay critical and analyze your workflow to see what you spend the most time working and get efficient at that skill ASAP.
Music Quality: This may seem obvious, but the best content strategy and the most consistent uploads will not save a poorly produced, incomplete, non-mixed or mastered project.
Solution: Practice and get feedback! Share your music with strangers online using Reddit or Facebook groups for rising artists. If you’re posting consistently, seeing views and followers come in, but these views and followers aren’t converting to your music, take that as constructive feedback and keep hustling for your next hit!
Pro-tip: Think about the alternative ways to reach millions of fans, network with collaborators, find your first or next label or management deal. Combining paid marketing strategies with organic significantly reduces the financial burden of promoting and developing a fanbase for a music project.
TikTok and Reels rewards high-quality consistent uploads and a HUGE part of quality goes along with talent. It’s a harsh truth but should motivate any creative to keep honing in their craft!
4. Best Practices for Engaging and Developing Fans with TikTok & Reels
First and foremost – understand your brand. We can’t emphasize this enough. Not only knowing who you are, your visuals, aesthetic, and personality as an artist and how to translate that to short-form content just like you do to your music production, music videos, and IG stories/posts will SIGNIFICANTLY lengthen your timeline to seeing commercial success leveraging TikTok and Reels as a music creator.
Next, educating the content creator on how to identify and capture content opportunities is also crucial to the long-term success of a music content creator. Strategizing and planning 5-7 content ideas per week can be time consuming and challenging as an outside party such as a manager, social media manager, or record label marketing executive. This is why it’s crucial to train yourself as a content creator to identify content opportunities – it leads to an unlimited source of content ideas and inspiration to feed your content strategy endlessly. It’s the classic tale of teaching a creator how to fish instead of giving them a fish. Hiring a consultant to give them ideas will only last so long. Your best chances of artist success are derived from enabling them as creators to identify and capture their content opportunities. The chance to out-source the process is far more effective elsewhere such as editing and uploading content rather than strategizing.
Don’t be scared to re-upload content. We’ve re-uploaded content on multiple occasions demonstrating that sometimes the second or third upload is the upload to go viral and gain algorithmic traction. This also helps with achieving 7 uploads per week. We only advise re-uploading until your fans start to call it out in the comments and typically no more than 2 re-uploads per week will avoid this issue and save you countless hours creating content each month as a musician.
Next, we often advise our label and artist clients to batch their content creation workload. As we discussed, consistently uploading daily content over a period of months is extremely challenging so making a weekly content creation ideation & shoot day-of-the-week is how all of our clients operate and manage creating 5-7 unique uploads on TikTok and Reels per week.
5. Examples of Successful Music Content Creator Campaigns on TikTok & Reels
Charlie Puth saw success on TikTok and Reels with his single “Light Switch” where TikTok users posted a variety of content to his song which in turn created organic reach and engagement on TikTok. For “Light Switch” he created a super unique breakdown of his song using sounds around his studio including his actual light switch in his studio to produce and write a hit song right before TikTok’s eyes. Charlie led that content strategy and flawlessly identified and captured that content opportunity which enamored new and existing fans with his likability, talent, and authenticity demonstrated all at once which, once combined with his already strong credibility, made for a billboard charting hit record instantly. But this one upload didn’t guarantee the commercial success of “Light Switch.” He consistently followed up with comment-response uploads engaging with fan comments, reacting to covers and dances to the song, and had consistent uploads that acted as an unstoppable fan-development force in his content funnel. The original “Light Switch” breakdown got millions of new fans hooked and his follow up content on TikTok, music videos, IG stories and posts, all effectively developed those strangers into die-hard fans.
JVKE achieved TikTok success by using the platform to show a behind-the-scenes look at his journey in music. Starting with his hit viral single “golden hour,” JVKE saw massive commercial success showing the reaction of his childhood piano teacher what he wrote and showing her mind-blown expression went VIRAL. Not only was the song masterfully produced, had irresistible and unforgettable songwriting, but the TikTok video showing his piano teacher’s reaction was truly the icing on the cake. TikTok & Reels viewers were able to “go on tour” with JVKE and follow his story as he was writing, recording, performing and living life in LA. This helped build an audience that felt like it was part of JVKE’s journey as an artist which in turn created a more engaged and larger TikTok & Reels following. The authentic nature of the interaction and demonstrating JVKE’s personality, brand, and music all at once made for a true viral moment the industry will never forget. Now it’s up to him and his team to keep the momentum going!
Closing Thoughts – How to Make the Most Out of TikTok & Reel’s Potential as a Music Content Creator Platform
In conclusion, TikTok & Reels have been game-changers for music content creators. Content creation is essential to succeeding on TikTok and Reels, but with the right knowledge and strategy, it can be easy and fun. Music content creators should focus on understanding TikTok & Reels algorithms, identifying content opportunities regularly, batching their content creation workload, and leveraging TikTok & Reels challenges with each new single release. TikTok & Reels offer a huge potential to music content creators to grow their fan base and reach new audiences.