Influencers are individuals or companies in the industry that are considered tastemakers. They look out for new music and blog/tweet/post/discuss and basically talk about what they think of this music or at least give it some exposure. They are (usually) trusted names in the blogosphere or across social media and people look to them for guidance on what music to listen to. If you get picked up by an influencer, this can obviously do you some favours!
The first influencers were the fanzines of the 1980s such as The Sounds, NME and Melody Maker. Music fans found new music from printed publications such as these. Now, in the digital age, most of this has moved online in the form of blogs and social media. But, contrary to popular belief, being an influencer doesn’t necessarily mean having a large number of followers, it’s to do with having an engaged and relevant audience that interact and appreciate the opinions of influencers.
Accounts on SoundCloud
Accounts that repost songs from new artists are an example of a modern day influencer. There are many accounts that do this but the key is to find the ones that aren’t too spammy. On some accounts, all they do is repost and you can see that even though these accounts may have a large number of followers, there actually isn’t that much engagement with the reposts because people just get bored of seeing them being posted all the time. The accounts worth targeting are the ones who are more selective of what they repost and therefore have a higher engagement rate. Even if they have a lot less followers than other accounts, if the engagement is there then it is a lot more worthwhile to try to contact these accounts and negotiate a repost. This article gives you an in-depth analysis on SoundCloud reposts and their value.
People on Twitter and Facebook
Connect with those who post about the music industry and about new music are another example. Direct message these accounts and see if you can get a dedicated post. Analyse who they talk about and see if you can figure out where they are finding these bands. If you can present yourself in a similar way to what they’re interested in, you’re more likely to get exposure.
Some are dedicated to music are another obvious influencer. Digital Music News posted the Top 20 Most Influential Music Blogs, all of which have a loyal and active following. A lot of blogs are genre specific or have a certain type of audience or feel about them. Most also focus on the particular country in which they are based so check where they are from beforehand… there’s no point approaching a blog in Australia if you’re in the UK (unless they’re posting about artists internationally).
Research into what you think is most relevant to you and target these blogs for exposure. A good way of doing this is to find out who the specific writers are behind the blogs and reach out to them individually via social media or email rather than the general blog accounts. Your message is probably more likely to be read and considered.
When reaching out to anyone in the industry, you need to be ready to take advantage of the opportunity. You could get some A&R attention if you manage to get exposure from an influencer, so if you are not ready to receive that attention then it’s a waste of all that effort and it will take a long time for you to be featured again. By then, the momentum will have passed. Check out the blog I did for Music Gateway on what you must prepare before approaching anyone in the industry.