This experiment is all about music publicity and media placement. It clearly demonstrates that getting featured in the media is a major predictor of success, in multiple aspects of the industry. But our findings were somewhat surprising. The biggest finding was that, after looking at several of these artists, we see that you don’t need to be in a major news outlet to succeed. You need to find the right fit.
Read on to see me nerd out with this analysis.
First: What is earned media placement? What is paid media placement?
These artists “earned” their major features by being successful, by making big journalists want to write about them. You might take a slightly different path. While there are paid “channels” (means of getting your music out there) that these and all bigger indie artists used to actually get into the media, you may find that you’ll get a combination of features you earn because people like you and features you pay for because people like money. It varies by genre, with hip hop being the most pay-to-play and indie rock being the least (because rock is waning and hip hop is always having a resurgence.)
These people most likely started their careers by focusing on paid media until they had name recognition to trade on. This is what we do at Forge. So, to preface this “study”, we’ll be looking at mostly earned media.
Our major finding is that the artist with by far the most shows, as well as the second-most monthly listeners at 2.5 million, Joy Oladokun, had features in the smallest outlets. With consistent publicity actions taken, no matter how little, an artist begins to take over the internet. And taking over the internet is the first step to taking over the music world.
Meanwhile, Joey Dosik had a smaller number of features and the smallest number of fans, but had been in Pitchfork. This also backs up the idea that size of media is not as important in predicting success. It matters more ending up in the perfect paid and earned media placements for you. We’ll explain:
How do artists promote their music successfully?
We ran this experiment simply using Google search results, and were able to uncover their number of shows for the final few months of 2021, number of media placements on the first two pages of Google search results, and amount of monthly listeners, which we measure as fans.
What we found was that anything between 5-10 media placements on Google’s first couple of pages seemed to connect to hundreds of thousands to millions of fans as well as frequent increases in the amount of bookings. This, backed up by Joey Dosik’s big feature and smaller results, and Joy Oladokun’s small feature with big results, points to one thing: Success from placements is determined by where you get your placements. It’s not the size or reach of the outlet that matters quite as much as that they rank on page 1, or the first few pages, of Google. That means paid or earned media placements can help.
There’s also some inconsistency on this list. Erika de Casier, with the second-lowest number of fans, has 15 shows, dwarfing everyone but Oladokun. Mac Ayres had 9 placements, 2 million fans, but zero shows. There’s no accounting for taste, of course. The underlying issues is that no one gets to over 100,000 fans without help in and from the media.
Should I pay for music promotion?
But not just any.
You need to get featured in the media repeatedly to advance your career.
The thread in common with all of these artists is that they had at least five media placements, and they found success one way or another. This success came either through major increases in name recognition, increases in bookings, or huge numbers of monthly listeners.
Wondering how to pay for music promotion and actually get something out of it? Music publicity is a major gamechanger. The placements in our study all preceded the bookings and increases in fans. Music publicity puts your name out there where people want to hear about it. If you get in the right media communities, the people who’ve been waiting for your music all their life will find you.
How to pay for music promotion? Check out our affordable media placement subscription options, or run a full-fledged campaign with guaranteed media placements.
How Much Does Music Promotion Cost?
So Much More Than We Charge!