5 reasons why music labels shouldn’t be too proud on their artist’s Instagram channels. And 3 ways to change that…
Instagram performance has become a central measurement of an artist’s fame and the ability to drive sustainable sales. Especially A&Rs heavily rely on these figures to predict an artist’s success and thus signing them to the label. But how much value can the social media channel really add to your strategy?
by Markus Schwarzer, 09. January 2019
First, labels need to ask themselves what they consider a „success“.
Social media has become increasingly important for the music industry – not only to increase fan engagement and sales figures, but also to measure the general success of a band or an artist. The calculation is simple: the more followers, the more successful.
Follower = Success.
However, the real definition of success remains unclear. Success always means the degree to which a product or service fulfills the goals of a business model. The business model of the music industry is to discover, promote and market musical talents, or to cut it short: to sell music products. This doesn’t necessarily have to be the artist’s focus – but it is definitely the label’s business model! Labels need to earn money so they can continue their job of promoting great new artists and developing the music landscape. Ergo:
Sales = Success.
To bring the equation together it would have to be:
Follower = Sales = Success.
And this is exactly where the problem lies. Many followers don’t necessarily bring much profit to the business model of the music industry. It’s naive to think that you can drive your sales with just a large reach, if you don’t know who you are communicating to.
Great social media performance does not necessary result in big sales.
An example: I recently stumbled across the profile of the musician Jake Henson alias „Mild Man“. 45k+ people follow him on Instagram – a sizable number for a newcomer artist. He’s also married to Colombian YouTuber Grace Villarreal alias HappySunnyFlowers, who brings almost 900k followers on YT and 500k+ followers on IG to the table. Jake’s posts get between 6k and 10k likes. What a range for a newcomer! Awesome. But even though he and his prominent girlfriend advertised his album „Into the Sky“ (released in April 2017) in almost every post, his Spotify stats don’t look too promising. Two songs cracked the 200k Plays mark, one has just shy of 70k, after that nothing is worth mentioning. According to the above mentioned assumption Follower = Sales, every song should have at least clicks equal to the number of impressions, right? After analyzing his content for 30+ minutes I still didn’t know what Mild Man sounds like.
Here are the 5 reasons why your Instagram says nothing about your success as an artist:
1 – Your followers are not your fans.
Instagram is and remains a primary visual platform. The music feature won’t change that either. Those who follow you on Instagram will primary follow you because of your beautiful photos, not necessarily because of your music. Full stop.
2 – There are no direct sales channels:
Sure, swipe up, swipe up, swipe up. Instagram has improved with the „link protectionism“ but everyone is riding that bandwagon right now. The danger of simply getting under the wheels of the algorithm is too great and thus the success of communication is endangered.
3 – There are no measuring mechanisms.
Labels should embrace concept of the sales funnel. In order to use this method, you must always know exactly who is where in the sales process. The data Instagram gives you is not sufficient for that purpose!
4 – Not every follower is your customer. But you treat everyone as the same.
Whether it’s someone quickly flicking through the feed or a hardcore fan awaiting the next release, you can only communicate to them in one and the same way. How can you manage your target groups in your sales funnel if you can’t even segment them? Your new hit single might be more interesting for a new fan when your loyal fans are keen on an unreleased B-side.
5 – You don’t have enough time to present your music.
Do you know how long a person on average stays on a normal IG post (not a story)? 1.5 seconds. Not even enough to reach the first chorus.
These 3 suggestions can help bypassing these negative aspects of Instagram and using social media to generate sustainable sales:
Way 1: If you’re a musician, post your freaking music, easy as that
a. Research shows that the more often someone is confronted with a certain thing, the more they tend to like it. It’s back from when we lived in the Savannah. An animal that you’ve seen before is not likely to have killed you on your last encounter, right? It worked on me and Justin Bieber’s „What do you mean“. First I couldn’t escape it – now I like it. But I don’t see many bands posting what they’re working on so hard to show their followers their music.
b. Let me ask you this: How can a potential new fan who comes across your IG profile via hashtags learn about your music? If they follow you, they’ll only do it because of your beautiful photos. Show them your music! Believe me, they will be looking for it!
c. Another positive effect: People who only like your photos but don’t like your music don’t follow you in the first place. They won’t let you fall into the „Follower = Sales“ trap. That’s good. You don’t need them.
Way 2: Create private channels and invite only certain fans
Hardcore fans are easy to recognize. They usually seek your attention. For example, they are the ones who are still at your merch stand at the end of your gig, waiting for you to come out of the backstage. After each tour you have 100 new ones. Give them a „ticket“ to your closed, super exclusive IG account at the merch stand. Tell them to take a picture of this ticket, put it on instagram and tag it with the tags @*insert_bandname*CLOSED and #*insert_bandname*closed. Now you can allow them as followers on your band’s secret IG-Profile. They will be the first to hear about new tours, pre-listen to new songs drafts and give you feedback, design their own merch and everything else. The same works on Whatsapp, Snapchat and so on.
Way 3: Groovecat
Groovecat is a new social media platform that combines the visual side of Instagram with the auditory side of Spotify. It’s specifically designed to overcome the presented shortcomings of IG as a music sales channel.
Groovecat combines engagement with sales, because every view of a post („Music Moment“) on Groovecat also counts as a stream on Spotify. All automatically – no links, no swipe up, no clicks. Views = Streams = Sales.
Users can save the songs in their personal playlists with one click, exactly where you want to be. They’re more exposed to your song, getting used to your sound, become fans and subsequently only follow you because they like your music. Streams = Fans = Recurring Sales.
Groovecat’s statistics will help you see exactly who has noticed your music, where it is in the sales funnel, which song locations are particularly popular with your fans, where your fans listen to your music and how they feel about it.
For example, statistics show that Groovecat users spend an average of 18 seconds on a post – 12 times more than IG. They save an avg. of 2 new songs to their playlists every day. You have much more time to place your music and get people excited about your music in the long run.
Social media isn’t the only topic that artists and labels will have to adress in the future. My publication „Business Model Innovation in the Recording Industry“ will appear as part of the Jahrbuch für Musikwirtschafts- und Musikkulturforschung 2019 later this year. Follow me on LinkedIn to stay tuned.
We sat down the day after our Christmas party and tried to review the year a little bit. Of course, we forgot a thousand things, but without every single one of you we would never be where we are today and send the biggest thank you for all the crazy support.
We wish you a happy holiday season, good rest and are already looking forward to next year together.
P.S. Sorry to the English speakers, the video is in German…
2 weeks New York, 253,773 steps, 680 stickers, 478 flyers, 45 Music Moments, 38 bagels with cream cheese, 19 lectures, 9 meetings, 8 records, 1 Starbucks coffee (it was an emergency!).
The week started off with a classic get-together in an Irish pub dishing up dirty food from Chicken Wings to Cheese Sticks – welcome to America. There we mingled with the other participants of the program over a beer or two.
Meeting up at GACC’s office on the 24th floor with a view over Wall Street was the kickoff for what would be a 5 days marathon full of inputs in form of lectures, workshops on taxes and incorporations in the U.S., marketing, growth hacking and hundreds of other new ideas and impressions. Among
Visiting the NY Tech Meet Up, the oldest Meet Up in NY, was another highlight, where we’ve listened to eight pitches exclusively by female entrepreneurs. What we liked most about it was the rule „no business model questions being asked“. The whole pitch event and Q&A really focused on the products, ideas and visions – something we miss a little here in rational-driven Germany. Our favorite project was Shimmy, who are upskilling women from Bangladesh to prepare them for automation in the fashion industry.
Great lunch place: Cafe Mogador in Williamsburg
We stepped up the Groovecat game another notch by welcoming Roman to our team. His job title reads ‚Data Scientist‘ but inofficially he may be called our mastermind when it comes to working with neural networks and artificial intelligence. His eyes lighten up when he thinks about all the Groovecat data sets that are waiting for him to be analyzed and processed into an intelligent music recommendation system. When he’s not with us in the office listening to white noise, he’s probably busy with his record label or out for a run in Neukölln in lightning speed (be warned!). We’re happy to have you!
What a time to be alive. Or work at Groovecat.
Press Release: Groovecat is announced as title holder of the award „Kultur- und Kreativpiloten Germany 2018“
Groovecat is announced as title holder of the award „Kultur- und Kreativpiloten 2018“
Out of a total of 759 applicants, 32 companies from the cultural and creative industries were standing out for their innovative ideas and as inspiring entrepreneurs. On 12 Monday 2018, the ninth year of Kultur- und Kreativpiloten 2018 was announced at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy in Berlin. It convinces with strong women, interdisciplinary teams and topics ranging from sustainability to New Work and Big Data.
Mannheim, 20 November 2018 – This year’s title winners also include the Mannheim start-up Groovecat, which was founded in 2016 by Markus Schwarzer, Jakob Höflich and Joshua Weikert. Groovecat is an app for Music Moments and enables a new kind of audiovisual storytelling. How does it work? Each video recorded in the app is automatically accompanied by the song the user is listening to over a streaming service. Over time, a personal musical photo album is created that can be shared with friends in messaging services. With this personal soundtrack of life, no important moment is getting lost.
„The cultural and creative industry is developing innovative solutions for future challenges. Be it in the field of digital change, the energy industry or mobility. Creative entrepreneurs set important impulses that have an impact far beyond their own industry,“ emphasizes Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister of Economics and Energy: „We need these creative ideas for the competitiveness of the German economy. The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media are joint initiators of the award to promote cultural and creative entrepreneurs.
„The fact that from today we can call ourselves „Kultur- und Kreativpiloten“ with 32 other creative entrepreneurs means a lot for the progress of our company. It shows not only that we are on the right track and with Groovecat have identified a relevant topic, but also that entrepreneurial spirit in the music and creative industry is appropriately rewarded and promoted,“ says Markus Schwarzer, CEO of Groovecat. „We are particularly pleased to make Groovecat known to a wider audience through the expertise of our mentors and the cooperation with the other pilots, thus enabling more and more people to capture the soundtrack of their lives.
Information on this year’s title holders: https://kultur-kreativpiloten.de/titeltraeger
Pictures from the announcement event: https://kultur-kreativpiloten.de/presse
The award is presented by the u-institut für unternehmerisches Denken und Handeln e.V. (Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking and Action). It is sponsored by the Initiative Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft of the Federal Government, a project of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Every year, the award honors people who show courage, commitment and always ask themselves: What can I improve even more? The programme is aimed at companies, the self-employed, start-ups and projects from the cultural and creative industry and their interfaces with other sectors. A jury of experts from business, culture and politics selects the winners.
The selected cultural and creative pilots take part in a one-year mentoring programme with workshops, coaching and peer learning within the network.
Groovecat was founded in 2016 by Jakob Höflich, Markus Schwarzer and Joshua Weikert at the Popakademie Baden Württemberg. The founding team has been on stage at the world’s largest music conference, the South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin and the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, and has been through the Music WorX Accelerator in Hamburg. The app launch in August was accompanied by bigFM, one of the biggest private radio stations in Germany. Groovecat is financed by Beteiligungsfonds Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH and Business Angel Dr. Andrea Kranzer and also supported by Mannheim institutions such as Popakademie Baden-Württemberg, Startup Mannheim and the Creative Commission.
The idea for Groovecat came to the three founders during their master’s studies because as music lovers they always linked certain life situations with music. But especially on their travels – at that time still equipped with a digital camera and iPod – there was no way to capture these moments. Because Markus‘ business studies, Jakob’s communications and Joshua’s IT backgrounds complemented each other perfectly, the foundation for the startup was laid.
Press and picture material can be found under this link.
Head Office Mannheim
Badenweiler Straße 4
Axel Springer Mediahouse GmbH
c/o The Venue Berlin
Our take on social media, soundtracks and Whitney Houston
Our friends from The Venue Berlin invited us to share Groovecat’s vision on their podcast „Hello, Audio“. So we explained why Groovecat is missing in today’s app landscape and what the individual soundtrack of your life has to do with it. We’re happy to be part of this format that already gave a stage to inspiring companies like Melodrive and Soundbrenner.
In times of fast content and click baiting, we find it important to create a space for high quality and meaningful content. As The Venue Berlin framed it perfectly: „We all have a soundtrack to our memories. Happy time, sad time, coming of age, falling in love, traveling abroad.“ Primarily, Groovecat is a tool for individuals to appreciate these Music Moments and to make them last. On top of that, we’re growing a community of music lovers. Now we’re all about engaging even more with our users and enabling more social interaction.
Click here and listen to the whole episode to see what we’re up to!
Thanks for having us and till next time.
Carina joined our team in Berlin
Carina has been supporting us in marketing and communication since the beginning of September. After her studies in Corporate Communications in Vienna, Carina has roped down to Australia, got to know the culture and the people, and of course travelled a lot besides work. Because travel and music are so close, she instantly felt Groovecat when hearing about it for the first time and we are so happy that she moved all the way from southern Germany to help Groovecat travel the world. Her most memorable Music Moment? Maybe we’ll share that another time…
Thanks for your support and now back to work.
1,500 active users on music app Groovecat one month after official launch and first exciting partners
Mannheim/Berlin, 04.09.2018 – Groovecat, the new app for Music Moments, has been officially released in the App Stores on 06 August. 1,500 users have already captured 1,750 Music Moments with Groovecat, creating their own musical photo albums. The social network, which combines elements from social media and music streaming in a new way, is used by SONY Music for their own playlist. In order to be able to offer users an even better in-app experience soon, Groovecat recently joined forces with the audio communication department of the TU Berlin for data analysis.
With the new Groovecat app, you can capture your own Musical Moments – that feeling when the music is perfectly suited to your mood and surroundings. Each video recorded in the app is automatically underlaid with the song that a user is listening to via his streaming service. The result is audiovisual Music Moments that users can capture for themselves as the „soundtrack of their lives“ and share with their friends on the platform. With just one click, a song from a Music Moment can be saved in a Spotify playlist. Groovecat not only stands for a new combination of music streaming and social media but also for discovering music through authentic and emotional moments.
The app launch was accompanied by the southwest German radio station bigFM and its 2.4 million daily listeners. Of the 1,500 registered users, 100 now go to Groovecat every day and have already posted a total of 1,750 Music Moments on the platform. SONY Music is also on board to give the in-house playlist Filtr Germany a face and to win new listeners via the technical integration of Spotify: because each clicked Music Moment in Groovecat automatically generates plays on Spotify. Samira Leitmannstetter, Director Artist & Editorial Brands Development SONY Music, comments: „We see many application possibilities for SONY Music on Groovecat, welcome the new combination of social media and music streaming and are looking forward to experimenting with a whole new form of musical storytelling“.
The unique data set will help Groovecat in the future to create emotional profiles of individual pieces of music, which users can use to suggest the right music for every situation and mood within seconds. Groovecats data can also be used in the future to select music for audiovisual content in feature films, TV or commercials. Groovecat will soon be supported in structuring and evaluating the new combination of data points by the Audio Communication Department of the TU Berlin. The TU Berlin hopes to gain new insights into the influence of the listening situation on the emotional impact of music. Groovecat is delighted to be working with one of the most renowned music research institutions in Europe.
Markus Schwarzer, CEO of Groovecat, about the next steps: „Primarily, we are currently working on further expanding our organic, loyal user base and implementing the next features together with it. The focus is on features that contribute to Groovecat’s natural growth, such as sharing moments on direct messaging platforms like Telegram“.
Background to Groovecat
Groovecat was founded in 2016 by Jakob Höflich, Markus Schwarzer and Joshua Weikert at the Popakademie Baden Württemberg, from which stars such as Alice Merton, Joris and the socks startup von Jungfeld emerged. The founding team has already been on stage at the largest music fair in the world, the South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin and the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, and has also been through the Music WorX Accelerator in Hamburg. For the App-Launch it was supported by bigFM, one of the biggest private radio stations in Germany. In December, the stepUSA programme will take the team to New York.
Groovecat is financed by the investment fund Wirtschaftsförderung Mannheim GmbH, which supports technology-oriented and creative startups with venture capital, and the business angel Dr. Andrea Kranzer. In addition Groovecat is supported by the Mannheim start-up promotion Startup Mannheim.
The idea for Groovecat came to the three founders during their master’s studies because as music lovers they always linked special life situations with music. But especially on their travels – at that time still equipped with a digital camera and iPod – there was no way to capture these moments.
Press and picture material can be found under this link.
Head Office Mannheim Office Berlin
elceedee UG (haftungsbeschränkt) Axel Springer Mediahouse GmbH
Badenweiler Straße 4 c/o The Venue Berlin
68239 Mannheim Groovecat
With Aperol Spritz to the App Release
Last Thursday we invited friends, partners, supporters and new faces into our Berlin office to toast to our app release. The Venue Berlin threw a round of pizza and beer, we joined in with a few aperitifs. In addition, Füffi and Tom Thaler spontaneously played a few of their new tracks. There was even a music quiz and we think: that was pretty good! If you missed the event, just join the Groovecat app and you will always get all invitations first.
To the music
Official App Launch
It’s been a long journey and even though it’s not fully grown, it’s time to set the Groovecat free. We hope you will love it as much as we do and we are so excited to see which corners of the world Groovecat will travel to!
We’re proud to say: download it, capture your Music Moments, share this message and tell your friends so Groovecat can flourish and survive in the wild 🙏🏻.
We are so grateful for everyone who has supported us so far. A very special thanks to MFG Kreativ, Popakademie Baden-Württemberg, Startup Mannheim, Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft, The Venue Berlin and bigFM for the incredible support, without which we wouldn’t be here today.
THANK YOU, WE LOVE YOU ♥
Your proud cat moms: Josh, Jakob and Markus