Instagram has expanded its features to help musicians monetize the platform, with Twitter turning its attention to a new audio clips feature. Meanwhile, Spotify’s pop-up alert ad “Marquee” is showing early signs of promise. Here’s the lowdown on the most important industry news stories from the past month that you should be aware of.
Instagram Shopping Expands, Providing New Opportunities For Indie Artists To Sell Merch
Instagram has released a new set of guidelines that will allow small businesses, including musicians, to apply to sell products directly on the platform. The new feature is set to go live on 9 July in all markets where Instagram Shopping is supported. You can read the updated eligibility requirements here.
Why This Matters
In recent years social media has acted as the shop window for artists/musicians, with Facebook and Instagram effectively becoming their main website. Being able to sell merch directly on the platform will provide a huge boost for indie artists given how convenient it is for users/fans to interact/purchase.
From 9 July artists/creatives will be able to apply to use the service on the platform and in the event that you are not approved Instagram will provide clear guidance on why, which is incredibly helpful in order to get accepted when reapplying. As a reminder, in order to sell directly on the platform, you must tag products on Instagram from a single website that you own and sell from so that people have a consistent and trusted shopping experience.
Twitter Launches New Feature Allowing Users To Add Audio Clips To Tweets
Twitter rolled out a new feature in June, much to everyone’s surprise, allowing selected iOS users to add 140-second audio clips to tweets. Users will be able to tap the new Wavelengths icon at the bottom right of the tweet composer and record their audio before the tweet pops up with your profile photo on the screen along with a progress bar on the bottom. The audio then appears in tweets with your profile image in the center of the playback.
Why This Matters
While this feature does feel like 5-10 years too late it’s still encouraging to see that Twitter are trying to inject some new life into the platform with this quirky way to express our feelings. For artists/musicians, this could offer a new way to engage with fans through sharing demos and song melody ideas commonly recorded using the voice memos app.
It also offers the chance to show more of your personality by telling compelling and humorous stories, especially for those who are not so comfortable being in front of the camera on apps like TikTok. It will be interesting to see how this feature develops and grows. Expect it to be available to all iOS users in the near future and on Android later this year.
Spotify's "Marquee" Sponsored Recommendations Brings Promising Early Results
Spotify’s first offering of a cost per click ad product to major and independent record labels back in October 2019 marked the launch of their heavily touted two-sided marketplace. Their first ad product ‘Marquee’, a “Brand New Music For You” visual pop-up alert, was met with mixed reception upon launch largely due to its minimum $5,000 buy-in ($0.55 cost-per-click). However, the first half of 2020 has brought some encouraging results, with Spotify alluding to making the ad-tool accessible to all in the future.
Why This Matters
Most indie artists run ads on Facebook and Instagram with the aim of directing potential fans to stream your music on Spotify. Hopefully, they will soon have the chance to allocate/spend a budget to advertise directly on the platform. More importantly, this is rumored to be just the first of several forthcoming Spotify paid advertising products as the company looks to monetize the artist/fan relationship significantly moving forward. Regarding the early results for testing "Marquee", Spotify is reporting a more than 20% click-through rate for the ad service, with over one-fifth of users streaming the promoted release within a two-week timeframe. They were also 2.2 times more likely, on average, to save or playlist a track from it. Another exciting thing to note is the customization features currently being worked on which will allow labels and artists to target ads based on geography as well as three specific audience categories (1. Users who have engaged with the artist on the platform previously but haven’t done so in a while. 2. Users who recently engaged with the artist for the first time. 3. 'Superfans'.).