5 New Ways Artists Have Used Social Media To Promote Their Work

IIt isn’t news that social media and the internet as a whole play a quintessential role for musicians in terms of promoting themselves and selling their art. And, as the internet and its tools change, artists must continually adapt to the various new technologies available to them.

Here are five examples of how artists have used innovative ways to market themselves:

Ellie Goulding: Cover songs

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding. Image credit: frederics on Flickr

A lot of bands venture in the cover-song realm. Generally, these are relatively lesser known artists covering bigger names; as an example, here is a great ukulele cover of Radiohead’s Creep by Amanda Palmer we caught at MIDEM 2010. Ellie Goulding has greatly risen in popularity in the past year. One of the contributing factors to her success was the music she created and shared online in addition to her two albums. Ellie Goulding released a great cover of song from arguably less popular The Weeknd on her Soundcloud for free. Moreover, she equally covered Elton John, Rihanna, and Jose Gonzales’ cover of a The Knife song; all of which demonstrates the songstress’ versatility and talent. Here is her cover of the Weeknd’s High For This.

The xx: New album leak

In September of 2012, English indie pop band The xx shared a link to the stream of their unreleased album Coexist with a single fan in the hopes that this fan would share it with other fans online resulting in a virtual word-of-mouth sharing of their second album. As an added element, the band created an interactive page which showed how the stream was shared successfully around the world.

Shout Out Louds: DIY Ice Vinyl

Shout Out Louds

Shout Out Louds’ Ice Record

With the drop in CD sales and the rise of digital downloads, vinyls have made a remarkable comeback in recent years, with artists offering digital downloads of their new albums alongside of a more aesthetically pleasing vinyl. In 2012 Swedish indie pop group Shout Out Louds sent out a very limited edition record which consisted of a song from their forthcoming album. The record itself consisted of a DIY kit which required you to make the record by freezing a liquid into a mold before putting it on your record player. Although not exactly a social media technique by itself, the instructional video for making the ice record (followed by it actually being played) was posted on YouTube and yielded over 350,000 views, making it one of their most popular YouTube videos.

Garcia Goodbye: Launching a single with balloons

Much like Shout Out Louds, Belgian pop rock group Garcia Goodbye released their single of their forthcoming album in an original way: by attaching USB flash drives including their single to balloons and sending them off in the air. Here is their post on Dotted Music about the project. The originality of their concept was picked up Coldplay, who posted the balloon launch on their website.

Amanda Palmer: Kickstarter campaign and more

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer

Although not the most popular performer out there, Amanda is certainly one of the most hardworking. Last year, Amanda Palmer launched a Kickstarter campaign for her new album, which resulted in the singer raising over $1M from only around 25,000 backers. Controversies aside, Palmer proved that with a loyal fanbase, anything is possible. Of course, her devoted fans were partly the result of virtual hard work: Amanda Palmer’s Twitter account is garnished with nearly 850,000 followers, with whom she regularly interacts. Palmer recently was invited to give a prestigious TED Talk, where she discusses the importance of creating human contact with her fans (and human beings in general) as well as the art of asking sincerely for help.

Do you know other cool recent examples of musicians using social media in unusual, creative ways? Share them in the comments!