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Ditte RavnildJun 4, 20214 min read

Top music marketing takeaways from Sandbox Summit 2020

Between the insightful presentations, interviews, and mini-panels featuring some of the sharpest masterminds in the music industry, Sandbox Summit 2020 was packed to the gills with knowledge.

Presented by our friends at Music Ally, the free online conference explored the impacts of COVID-19, the future of streaming, the evolution of platforms, and tons of expert marketing advice.

If you missed it, don’t worry—we took plenty of notes while soaking it all in! Here are our favorite takeaways from the sessions.


How COVID-19 has impacted music marketing

Musicians are more open to posting about the things they’re passionate about. “COVID has helped remove some of the fear around this, and increased the desire to connect to people when you’re stuck at home.” – Nikoo Sadr (Director, Artist & Label Services, Nordics, The Orchard)

Live streaming is booming, but there’s a lot to figure out. “We’re not really seeing any evidence yet of artists using live streaming to grow their audience base, but it will probably come as people learn to use these platforms more effectively.” – Chaz Jenkins (Chief Commercial Officer, Chartmetric)

Artists are becoming more intentional about building their brand. “The long-term effect of the pandemic in this digital space is a shift that we’ve already started to see with younger generations: leaning more towards authenticity, and artists being more creative in terms of sharing their brand and niche marketing.” – Margaret Jacobi Lee (Director of Marketing, AMFM Management)


Platforms and trends worth watching

Keep an eye on Twitch, Triller, and Audiomack over the next year. We’re also likely to see a rise in “locally focused platforms that give a more curated experience.” – Music Ally team

What works as a 15-second sound is becoming more important than what works for radio. “We’re now seeing artists creating 15-second demos, because a lot of the bigger songs in the market are getting discovered by the 15-second sound on TikTok. People are definitely changing their styles of making music… based on what’s working on platforms.” – Gaurav Wadhwa (CEO at Big Bang Music)

No matter what new opportunities arise, always prioritize the data you own. “You’re renting audiences on Twitch. You’re renting audiences on Facebook and Instagram. You don’t own those audiences. Give them a reason to follow you somewhere (like your website or email list) and that doesn’t mean being overly pushy about it. Don’t be shameless—be smart!” – Aaron Bogucki (Vice President of Marketing, AWAL)


Music marketing tips from the pros

Before you create, consume. “Before you create a campaign around a new platform, get in there. Try everything. Familiarize yourself with the platform.…. Get to know its kinks, get to know its risks before trying to exploit it.” – Sarah Ismail (Regional Marketing Director, Greater China & Southeast Asia, Warner Music Group)

Analytics are your best friend. “Use the data to track your social media audience growth, see how many followers you’re gaining over a period of time, and more importantly, where those followers are coming from.” Analytics also help you analyze engagement, spot trends, and identify your top-performing content. Keep testing and keep learning from your data. – Negla Abdela (Head of Digital Marketing, Ministry of Sound)

Know when to quit and move on. “One of the most destructive ways that we let our emotions override logic is the sunk cost fallacy. Never be afraid to change your mind, or admit that a campaign is not working—because it happens, and it happens a lot of times. Scrap it, reset, restart.” – Sarah Ismail (Regional Marketing Director, Greater China & Southeast Asia, Warner Music Group)

Develop a post-release strategy.  “There’s a lot of value in the post-release stage to connect fans to your products, but this is the phase that gets the least amount of love.” The average lifetime of a Linkfire smart link is 2.5 years, and 25% of visitors are from links older than 30 days. Strengthen your long-tail strategy with a social media bio link that brings all of your most important content together in one place. – Lars Ettrup (CEO & Co-founder, Linkfire)

Get your own bio link

Promote everything you have going on—from releases and gigs, to social pages and merch.

Building a music career in 2020

Take a break. “Try to use some time to rest and recharge, because the more energized you are, the better you’re going to be at campaign planning. Get out of the house, get off of the laptop. If you leave your surroundings, you can find a lot of inspiration outside music… and be playful. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the day-to-day work of it, we forget the fun in being playful.” – Negla Abdela (Head of Digital Marketing, Ministry of Sound)

Make sure you’re in the driver’s seat. “If you don’t get in there and learn, and figure out for yourself and understand what this game is really made of, you can get easily chewed up and just tossed to the side. We can’t let our careers and our lives be in somebody else’s hands.” – K Camp (multiplatinum artist and entrepreneur)

Be flexible (especially during a pandemic). “Use the data and the information available to you to adapt your strategy as needed, and be ready to pivot. Even when things are going well, I always have a Plan B.” – Negla Abdela (Head of Digital Marketing, Ministry of Sound)


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Ditte Ravnild

Sr. Brand Manager