1. The Internet of Things (IoT)
One of the most interesting emerging trends in social media (IMO) is what’s being termed as ‘The Internet of Things’, referring to the connection between physical products and the Internet.
My first (memorable) experience with IoT was at a festival two years ago, where on entry I was given a wristband that was authenticated with my Facebook account. If I scanned my wristband on various ‘pillars’ at the festival, it would automatically post which artist I was listening to at the event on my timeline.
No, it wasn’t a Disney festival. I just couldn’t find a better picture!
While a little intrusive for my liking, this was very forward thinking for an event held in 2011. Since then, we’ve built cars that are connected to the web, televisions, watches, games consoles, and according to some it won’t be long until our household appliances are connected to the web to optimise electricity usage, and automatically send us texts when the laundry is done!
There’s obviously a huge opportunity here for artists to reach new fans by appearing in the news feeds of real world fans via the Facebook-connected wristband concept (we’re just waiting on a service that makes this affordable). Likewise, there’s no end to the scope of opportunities for web-based music to be integrated into all kinds of products.
2. Multi-channel engagement
We increasingly expect to get all of the information we want wherever we are, whenever we want it, and on whatever device we like. The music industry is ahead of the curve on this one when compared with the traditionally brick and mortar industries.
Five years ago you could only buy food from a grocery store between certain hours. Many shops would only take cash.
Now you can order groceries only at 3am from an iPad if you wish.
The music industry is fine from the perspective of whenever and wherever, but it’s the ‘on whatever’ that we’ll likely see becoming a bigger focus for artists. Catering to different devices will become increasingly important.
3. Increasing mobile adoption
According to recent reports, over $429 million was made from mobile apps last year, and music based mobile apps were the second fastest-growing app category in the app store, largely thanks to how relatively easy it Is for artists to build mobile apps with self-service tools like Mobile Roadie.
There’s no doubt that mobile will become increasingly important to musicians over the next year. While having a dedicated app may be overkill for most artists, email marketing (with mobile in mind) will likely become more important, as well as ensuring that band websites are responsive and well-suited for mobile browsing.
What’s also particularly interesting and promising is that according to the MIDEM & Informa Telecoms & Media report, global mobile music revenues are on the rise, with the largest increases in revenue being attributed to full track downloads (from mobile) and music streaming.
4. Visual social media
Over the past few years, link and video-based social networks have been the weapon of choice for most artists, which makes sense given that artists typically want to sharesound.
But visual (image-based) social networking is on the rise with platforms like Path, Instagram, and Pinterest gaining popularity. Even Facebook announced last night that they’re changing the newsfeed to a more visual-focused (and music focused) style.
While I don’t think any of us expect to see a artists flocking over to Pinterest any time soon, I think there will be something to be said for artists who heavily share images of their ‘behind the scenes’ work with fans on these visual networks.