You may have seen the above iceberg photo defining success floating in your newsfeed. It’s the brainchild of IKONICK co-founders Mark Mastrandrea, Jeff Cole and their company IKONICK, a canvas company targeting millennials with partners such as Scooter Braun and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Mark brilliantly sums up the funnel to creating customers – it consists of three unique stages I put into an acronym CTC:

  1. Content
  2. Traffic
  3. Conversion

All three of these phases typically have different optimization strategies.

In the music business, there is a growing shift from focusing on #2/traffic to #1/content.

The dissemination of the internet has taught us traffic (over the top promotional strategies) are almost always incapable of blowing up projects, unless they already are showing signs of viability.

As more labels and managements companies re-structure their marketing efforts to focus even more on content creation, it’s important artists recognize content has more more influence in triggering success than promotional opportunities.

Sensational content is shared vivaciously, and for buzzing artists, the content itself is actually the largest driver of traffic. It’s easy to look at a buzzing artist and believe the “insert big promotional program opportunity here” is creating the buzz, but 90% of the time the fans create more of the buzz and the other parties follow suit.

While quality of content is essential, the consistency of delivery, clarity of differentiation, and its relevance to the targeted audience are equally as important. As always, what’s the story? People talk about stories and share headlines more than songs.

If the above three phases vie for limited resources, conversions will likely become increasingly important for major artist businesses – What is your data strategy? How do you increase fan engagement through new protocols to ensure successful product launches/brand deals and increase ticket sales?

For developing artists, I cannot harp enough on the importance of focusing on long-term content strategy over promotional strategy.

DSP’s (Spotify, Apple, Amazon, etc.) are always the first to tell us this: Act like we’re not here and do what you do.

Just like fans, they want and need to see movement in order to support (and continue to!).

The movement they are looking for is based on the growth trajectory of the content and audience.

While getting some traffic is imperative to garner a semblance of a following in the first place, content is by far and away the primary growth driver of today’s rising artists.

The artists and teams who spend more time creating and uniquely positioning their music / brand as opposed to focusing that energy on securing promotion will be victorious in the 20’s, which are less than a year away!

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