Brief History of Digital Marketing in the Music Industry
As music itself has transitioned from physical to digital, digital marketing channels from email to social media and music blogs to search engines have become the predominant means for promoting artists and their music — and data analytics has become the yardstick for success.
Digital marketing, as we think of it today, is really a development of the last three decades. Both email and search engine technology laid the foundation for the field in the early ‘90s, with HotWired pioneering clickable banner ads in 1994.
That same year, Yahoo was born, and four years after that, Google, with cookie technology rising alongside them and giving birth to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
After the Dot-Com bubble popped in 2000, Web 2.0 spawned the Social Media Marketing (SMM) universe, email marketing at scale, and content marketing through blogs and vlogs. As the digital marketing industry ramped up in the early 2000s, Myspace, iTunes, SoundCloud, and Bandcamp started offering channels for artists to distribute and promote their music all on their own, opening up new avenues for the music industry to take with marketing music in an increasingly digital age.
As the music industry reeled from the dramatic decline of revenue following the rise of piracy and P2P sharing, streaming stepped in during the 2010s to fully digitize the music industry and make digital marketing one of the primary means by which record labels drive value to their rosters.