Selling physical products online can be a lucrative business, but there is a plethora of ways in which you can make money online without having to touch a product. One popular way is to develop an audience on social media and charge people for your content.
Posting on social media to gain followers is a proven route to riches as the audience can then be monetised through affiliate marketing, displaying ads and showing their support through clicks and ‘buys’.
While this may seem like a straightforward route to riches, it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. In a world of infographics and short-urls, it can be difficult to rise above the noise of the digital din.
The Growth Of Online Musicking
With more people shifting to a digital sphere and services such as Spotify providing on-demand access to millions of songs, it comes as no great surprise that people are turning to ways of making money from music. And what’s popular is not traditional, with people seeking to make money through various means – performing, recording, and manufacturing.
According to the United Kingdom Trade and Investment, music and recording equipment was the 14th highest grossing product in terms of value in 2016 with an estimated value of £37.9 billion.
The value of this equipment alone could fund a small city. Although this is an impressive number, it is not the whole story. Hidden behind this value are the many businesses – small and large – that continue to thrive thanks to music.
Many people are taking the plunge and seeing success with online marketplaces such as Shopbop which, in 2016, bought £27.9 million worth of music products and equipment. Other big spenders include Sur La Table – the French market leader in tabletop cooking – which spent £45.9 million on music products and Wix – a leading web development company – which purchased £27.2 million worth of music products and equipment.
The Rise Of Online-only Stores
Even more impressive is the fact that many luxury goods brands and famous designers have set up online-only stores. These brands might not always be associated with music but their products are clearly a reflection of social trends and music’s influence.
Mikimoto – a luxury goods brand which owns the rights to the iconic ‘Mikimoto’ diamond and precious gems – launched Mikimoto-ONLINE.com, an online store specialising in the luxury brand’s products in 2014. As of March 2018, it is reported to be one of the 100 most popular online stores in the world. It’s clearly going from strength to strength.
What makes this store so special is the fact that it only offers products that the brand itself would sell in its physical stores. This is in addition to a new ‘concept store’ which offers even more, creating a one-stop-shop for Mikimoto products.
You don’t have to look far to see the influence of social media on music. Trending musical artists are often catapulted to fame thanks to their online presence.
One good example is Ariana Grande – the ‘Breath You Take’ hitmaker who has over 500 million followers on Instagram and gained popularity after starring in a number of Snapchat stories.
She would not have been eligible for this role had it not been for her large social media following. Likewise, Billie Eilish – the 17-year-old singer/songwriter who rose to fame for her 2015 debut album ‘When We All Fall Aslef…’ – is another prominent example. Since its release, Eilish’s album has been streamed more than 150 million times and she has won a variety of awards, including a Brit Award for Best British Female Solo Artist. In 2018, she became the youngest solo artist to win a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Album.
Online marketplaces such as Spotify and Deezer have also enabled emerging artists to flourish, with many gaining a large audience on these platforms and subsequently making the transition to a traditional record deal. Thanks to services like these, musicians can now build a following and gain the trust of their audience, enabling them to make the right decision at the right time – and all before the age of 20.
The Influencer Marketing Hub
And it’s not just singers and songwriters who are reaping the benefits of social media. Influencers have become a popular choice for businesses looking to gain exposure and make some money online. Like traditional marketers, influencers can promote a brand to their audience and attract potential customers to a company.
There are various ways in which an influencer can make money, including displaying ads, becoming a brand ambassador, and (as mentioned previously) creating and selling their own merchandise.
In 2017, Forbes magazine considered the top 20 most influential people in marketing and advertising and listed four digital marketers and four advertisers as having the most influence. It should come as no great surprise that these individuals are responsible for the booming interest in digital marketing and advertising. The field is now worth nearly £27 billion in the United Kingdom alone.
Where Does This Leave Traditional Music Businesses?
This trend has certainly not hit all industries, with traditional music businesses struggling to find their place in this new world order. As mentioned previously, the value of music industry equipment and goods alone is in the region of £37.9 billion. And that’s not even including the many small and independent businesses that continue to operate despite the pandora effect.
But while some might see this as a threat, others are seeing it as a golden opportunity. With many businesses adjusting to the new world order, they might not always see the need for a middleman and might choose to go direct to the consumer, removing the requirement for retail stores.
And while that might seem like a bleak outlook for those in the retail sector, it could be a boon for those positioned elsewhere in the value chain.
Many businesses are now turning their attention to the burgeoning influencer marketing industry, seeking to work with or hire established influencers in order to build a following and, ultimately, make some money. Thanks to the increasing influence of social media, it is a world that continues to evolve.