5 Social Media Trends Every Musician Should Know in 2021

To put it mildly, 2020 has been an interesting year.

I feel like we have aged 10 years in just 9 months, this has opened up lots of opportunities but also presented a lot of obstacles.

With the closure of most live music venues, we have also seen the increase of online live streaming as artists look for new outlets for their live performances.

However, this increase in live streaming has brought about its own unique set of problems, namely copyright issues. Copyright issues have been at the forefront of everyone’s mind recently, especially DJs, and has now once again limited music distribution.

I feel like we are back in 1999 in the middle of the Napster war where the general public wants to listen to music a certain way but the industry is wary and can’t figure out how to monetize it.

That’s why, when Napster came along, it forced the industry to change. The same thing is happening now with copyright issues and live streaming.

The industry’s copyright detecting algorithms are coming down on these live streaming platforms and are protecting the work, the music, and the art of the artists. Which is of course important, but something bigger is happening.

Technology is changing so fast and people want to use and consume music differently. Instead of banning and removing, we should work on finding a solution so musicians can get paid when their music is being used in other people’s content.

People will always continue to use other people’s art and music in their work and will always try to circumvent the copyright issues, I mean DJs are becoming very skilled at getting around this issue now despite their initial frustration. 

The amount of exposure a musician can be getting now through different content creators using their music on Twitch, Tik Tok, etc is insane!

Partnering with content creators should be one of your main strategies as a musician as it can place your music in front of a huge audience that you may not have been exposed to before. 

These content creators are also bringing back old songs so they’re now once again trending on Spotify (and the other streaming platforms).

This will also eventually result in more fans, streams and all your numbers generally being increased. 

2021 is going to be an even more interesting year, hopefully, we will get back to having live gigs at some point during the year.

However we need to be prepared for the worst, so to help you with your socials in 2021 here are 5 Social Media Trends that will blow up in 2021, so read on and make sure to keep your eyes out for these in the near future.

  1. Short Form Videos

With the explosion of Tik Tok, Instagram’s release of Reels, and now even Youtube is launching their own short-form video version, it is safe to say that the short-form video is here to stay.

With so much content being uploaded onto social media platforms every day, it’s getting more and more crowded and people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter.

A lot of people just don’t have time to watch your 3-minute long IGTV, let alone sit through your 20 minutes long Youtube video.

That’s not to say that you have to stop making longer videos, they are great for when you do catch peoples’ interest and they want to spend more time with you.

However, we need a video format that catches people’s attention so they can get interested in you in the first place, and then once you have their attention they might look for more longer format content from you. 

Well, voila! Here is the short-form video format! Since you only have 30 seconds to convey something you really have to start being creative with what you use the real estate for.

You need to catch people’s attention right away, so here are some hacks on how to optimize these short-form videos in order to really grab people.

You need to find a format and some subject areas you can attack.

Are you funny? Do you inspire? Are you a storyteller? Are you an educator? Start testing out some different content ideas and have fun with it.

This format is all about surface content, make sure it’s easy to absorb and nothing too deep or heavy as you only have 30 seconds to grab people’s attention.

It’s interesting to note how Gen Z now seem to have hardly any attention span (but let’s not go too deep into that in this article) and that there has been a correlation between that lack of attention and the kinds of channels & platforms that have come about during their generation.

Platforms like TikTok & Snapchat reflect this, their focus is easily absorbable, attention-grabbing, short-form content, and the older platforms are also noticing and adapting accordingly.
If you have not yet started creating some short-form video content every week, you need to get to it! Post your first Reels today! 

2. Social Commerce 

A lot of changes have happened over on Instagram and Facebook in the last 6 months. With the introduction of Reels, integrations, and upgrades to the chat and now also their latest change of including social shopping in the platform.

This new shopping section has its own feed and “discover/explore” sections on Instagram and you can now connect your products to Instagram and sell directly here.

So you can now post a story of you wearing your merch and tag the product in the story so followers can purchase it directly from your story. They don’t even have to leave Instagram!

Facebook and Instagram are heavily invested in this. Of course not only do they want to make money from all the content you are creating and ads, but they also want to get a piece of the products you are selling as well.

It makes sense, and it also makes it easier for us to sell as it does not require your followers and fans to leave the platform and you can directly (or indirectly) attach your products to the content and value you share. 

Studies show us that 71% of consumers turn to social media for shopping inspiration with 55% of online shoppers making the majority of their purchases through social media channels. 

Remember back in the days when you were watching commercials on TV and you wish you can just use the remote to purchase. Well, that’s what social shopping is!

Time to get your merch and your products on Instagram. Here’s a guide on how to set up your Shop.

3. Chatting

Have you noticed the recent upgrade to the Instagram chat where you can now add an FAQ response to the chat?

This basically means that whenever someone sends you a DM they get an automated FAQ reply at first. Each one of the FAQs will of course have an automated answer too.

Chat marketing has seen a huge increase the last few years as we also saw many musicians moving over to Text marketing etc. but let’s stick to social media for this article and what’s going on with the chat feature there. (I will do another article about Digital Marketing Trends, don’t worry) 

Instagram and Facebook are now integrating their chat and we all know that Whatsapp is owned by Facebook as well which is another big social media and chat operator. 

Chatting will always provide a more personalized experience for the user, whether you are answering your DMs yourself or if you have a chatbot or FAQ set up that will feed relevant information to what the person needs.  

And being personal is how you build a strong community. Using the chat to sell and engage can be very effective.

Did you know that chatting is one of the top revenue streams as well in the new and upcoming platform OnlyFans

Start with setting up your FAQs on Instagram right now to make sure you keep your fans and followers engaged. 

4. Live Streaming

Live Streaming is a format that has exploded in 2020 due to Covid-19, this will continue to be popular in 2021 as well.

Neil Patel actually predicted that Live Streaming will take over traditional Content Marketing in the future. People want real-time interactions, and no other content on the platform right now generates as much engagement as Live Streaming. 

However, there are some serious copyright issues with Live Streaming at the moment.

You have a lot of content creators using music that isn’t theirs in their content, sometimes as background music while gaming on Twitch for example and they are now having to take the content down as the music they’ve used is copyrighted content. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it kind of feels like we are back in 1999 when Napster and the music industry were at each other’s throats. The consumer wants to use music in content, while the music industry is making it difficult. 

Let’s think of a solution so musicians can earn from this content and the visibility they get from these content creators rather than banning and removing. 

That’s just my opinion but I can’t see this stopping any time soon so a solution that’s beneficial for all parties is surely better than banning or muting or blocking content?

Live streaming should be the go-to format for you as a musician, especially at the moment while no one is really gigging. 

Live Streaming is an outlet where you can perform as well as directly interacting and connecting with your fans. Use it!

Also by using Live streaming you are also optimizing your content creation. Usually, when you go live you can then download the video after and use it to create even more content.

It can be used to make a quick reel, maybe split it up into smaller chunks for some IGTV videos each a few minutes long, it can be used for a bloopers video, etc. 

Any of these options mean you are also optimizing your time by going live as you will then also get lots of content out of it afterward. 

I mean if you have ever watched one of Mark Rebillet’s live streams you’ll know, one of his streams gives him content for days to repurpose.

5. Exclusive Content – Only Fans

Something is happening in the industry right now (for those making money on these platofrms), and the world. People are getting so accustomed to creating so much high-quality content for their different platforms and in the end, yes, they are building their brand and follower count and getting more engagements, etc. but a lot of the time this isn’t translating into direct revenue. 

We can all work for free, but that shouldn’t be the aim.

The products musicians have that they sell directly to their fans are

1. Music (physical and digital download – as well as streaming)

2. Merchandise

3. Tickets for live Shows.

The first one can give you some revenue, but you cannot bank on it to pay all your bills.

That’s why we, as an industry, have been relying on live shows for so long, and we all know that live shows are also another outlet for selling merch too. It’s one of the only products that is directly sold to fans that musicians can make a direct profit from.

When selling music, artists are typically left with $0.003 and $0.005 per stream on Spotify (which then still gets split between the label, publishing, etc) – the earning numbers are a complete joke for the musician compared to everyone else that’s profiting from your content. 

Musicians are getting more and more aware that they are getting screwed in a similar awakening to the Gen Z crowd growing up and being more aware of what happens to their data and wanting to protect it. 

Then along comes OnlyFans. Now you are probably thinking what does porn have to do with all of this, but something is happening right now in the industry that is very interesting. 

OnlyFans is a platform where you can share exclusive content with your fans and you slap it behind a paywall.

So this has gotten big now during the pandemic (and it was on its way before, to be honest) because a lot of strippers and pornstars started using it to earn some extra money.

Soon that extra bit of money became an actually legitimate revenue stream and I am pretty sure we won’t see a lot of these girls back at strip clubs after covid-19 with the earnings they are making from their own phone at their own home these days. 

Ok, back to musicians. We have now seen a trend of some musicians (mostly hip hop artists at first) joining the platform. Remember my article about collaboration and how hip-hop artists are typically at the forefront of marketing?

What is happening is that these artists are starting to create explicit content (not necessarily nudity, although Tyga probably leaked his eggplant to hype up his Only during that launch, proper Kardashian style). However, the big musicians who are joining don’t show nudity (Cardi B, Chris Brown, etc). 

This has caused a huge trend of other musicians thinking creatively around content and finding ways they can put out exclusive content so they can get paid from it. 

With the scare of Tik Tok being banned and the controversy of all the mainstream social media platforms completely reducing organic reach so you have to pay to get your content seen at all these days, social platforms like OnlyFans can be, and often are, very lucrative.

Not only does everyone who signs up see your content, but they also pay to see it! Do you know messaging is one of the biggest income streams inside OnlyFans?

This is not to say that everyone will be successful with OnlyFans. With so much free content being available everywhere you need to have an edge and you need to start building a community of people who want to pay for this access and exclusive content of yours.

The biggest rule of OnlyFans as well to keep your customers happy is to always share new content.

Consistency is key! 

Start by registering for your own OnlyFans account, yes you will hear the laggers (the ones who will soon understand, but probably when it’s too late to jump on board) judge you and ask you if you are now doing porn, but this stamp and image that OnlyFans has with porn is only temporary.

They were the innovators of the platform, but when the majority will catch on it will get very crowded! 

Start now before it gets too crowded!

As you can see there are a lot of developments and changes happening right now. You have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and gain your advantage by being innovative with your methods online. Try new things, experiment. Get out of your comfort zone. 

In business when one of the main revenue streams gets cuts, the businesses are forced to innovate. This is how change and growth will happen.

The same goes for musicians. The ones who will use this pandemic to innovate and find new ways of using social media platforms to build and monetize a fanbase will get an advantage when we go back to touring. 

How can a big company like Kodak go bankrupt after being the top digital camera manufacturer for decades? Well, it was because they didn’t pay attention to the consumer changes and before they knew it they had missed the boat.

Don’t miss your boat. Innovate now! 

Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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