New And Creative Ways Music Artist Promote Their Work


Miles Aquila, Reporter

Creative media promotion has come a long way in the 21st century for artists in the music industry.  With innovative technology and social media platforms, information can be sent out to listeners all over the world in just a few clicks. This mode of online advertising allows for wide margins of creativity that artists can take advantage of.  


Advertising music 50 years ago was way different than advertising today. Record labels and managers would reach out to radio stations in an attempt to get their songs played on the radio to advertise their artists. Radio stations, billboards, and newspapers were the old ways top artists grew their following. Back then it was more common to find one-hit wonders where everyone would know a catchy song when it came on the radio, but no one knew the artists’ name or any other songs they’ve created. The music industry over time has seen less of these so-called one-hit wonders and seen a growth in the number of pop-star status artists through the use of new technology and advertising.


Kanye West is a prime example of someone who took advantage of the new age technology in his most recent album release. The highly anticipated “Donda” had fans begging for the release since he first teased the release in March 2020. In the time frame between the teaser and the full release, Kanye took advertising to a whole new level from going live on streaming platforms like Twitch and playing his music in the background, to selling out Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia for three “Donda” listening parties. No artist has ever sold out an entire stadium on three separate occasions for a listening party, a term I didn’t even know existed until 114,000 total fans showed up to listen to Kanye’s unreleased music. The advertising plan was genius; people loved the listening parties so much that the album generated over $10 million before it was even released. Then it went on to sell 309,000 copies in the first week after the release. The growth of Kanye West as an artist and his brand has grown exponentially because of the rave over the listening parties and streams. These forms of advertising pushed “Donda” to number two on the Billboard top 100 albums of 2021.


The album that almost doubled “Donda” sales was Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” which was released just five days after the release of “Donda.”  Drake also took advertising to a new level, but this time it was with an advertising tactic that is already common. Drake used billboards as his main way of advertisement, but in a way, no one has used billboards before. Drake revealed his featured artists on his album days before the album was released on Sep. 3, 2021. These billboards were strategically placed in these features’ hometowns so fans knew exactly who was on the album with Drake.  One of the billboards said, “Hey Houston the hometown hero is on Certified Lover Boy” hinting that Travis Scott was going to be on the album. Or another one that said, “Hey Chicago, Smurk is on Certified Lover Boy” hinting that Chicago rapper Lil Durk is on the album. Many other features were revealed on these billboards all over the world. “Certified Lover Boy” exploded the first week selling 613,000 copies and shattering Kanye’s numbers. Kanye and Drake did have beef during this time which boosted album sales for both parties but the main difference was the billboards and how Drake was able to tease his album without previewing any music like Kanye. Regardless, both marketing tactics were genius and generated millions of dollars in total revenue. 


It is mindblowing how technology has allowed the world to transition from listening to music on record players to being able to listen to music wherever and whenever with just a few clicks on our phones. Music advertising and the music industry, in general, will continue to develop, we haven’t even scratched the surface of possibilities that new technologies and creative minds can bring to life.