I hosted a panel recently looking at the pros and cons of building a live career after success on TikTok. Increasingly, we’re seeing TikTok stars launched onto the stage, sometimes without having ever performed live!
The panellists were a mix of managers, promoters and agents who all had an interesting take. Many approached me to say the bottlenecks with building success in this case can come from labels. One example was that a label refused an artist £30,000 for tour support but offered £40,000 for TikTok content to be made. These two things must live side by side if we are to create a healthy talent pipeline.
Although tour support is vital to artists’ routes to market (especially in this economy!), I want to look at ways this can be done outside of tour support. TikTok has become an incredible platform for artists to showcase their talent, gain exposure and monetise their content. However, building a sustainable live career as an artist requires more than just posting videos. Here are a few points of advice for upcoming artists...
BUILD A FOLLOWING
To build a sustainable career, artists need a dedicated following. The first step is to create high-quality content that resonates with their audience. This means developing a unique style and sound that sets them apart from other musicians on the platform. Artists really need to be consistent in their posting, interact with fans and participate in viral challenges and trends. As their following grows, artists can begin to monetise their content through brand partnerships, e-commerce and other revenue streams.
ENGAGE WITH FANS
Engaging with fans is essential for building a career. Respond to comments, hold Q&A sessions and participate in fan interactions. By creating a sense of community around their music, artists can build a loyal fanbase that will support them throughout their career.
TikTok offers several ways for musicians to monetise their content. As an artist’s following grows, brands may reach out to promote their services. The TikTok generation are used to the influencer pipeline, and the really savvy ones can build e-commerce incomes.
NETWORK WITH MUSICIANS
Networking with other musicians is a great way to build a career on TikTok. Collaborate with others, attend local music events, play live to learn your craft and join online music communities.
I’ve covered this a few times, but livestreaming has become a good way for artists to connect with fans and build their careers. You can use TikTok Live or other livestreaming platforms to perform for fans, host Q&A sessions and showcase the process of making music. This will build a loyal fanbase and increase visibility.
LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media can be a powerful tool for promoting concerts and events. Use TikTok and platforms like Instagram and Twitter to promote your shows, share behind-the-scenes footage and connect with fans. Encourage your fans to share your content and help spread the word about your upcoming shows.
PARTNER WITH BRANDS
Partnering with brands and sponsors can be a great way to generate revenue and build a live career. Artists can use TikTok success to attract sponsors and brand partnerships, which can help fund tours and provide opportunities for exposure to new audiences. As long as they choose partnerships that align with their brand and values, that will help build their career in the long term. Get that wrong and you’re fucked from the off.
One of the best ways to build a live career is to grow a strong local following. You can utilise TikTok to promote local shows and events, and engage with fans. As an artist’s local following grows they can begin to expand their reach to other regions and, eventually, a national or even international audience.
PRACTISE LIVE PERFORMING
Creating a memorable live performance is essential to building a sustainable live career. The mistake many TikTok creators make is jumping into big live performance opportunities without having played a note live in their life.
USE TIKTOK ADS
TikTok ads offer a variety of highly- effective formats and pixels! My biggest gripe with people saying there are issues with live careers after TikTok is that the industry is assuming TikTok success can instantly translate to a big live career. To build a career, artists need time and support to nurture their live performance and build their fanbase. That includes providing tour support where necessary, helping them hone their craft, and checking they have enough tracks to actually play a set!