Twitch, TikTok + more: the five best social media platforms for musicians to use
12.03.2021

Twitch, TikTok + more: the five best social media platforms for musicians to use

Words by Chloe Karis

Discover how to utilise the latest in online innovations.

Social media and music might have a bit of a contentious relationship at the best of times, but there’s no denying that mastering the breadth of available platforms out there can prove to be incredibly beneficial to your own artistic interests.

From social media to streaming servers to video games, there is an opportunity for all artists to engage with a new platform for their music. Read on below to find out more about five popular platforms which are allowing artists to chart, promote, perform and engage with their audience all through an online platform. 

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TikTok

While it was beginning to pop off in a big way throughout 2019, TikTok became majorly popular in 2020 due to lockdown, where everyone had the time to download the app and create content. Similar to what Vine once was, TikTok is a social media app with only short videos between 15 seconds to a minute long.

The new platform has shaped the way artist can now chart across the world. For instance, TikTok creator Nathan Apodaca uploaded a video of him lip-syncing to ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac while riding on a skateboard drinking cranberry juice. This became the next trend on TikTok with thousands of creators doing a similar video.

@420doggface208Morning vibe #420souljahz #ec #feelinggood #h2o #cloud9 #happyhippie #worldpeace #king #peaceup #merch #tacos #waterislife #high #morning #710 #cloud9♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

The band later joined the trend with Mick Fleetwood and Stevie Nicks doing a video each. ‘Dreams’ shot back in the charts worldwide, with the song reaching its new peak on the ARIA Charts at #4. Not only did the song rise in the charts, but Rumours also rose in the album charts reaching #9 in the last week of October last year.

New to Tiktok, John Mayer has taken advantage of the app in another way. He has uploaded videos of him giving guitar tips for his song ‘Neon’ or the theory for his song ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’.

@johnmayerThe 60 second music theory behind Slow Dancing in a Burning Room #guitar #guitartok #guitarist #prs #silversky♬ original sound – johnmayer

He has also uploaded a TikTok of him playing guitar which allows the viewers to collaborate with him on the app and to do their own guitar solo during certain parts of the video. The more users who collab with him on this TikTok, the more exposure John Mayer gets through the app.

Clubhouse

Clubhouse is audio-only and is currently an exclusive invite-only app. You can join in a chat and hear what other people are talking about or join in a call and share your own thoughts. Users can create their own topics to make a room to allow others to join with a similar interest.

But how does this app help artists? A User of Clubhouse has shared topic rooms with some rooms allowing artists to grow their network, connection and community. Networking virtually allows artists to easily grow their team with a manager, photographer, producer and more.

Artists can have exposure and share their talent through chat rooms which allow auditions, performances, or artist vs. artist battles. Some rooms have been created to allow artists to get advice and help with people sharing their personal experiences. So far, we know artists like Drake, 21 Savage, MC Hammer, E-40, Meek Mill and Questlove are on Clubhouse, while a little closer to home, there’s a number of burgeoning rooms that are centric to the ins and outs of the Australian music scene.

From what we can tell, it seems like this exclusive app is going to continue growing and become more difficult to join the platform. We recommend to sign-up now and join the waitlist to be involved and have the opportunity to exposure of your work and build your network with other people on Clubhouse.

Discord

Discord allows its users to create or join a server to allow people to connect and chat through text, voice and video. Originally the software was to allow PC gamers to easily communicate while gaming online, but now Discord has expanded and is not just limited to those playing games. Every server is different with the server members, topics, rules and different channels to communicate on. Simply join via a link online or be invited to a server to start connecting with other members.

Each server allows several different chat rooms to be created to organise into topic-based chats. Head of the record label PC Music, A. G. Cook promoted his second studio album Apple on Discord. Through the platform, he attended listening parties and Q&As about songs via different chat rooms on his Discord server. Aside from promotion for his album, he has organised a battle of the bands which included up to 60 bands battling off.

Regarding how Discord can help musicians, selected server chat rooms can consist of new artists or producers meeting each other and growing their connection and network. Some servers allow promotion and feedback on their work.

Producer Kenny Beats created a server for other producers and songwriters to allow everyone to share their ideas and receive instant feedback from those online. Kenny Beats’ Discord community came together and bought another member a bass guitar and production plug-in to allow them to write and record their music. 

Twitch

Twitch is originally known as a video gaming livestream platform which allows creators to livestream and connect with their followers. Though the more Twitch grew, the more creators used the platform for reasons other than gaming. With Twitch now having a music section, it has allowed smaller upcoming musicians or producers to have easy exposure to viewers who are interested in music. This can also allow other creators to communicate with each other for a possible collaboration. 

Australian independent record label, Future Classic, which has allowed their Twitch to livestream other creators to gain exposure and to allow viewers to learn, engage and discover the creative process of some musicians and producers. Recently Minnesota pop band, Vansire was on Future Classic’s Twitch channel who was creating music and allowing viewers to learn on the spot.

While they were livestreaming themselves recording an instrument, the video showed the viewers Vansire using FL Studio to produce the music they were live recording on. Not only this, but Future Classic have streamed interviews or talks from Dev Hynes, Bedouine and more, streamed live acts and last year they streamed Flume’s 2019 Red Rocks performance in Colorado. They have also been re-streaming Hayden James DJ act every Saturday.

Artists have used the platform to do a livestream of a home concert for their fans to engage with while live shows were not permitted due to COVID. A Swedish band, Peter Bjorn and John livestreamed on Twitch a 36-hour festival called 36h Ingrid last year in March in their studio. 31 different artists went to their studio to do their own live performance between 30 minutes to two hours. 

Minecraft

Minecraft is a never-ending building block game available on most consoles and devices. In other words, Minecraft is just a video game version of Lego. Every world created is different from the Minecraft website saying, “prepare for an adventure of limitless possibilities as you build, mine, battle mobs, and explore the ever-changing Minecraft landscape.” Needless to say, it is another game musicians can take advantage of in their own way to promote themselves.

Once again due to the pandemic, online concerts whether it’s through streaming or video games became the only way to attend a live show in 2020. Though Minecraft live concerts were a thing before the pandemic, more musicians have jumped on board with the idea.

In April last year, American music duo 100 gecs announced an online festival called Square Garden with Charli XCX, A.G. Cook, Cashmere Cat, Kero Kero Bonito and benny blanco set to perform. Instead of a normal venue you expect to see festivals at, Square Garden was set inside of a tree with each act getting the same stage set up and set times.

The Open Pit organisers spoke to Pitchfork explaining how Minecraft is a great platform for virtual events. One of the organisers, Eden Segal-Grossman said, “it’s worked really well for us in terms of being able to build these absurd, crazy virtual words that you can’t find anywhere else.” Minecraft is also one of the best-selling games of all time so most people would have at least heard of it.

Melbourne based artist, Woods released her debut album Crystal Ball in October last year in collaboration with Minecraft and Twitch launch the album. Twitch was used to livestream the private Minecraft world up until the album was released.

While Minecraft users had the chance to interact with Woodes to build their own villages and experience the Crystal Ball village to see the album exist within the game. Woodes and Adelaide content creator Reuben Gore (who made a Minecraft version of Splendour In The Grass) created the main village. See below the trailer which was uploaded prior to the launch. 

Read more about the intersection between music and virtual platforms here.