Digital Dialogue

Digital Dialogue is an interview/guest-blog series presented by Byta, and written by friends of Byta. Exploring niche, behind-the-scenes topics within the digital realm of the music ecosystem, Digital Dialogue presents readers with insights into challenges, successes and passion topics in the day-to-day life of those working deep in digital.

Social Media for Artists is Imperative, Not Optional with Melissa d’Engelbronner (FUGA)

Social Media for Artists is Imperative, Not Optional with Melissa d’Engelbronner (FUGA)

Who are you? Where do you work?

I’m Melissa d’Engelbronner – VP, Audience Strategy at FUGA. I’m currently based in Amsterdam.

What are you currently listening to? 

Maggie Rogers – Don’t Forget Me (as soon as she announced her album, it was immediately pre-ordered!)

Give us a small insight into your daily routine? 

I have the privilege of spending the majority of my work days trying to bring artists’ music to their fans in a meaningful way, for both of them. I have a super-talented and creative team who work across digital, social & research and we (try to!) have a lot of fun brainstorming ideas and working together with labels and their artists.

Over to you, Melissa…

Social Media for Artists is Imperative, Not Optional…

The digital revolution has undeniably transformed how artists connect with their audience, carve out their careers, and ultimately, define their success. Social media is not just a tool for personal connection but a powerful platform for musicians to brand themselves, showcase their art, and build a community of listeners. However, so many artists, whether legacy or upcoming, hate social media with almost as much passion as they have for their art. Unwilling to accept that social media is a part of their career despite the fact it’s one of the multitude of tools at their disposal to help them communicate with their audience and connect on a deeper level. If you’re an artist today and you don’t see the point of social media, you’re either creating inauthentic content or you need a reality check. 

Understanding social media’s intricacies, aligning it with personal interests and personality, and embracing its potential rather than viewing it as an evil burden, are essential strategies for musicians aiming to thrive in today’s competitive environment. Whether they agree or not. 

Branding is not just for corporations. For musicians, it’s about creating a unique identity that encapsulates their music, values, and story, making them recognizable and relatable to their target audience. Social media provides the canvas for this branding, offering various platforms (Instagram, Discord, TikTok, etc.) to portray their artistic vision through visuals, interactions, and content that resonates with their audience. By understanding how to leverage these platforms effectively, musicians can create an online presence that helps them either stand out against the noise or find their niche community that’s willing to stand by them no matter what. It’s about consistency in message, aesthetics, and the type of content shared, all of which should align with the artist’s music and personality. 

Social media should be an extension of the musician’s artistry, not a disconnected facade. The most successful artists on these platforms are those who manage to seamlessly blend their interests and personality with their music. This authenticity attracts and retains followers, creating a loyal fan base that feels a genuine connection to the artist beyond the music. Whether it’s sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of their creative process, engaging in causes close to their heart, or simply showcasing their daily life, musicians need to find a balance that suits their comfort level while still engaging their audience. If an artist doesn’t want to showcase their personality or anything regarding their personal life, stick to your art. Lift the curtain and give fans a deeper insight into your creative process. Remember not everyone is naturally gifted at being able to create music or write lyrics so showing how you do this is fascinating for those of us who are musically inept. 

Many artists view social media as a necessary evil, a time-consuming distraction from their true passion: making music. However, this perspective overlooks the immense potential social media holds for career growth, audience engagement, and artistic expression. Rather than a burden, social media should be seen as a powerful tool for storytelling, networking, and marketing. By shifting their mindset and learning how to effectively use these platforms, musicians can unlock opportunities that were previously unimaginable, from viral fame and global reach to direct fan interaction and feedback. 

For musicians who dread the thought of tweeting, posting, or streaming, it’s crucial to understand that their aversion to social media probably stems from a lack of knowledge on how to use it effectively or from misconceptions about its value. If social media feels like a chore, it’s time to reassess the approach. There are countless strategies to make social media management more enjoyable and less time-consuming, such as scheduling posts, focusing on platforms that best suit your brand and voice, or even collaborating with creators and other artists to share the workload and increase visibility.

After all that, if you’re a musician and you still feel that making music is the only thing you want to do, find someone talented enough to do social media for you. Someone who understands you on a deeper level and is going to make sure the content and messaging still feel authentic to yourself and your audience; otherwise fans will see straight through it and you’ll have no one to listen to the music you’ve spent so much time, emotion and effort into creating. 

The reality is that social media is integral to a musician’s career. It’s a platform for discovery, a tool for engagement, and a means of sustaining relevance in a rapidly changing industry. Ignoring its potential can result in missed opportunities and hindered growth. Musicians should recognize the importance of meeting their fans where they’re at, embracing the digital tools at their disposal, and viewing social media not as an adversary but as an ally in their artistic journey.

Understanding social media is no longer optional for musicians; it’s imperative. The future of music lies in the hands of those who are willing to adapt, innovate, and engage in the digital realm.

Where should readers go to find out more? Any further reading or ‘digital gurus’ to recommend?

Sign up to newsletters: Ted Gioia’s ‘The Honest Broker‘ or Rob Abelow’s ‘Where Music’s Going‘.

Thanks for being part of Byta‘s Digital Dialogue series, Melissa!