Boost Collective Interview:
RP.com: Tell us a little bit about Boost Collective and what you offer to music producers and artists?
Ronan: Boost Collective was started in 2017. The long term goal for
Boost has always been to innovate in the market where we see
opportunity. At the end of the day, providing as much value to artists
as possible is what matters.
We've created a platform that we've coined
the "Amazon" of the music industry, where we cover everything an artist
needs to operate a successful career.
We have services that fall into a
few categories. The first being promotional. We offer a platform where
artists can pitch directly to Spotify curators. Next, some of our other
services fall into the branding category. These include, cover art,
banners, social media posts, music ad graphics and more. Finally, we
offer music improvement services, where artists/producers can work with
actual pros to really polish up their music.
worked on many promotional campaigns for various music artists. What,
in your experience, is the current landscape like for up-and-coming or
newer artists? What are the main things to keep in mind 2021 and going
Ronan: This is an interesting question. It certainly seems like every 'guru'
has their idea of what the best strategy to grow is. I think the main
thing to keep in mind is that great music is always going to win. We
used to subscribe to the notion that it's all about marketing, however
the more artists we've worked with, it's simply not the case.
quality music gets skipped at the end of the day. There's a reason that
those songs that so many people continuously stream rack up big numbers,
and that's all due to the music. Promotion is merely a vessel to start
the rolling snowball. It's a way to reach new ears.
Coming into the music industry landscape, artists need to deflate their expectations
when it comes to how the rise to the top actually works. The top thing
to keep in mind in 2021 and beyond is consistency. It's the key. Release
#1 wasn't a hit? Cool, get back to the drawing board. Get consistent
with your releases, invest in what makes sense and keep it going. It's a
marathon not a sprint.
RP.com: Music streaming has become the main driver for the music
industries. What are the most important things music artists should know
and keep in mind when it comes to making money off music streaming today?
Ronan: Great question. Music
is the main needle-mover for an artists' career. It always will be.
Artists shouldn't expect to make an ROI through streaming right away.
Reaching more ears is the method of finding fans, and getting those fans
to stick around for the long haul is the ultimate goal.
So, the most
important thing artists should be thinking about is that when it comes
to earning money, the fans you capture through the music will
eventually spend money on your merchandise, come to your shows and allow
you to work with brands for sponsorships.
RP.com: Still on music streaming. Spotify is undoubtedly the biggest platform in this space right now and getting on a good playlist can make a massive difference for artists in terms of both exposure and streaming revenue. We all know there are however people and companies with less than savory practices in the music business. What are some of the pitfalls artists should be aware of when it comes to playlist promotion?
Ronan: This is an interesting one. Spotify certainly is the platform to be on.
It's got the most users, and potential to reach new 'sticky' fans.
Personally at Boost Collective, we aim to be as transparent as possible.
Some artists have a mindset that everyone is out to take advantage of them.
And to be fair to them, a lot of people are here to capitalize.
totally get that viewpoint. No one wants to be taken advantage of.
There's always going to be a few cases where you can't make everyone
happy, but so long as the company you're working with is willing to make
things right for you, you should have some comfort that the company has
your best interest in mind.
When it comes to promoting through
playlists, it takes quite a bit of analysis to make sure it's a solid
list to go after. There's plenty of fake playlists out there, and the
last thing you want is to fall into a scam.
Some things we look at are
the trajectory of the followers on a particular list. If it goes from
10k to 4k, to 1k the next day and then backup to 10k, that's a massive
red flag. We've had experiences with fake playlists in the past, and
sometimes it's very tough to tell. Similar to designer goods, used cars etc... there are always bad apples out there unfortunately. We
want to make sure if an artist runs into a situation like that, that
they are taken care of. Making artists happy is the priority, and
removing fake playlists is essential for keeping a clean platform.
RP.com: How viable, in your experience, is it for smaller unsigned or independent artists to make a decent living from streaming royalties alone?
Ronan: As mentioned before, I don't think it's good to look at streaming as a
way to get filthy rich. It's definitely possible the larger you become
as an artist, however as a small artist, I wouldn't rely on streaming
income to fuel the fire.
It's certainly a great income source to reinvest into new gear, marketing/promotion etc... We see artists like
Russ build to millions of dollars per year off of streaming, so it's
definitely possible, especially even to reach 1/10th of that number. We
know quite a few artists that are doing very well with streaming +
merchandise + songwriting income, that aren't getting massive numbers.
It's definitely possible to build up to a solid amount of income with
RP.com: What would you say, in your experience, are some of the biggest mistakes artists tend to make or misconceptions they have when it comes to promoting their music today?
Ronan: I'm going to toss a small
curve-ball on this question. There are so many artists out there, and for
some reason so many artists don't want to collaborate on music. I
believe artists aren't creating enough opportunity for themselves. If
you collaborate with an artist that's pulling similar numbers to you,
it's an easy way to appeal to their audience. Some people from that
audience are going to come and stick to you.
So, the biggest mistake
artists are making is not networking. They say you can guess someone's
net worth by who they know. A lot of artists need to set aside creative
differences and work together to push the boundaries and combine
RP.com: Moving on to music promotion techniques. Which music
promotion techniques have the highest impact or return on investment for
new and up-and-coming artists in terms of growth? In other words, which
techniques or strategies should newer artists focus on and what can
they safely ignore?
Ronan: I think it really depends on what
the situation is. If your music isn't up to a professional quality your investment is better made to improve your music. Trust us... it's
hard to place low quality music on playlists. A good song on a playlist
will get skipped less, and rack up more repeat streams.
We've run tests, where we put a low quality song and a high quality song
on the same playlist for the same amount of time, even putting the low
quality one up higher on the list. The low quality song yielded very
poor results, as you need to listen to 30 seconds of a song for it to
count as a stream. The high quality track piled up 10x more streams just
for that reason alone.
I still stand by playlisting being a fantastic
low cost method of reaching new ears. We've spent a lot of money
on ads, and it's pretty clear that your Facebook pixel needs a lot of
data to get very efficient, and that costs a lot of money. Some
artists have really done well with running ads, but I would reserve that
for more seasoned music artists or get it done through a skilled agency.
Lastly, what does the future of the music business look like from your
current vantage point and which words of advice can you give independent
artists and producers going forward?
Ronan: I like the outlook on the industry right now. There's a lot of talented
people doing amazing things. Music is always going to be there, but
right now it's easier to grow your career than ever before. I don't
believe that the reign the big labels have is anywhere near over as many
people are saying though. There's still a lot of gatekeeping going on,
however there's more power coming to independents in recent years than
seemingly ever previously. If artists are always looking to make
connections and jump on opportunities, they'll do well.
RP.com: Is there anything else you would like to add before you go?
Ronan: I'd say an underrated concept is winning with your friends. Build
connections with artists in your town, get together, collaborate and