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We’ve been writing about how important TikTok can be for your music marketing efforts and I have seen some of you killing it on there as I power scroll for hours on end. It’s addictive for sure, and there are over a billion other people using the app who would agree. Yes, you read that right, billion with a “B.”
For those of you who haven’t read the previous pieces or continue to dismiss TikTok as some silly dance platform, here are some reasons why TikTok must be part of your music marketing mix right now.▼ Article continues below ▼
First, genre and style do not really matter. metal can go viral as easily as hip-hop, a snippet of a love song can perform as well as a bass drop, country can score you a hit that leads to a national sync deal (Hello Hunter Hayes, “Fancy Like”) and your emo shoegaze indie track can find love around the world, too. It doesn’t matter if your song is new or back catalog, and that is rare in today’s music world. There are multiple other reasons why TikTok is crucial, but one of the most important is that the community of creators is dependent on new sounds and music every day; even the biggest TikTok trends don’t last long, which means you always have a chance to catch some fire.
How do you get your music to be used by those creators, especially the influencers who can rack up millions of views? Well, you can pay them directly, which some do through agencies or Submithub, etc. It can cost $500-$5000 to get one placement to show to their list of followers. However, artists rarely receive any confirmation that all of those followers even saw the post, much less engaged with it.
Now, there is a new way. It’s a platform called Preffy. Instead of spending your time pitching influencers and negotiating prices with no real proof of ROI, you can partner with Preffy which does all of the work getting your music to micro-influencers who want and need to make new content every day.
In general, I am not a fan of competitions for artists and consult against them. Normally platforms are just leveraging your hard work and the bonds you’ve built with your fanbase to get more traction and the prizes aren’t worth the trust you trade.
Preffy is different. The artist is not asked to promote the competition. In fact, they are discouraged from doing so. Further, the competition is not between bands and artists, it’s between the creators on TikTok and Instagram, using your music.
I had a chance to chat with the founder of Preffy, Charlie Davis, to dive into what the platform is doing for artists and influencers, and how they are growing.
Performer Mag: Charlie, great to meet you, give us the elevator pitch for Preffy.
Charlie Davis: Preffy is an online contesting platform where artists host competitions with cash to get influencers and creators posting for likes, rather than a guaranteed upfront fee.
The purpose of Preffy is to gain hundreds of thousands of user generated content pieces for the price of one macro influencer piece.
PM: Congratulations on being acquired by Songfluencer in May. Is there any crossover? For instance, is this kind of a minor league to get to Songfluencer?
CD: We do tie into Songfluencer. We have limited bandwidth for how many competitions we can do with fewer creators in our network, but we are growing fast. An artist can start with Preffy to mobilize hundreds of micro-influencers, and then segue into a macro-influencer campaign where it may be thousands.
PM: So, let’s talk about the competition. The post with the most likes wins? Do any other metrics matter? View counts or shares etc.?
CD: It’s purely “likes” based, which allows us to be cross platform. One “like” on TikTok or IG reel is treated the same, and we will be adding other short-form video platforms like Triller, YouTube shorts, etc. It’s not just one post, it’s also based on overall likes, which incentivizes creators to make multiple videos/posts with your music instead of just one post, as is often the case when you pay them directly. The key to this is we work directly with our growing network of creators, so the measurement is in real-time. We show how many creators are using your music and how many likes they have.
PM: I’ve seen some competitions for Daddy Yankee and Zac Brown, as well as some independent artists. What goes into choosing which competitions you run?
CD: As we onboard more and more creators, we will have more and more opportunities. We try to limit the number of competitions per week and that means we do have to make tough choices. We started with competitions for as low as $50, but we realized that to get quality influencers who want to use your music creatively, the incentive had to go up. So, we do competitions for $1000 total spread out among many winners, and yes, some others are as high as $5000. In some cases, we can do as low as a few hundred dollars, but I’ll be upfront, we do defer to the larger amounts. We are built for artists who are serious about their music careers. This is why we really suggest you plan a campaign in the future to get it booked on the calendar.
PM: Let’s talk about the value — too many independents have spent money on marketing without seeing a real return, how do you address that?
CD: So true. First, we are very transparent. You can see all of the accounts using your music with the number of “likes” in real-time within the song dashboard. You can go see those videos live. In fact, we do a quality check ourselves to make sure the song is upfront and audible and being used appropriately. We guarantee a return of $1 per 1,000 likes, but we are finding we were really conservative with that estimation because we are seeing $.10/CPM which is an amazing return for any advertising or marketing spend.
PM: Do the artists or Preffy come up with the ideas for the creators?
CD: The creators know their niche, they know their fans and what works, [so] we let them work their magic. We find that you may not know where your music works. For instance, you may not know that a Fortnite guy using your music might work far better than a thirst trap dance.
PM: Let’s get into the money details – how much is the minimum, what are the fees, etc.?
CD: Once an artist comes to preffy.com and sets up a competition and we have accepted it, we invoice you for the amount of the competition, so you do need to have that money available upfront. Preffy’s fee comes out of the competition money for providing the creator network. You still just pay the amount invoiced. We use PayPal because we have an international network and it’s just easier.
PM: What is asked of the artist to promote a competition they start?
CD: Once the competition is live, the artist doesn’t have to do anything, it runs by itself. Preffy does not promote any specific competition. We drive interest to our creator network and they get to work being creative trying to win the prize money. We then do a thorough review [to ensure] the song is being used in the video. Before the prizes are awarded, we manually watch the video to ensure the song is properly being used.
PM: Alright, let’s walk through the process for an artist to use Preffy.
CD: An artist goes and sets up a free account on Preffy. Connect your PayPal. Then you click “Start a Competition,” fill in the information including the song name and the total prize amount you are willing to spend. Right now, there may be a waitlist. If you are planning a release in the future (which we highly suggest), just email us and let us know the dates and details and then we can work together to find an open date.
I broke down an example of recent competition so that you, the artist, know exactly what to expect.
The Artist set the prize at $1500 for creators: the four winners for 1st place won $200, three winners for 2nd place won $100, and two $70 winners for Most Creative and Creator with under 100k followers.
The four 1st place winners generated 1.5 million likes for the song. The three 2nd place winners generated 508k likes. Remember, those are just verified likes, the views from the top creator alone were over 4 million! Crucially, that video (and all of the other ones) still get views even as the competition is over. There were also nearly 40 other creators who did posts using the song.
A few more things to consider: not factored in is how many of the creator’s followers, who are not in the Preffy network, may use the music in their own videos. There is also the Spotify effect. It’s hard to measure exactly, but we know when music blows up on TikTok, it leads to streams, actual paid streams, and followers.
If you are serious about your music marketing, Preffy is a great option for a verified return on investment and may really supercharge your release if coupled with your existing marketing efforts. Get in now, before they are all booked up.
For more info, please visit https://preffy.com/artists
–Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.