Picture this: you’re in a club, looking to find someone to take home, or maybe just ask out for coffee. You’re pretty sure you’re vibing with some hottie in the corner who’s making eyes at you. You go over for a chat, and they seem pretty awesome. All of a sudden, they whip out an album and try to sell it to you at a cheaper price than if you went to JB Hi-Fi.
Tinder is the new marketing tool for musicians and labels. Maybe you’ll get laid, but more than likely you’ll get a free album.
Okay, so Tinder isn’t like real life. There’s probably a bit less emotional investment, and a bit more wariness than trying to score in a nightclub. And CDs are a pain in the arse to carry around. But there is a growing trend of musicians and labels using the app in various ways to try and get people to buy their music, attend gigs… and sometimes even have sex.
Recently at SXSW, a myriad of musicians used Tinder to up their audience numbers. Pretending to actually be interested in the people they matched with on the app, they invited them to meet up at a gig at the festival. When their Tinder matches arrived, they realised it was a ploy: the musician was actually playing, and perhaps not quite as interested in a hook-up as they let on. But such low-stake uses aren’t the only way musicians are harnessing the power of Tinder to pump up audiences.
Jason Derulo (Jason Derulo!) was recently the first musician to actually partner with the app to promote his latest music video. A profile for Derulo would come up as users swiped; a right swipe would give the user a link to his YouTube page, where you could watch the video for his latest single Want to Want Me. More than 1.1 million people swiped right on Derulo in three days. Whether they expected a date with the muso remains to be seen…
Dance musician, Zedd, went even further with the app, with users who swiped right on his fake account gaining access to a link to buy his latest album, True Colours, for half its regular price. This set-up was the result of a partnership between Tinder and Zedd’s label, Interscope.
Similarly, also at SXSW, the app was used to promote the film Ex Machina. While not music-related, it’s an interesting case study and perhaps a sign of things to come: a mysterious girl appeared as a Tinder account. Once punters swiped right and started a conversation with the girl, they were asked questions like “Have you ever been in love?” and “What makes you human?” before inviting them to the films’ premiere and directing them to an Instagram account. While this angered some attendees, it has to be said that it’s a pretty creative marketing concept.
It’s an interesting idea, although it remains to be seen if single people listen to music more than those in a relationship. Perhaps they need something to while away those lonely hours? Either way, Tinder haven’t stated their hand as yet, but it should be interesting to see if this is a strategy they’ll be pursuing in the future and whats sort of $$$ are involved. How else are musos utilising the app? Ask Owl Eyes, who discovered a guy using a photo taken with her as his profile picture. When she outed him on Facebook, a number of other fans came forward to admit that they’d done the same. Perhaps the promise of getting laid if they can get a pic with the singer will swell her fan base…
While this is a fairly new tool for musicians, it could pay to be creative when it comes to promoting yourself on Tinder. Maybe you could ask your fans to post pics of themselves wearing your merch for access to limited edition tracks.
Perhaps it’d be a good idea to talk one-on-one with as many people as you can to try and get them into your band, or to come to a gig a-la the SXSW situation mentioned earlier. Or maybe you could even do as an acquaintance of mine did, and meet someone you’re genuinely interested in sleeping with on Tinder, tell them you’re in a band, wait for them to stalk said band and find out you’re playing a gig tonight and wait for them to show up and act like it’s a coincidence!
If you’re looking for a little bit more than a discounted album or music video, check out the blog Band Dudes on Tinder, which has sourced a collection of musicians they have found on the app. Keen to get hot and heavy with one of your favourite mid-noughties pop-punk idols from Escape the Fate, Panic! At the Disco or Cobra Starship? This blog is your one-stop-stalking shop. What this will do to musicians’ mystique is anyone’s guess.
And ladies, just in case you were wondering… Redfoo is on Tinder. You can thank me later.
Check out our article on how to promote your band with advice from some of Australia’s top publicists.