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Whether they're performing at an awards show, rocking the stage at a huge festival, or licensing your tune for a commercial spot, there are numerous ways for artists to expose their music to the masses. But which methods are really the most successful? Billboard surveyed industry experts, asking them to rank a series of media, marketing and promotional vehicles on a scale of one to 10 for their ability to drive sales and their value in generating buzz and exposure in today's marketplace. Read the top 10 below, and buy this week's issue of Billboard Magazine to see the full list of the top 120+ platforms for maximizing exposure.
DATA SOURCES: Nielsen (TV), Nielsen SoundScan (music sales), Billboard Boxscore (concert attendance), comScore (Internet), Audit Bureau of Circulations (print), Broadcasters Audience Reserarch (U.K.), Radio Joint Audience (U.K.), Video Research Japan, SoundScan Japan and company estimates.
Performance During the Super Bowl Halftime Show
Rank Last Year: 1, Audience: 108M
Beyoncé reunited Destiny's Child during her halftime show performance in February; the R&B trio saw a 21% spike in album sales and a 36% lift in tracks the week after, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Performance During the Grammy Awards
Rank Last Year: 2, Audience: 28.4M
More than 28.4 million viewers tuned in this year to the second-most-watched Grammys of the past 20 years (per Nielsen Media Research). Overall album sales were up 17% for the week ending Feb. 17, and digital track sales increased by 8%.
Performance on 'Saturday Night Live'
Rank Last Year: 5, Audience 6.5M
After Of Monsters and Men performed on "SNL" on May 4, their album sales jumped an immediate 78% (for the week ending May 5), and then rose 23% the following week (ending May 12). Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' March 3 appearance drove sales gains of 83%—the second-best sales week ever for The Heist, which moved 42,000 units. Only its debut week topped that.
Song in a TV commercial That Runs During a Special Event with Significant Viewership (Super Bowl, Oscars, Grammys, etc.)
Rank Last Year: 4, Audience (For 2013 Oscars): 40.3M
During the Super Bowl, acts like the Flaming Lips, PSY and Stevie Wonder got major looks. But the master was Justin Timberlake, who generated major buzz for "Suit & Tie," the lead single for "The 20/20 Experience," in spots for Target and Bud Light Platinum during the Grammys.
Home-page placement on iTunes
Rank Last Year: 3, Audience: N/A
Billboard estimates Apple's iTunes Store had a -market-leading 41% share of all music retail U.S. accounts in 2012. Despite concerns that iTunes is more focused on apps, leading iTunes analyst Horace Deidu estimates music revenue is growing by 15% every year.
Performance on NBC's "The Voice"
Rank Last Year: 37, Audience: 14 million
Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" exploded into public consciousness after a May performance nearly two months after the single's release. The song rose 42 slots to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, selling 206,000 downloads the week of the appearance, triple the previous week's tally. All genres do well with the show: Hunter Hayes' "I Want Crazy" sold 110,000 copies in June, nearly double the previous week; Maroon 5's "Love Somebody" moved 72,000 in a week after selling only 11,000; and season-three winner Cassadee Pope used the platform to debut her "Wasting All These Tears," selling 125,000 downloads.
First arena-level headlining tour
Rank Last Year: 6, Audience: 20,000 per show
Acts like Ed Sheeran, who had a recent run at Madison Square Garden, are using arena shows as a key next-level step to becoming a global superstar.
Performance on MTV Video Music Awards
Rank Last Year: 12, Audience: 10.1m
The 21 songs that were performed during the 2013 VMAs—including the 11 sung during the Justin Timberlake/'N Sync medley—sold 1.8 million downloads for the week ending Sept. 1. Katy Perry's "Roar" benefited the most, selling 392,000 downloads for the week that ended the day the VMAs were held, Aug. 25, before jumping to 448,000 in the ensuing week to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Performance on Coachella Main Stage
Rank Last Year: 10, Daily Audience (6 days): 30K
Phoenix used its April 15 Coachella performance to help launch its album "Bankrupt!," released a week later. The French group made headlines by unexpectedly bringing out R. Kelly during the set.
High-Rotation TV Ad for a Leading Car Company
Rank Last Year: 7, Audience: N/A
Country singer Will Hoge got to fill Bob Seger's shoes when Chevrolet tapped him to pen a new jingle for its Silverado Trucks. The song, "Strong," helped set up the singer's latest album, "Never Give In" — which debuted at No. 23 on Top Country Albums the week ending Nov. 2—and is currently climbing the Hot Country Songs chart.