In partnership with Ascend Agency
The music marketing scene is rapidly evolving. With streaming services rising to become the number one income source for most artists, there is a declining interest in record deals for independent artists.
The evolution of streaming services has provided new and more exciting ways for artists to market their work, from playlist marketing to social media reels and trends. In many ways, social media and music streaming have leveled the playing field in the music industry, and everyone is grappling for their place. Over the last decade, it has become normal to see independent artists’ work at the top of Billboard’s charts.
Ascend Agency has built a powerful reputation around taking brands from relative obscurity to profitable visibility. In the last two years, Ascend Agency has distinguished itself as a top player in the PR and content marketing space, rising to the very top of the game in record time purely on the wings of its genius strategy.
CEO of Ascend Agency, Jonathan Jadali tells Billboard, “At Ascend, we have an uncanny ability to reach across the gap between Fortune 500 companies and startups. We service the million-dollar brands while at the same time pitching our tent with the underdogs and bringing them visibility on a budget.”
Ascend Agency’s revolutionary strategy has always depended upon building strategic partnerships. According to Jadali, partnerships trump patronage any day.
“In the PR space, we have built strategic partnerships with hundreds of publications as well as some of the top publishing chains in the country, like A360 Media and Modern Luxury. These partnerships have been the lifeblood of our amazing success. We are great at building networks, and that’s what the music game is about; getting the right type of music heard by the right people on the right platforms. We are only replicating our winning strategy in the music scene.”
Brauch Owens, who oversees Ascend’s music department, sees the music marketing and reputation management space as a newly evolving industry. While these industries have always existed in some form, the explosion of independent artists creates a huge vacuum to fill by marketing agencies and brand management platforms like Ascend.
“Many creatives are creating on YouTube and releasing songs on streaming platforms. The volume of phenomenal talent on display in some places is amazing, but many of them remain relatively unknown. This is where we come in.” Owens explains, “At the end of the day, we love variety in our music, just like we love it in our food. There will never be enough music or enough artists to serve the tastes of all the music lovers out there. This means that the room for expansion in this industry is limitless.”
Ascend Agency has built an extensive network of playlist curators on platforms like Spotify, Youtube, Apple Music and Soundcloud and is leveraging these partnerships to great effect to deliver phenomenal results for their clients in record time. This strategy is consistent with Ascend’s plan to build and maintain a valuable network.
“We try to have partners everywhere who are doing it at a very high level,” Jadali opines. “This makes it much easier to give our clients the desired results faster. Playlists are to today’s artists what radio used to be in the past. We are careful to find the right playlist fit for each client. While many independent artists are trying to reinvent the wheel, we can give our clients faster results by partnering with the right people. When it comes to music, the first on the scene often takes the day.”
Ascend Music Group, a subdivision of Ascend Agency, has quickly become a one-stop shop for independent artists’ needs, from playlist marketing to providing press, reputation management, iTunes charting, distribution and album/single releases. Ascend has entered the music game with clear intent and is gradually translating all its previous success in the PR space into the music space.
Ascend’s success in the music space in this short time has taken many by surprise, but not the company’s CEO Jadali, “The market is there and has been growing for a long time, not many are taking advantage of it.” he says. Ascend Agency hit $2.5 million in 2021 its first year of operation and has now hit the $7.5 million mark in 2022 its second year.
We live in a streaming era as all other forms of music consumption continue to decline. Global subscribers to music streaming platforms grew by 26.4% in 2022 and now average about 523.9 million subscribers. The music streaming revenue in America now makes up 84% of the U.S. music industry revenue and is projected to grow to 90% in the next few years. “The pie is enormous, and independent artists want a slice of it,” says George Nellist.
The reason for this growth in independent artists can be tied to the growth in sound engineering technology, making it relatively easier to create music and the relative visibility social media provides. According to Owens, “the sheer volume of independent artists building a following outside the establishment is impossible to ignore. Independent artists will likely become the future of the industry or at least a major player, and Ascend will be right there at the forefront making sure that their amazing art gets heard.”