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Are Chatbots the Future for ‘Closer’ Contact Between Artist and Fan?


Sharing music via social media is an increasingly complicated process. Not posting or even promoting so much as actually making sure your fans see those posts and, most importantly, act on them. Thanks to ever-changing algorithms and different types of favored content, the newsfeed is growing ever more unreliable as a way to spread the word about your latest release.

Enter messaging. More and more, everyone from artists to brands is using messenger apps to initiate one-on-one contact with fans and followers. Facebook Messenger alone boasts 1.2 billion users worldwide, and with the introduction of chatbots that interact on your behalf, the engagement results are astounding. “Messenger bot click-through rates (CTRs) are five times higher and more effective than email marketing,” says Jessica Savage, Director, Digital Strategy & Marketing at AWAL. “We may see a big shift in prioritizing that channel as a mode of communication overall as email gets more and more crowded.”

Artists are taking advantage of this new way to communicate with their fans, too. Recently, AWAL artists the Wombats launched their “Wombot,” a chatbot designed to automatically interact with their Facebook followers, in conjunction with their latest album release, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, earlier this year. Among its 5,000 users, the Wombot had a massive open rate of 95% using messages.

“The Wombot was a great tool to have all of the information in one place with easy-to-navigate links about the album and upcoming tour dates,” says Ashley Harris, Digital Marketing Director at AWAL. “In the months following, we continued to message the fans with new content, like video releases and merch.”

Beyond providing simple Q&A-type answers to fans’ inquiries, or spreading the word about a new track, some artists and brands are utilizing chatbots as a way to expand upon an artist’s story. In fact, as messenger bots evolve, storytelling is becoming an incredibly important piece of the puzzle.


{Editor’s Note: Below is a version of a post originally showcased on MusicAlly, a premier provider of digital music journalism and consultancy, and written by Tim Heineke, founder of I am POP, a new way of storytelling via chat. For the full article, please click here.}

“If you haven’t read Josh Constine’s excellent blog post “Spotify’s missing money maker is artist-to-fan messaging” then you can read it here. But this is broader than Spotify.

Fans live in messaging apps. And as an artist you want to be where your fans are, and to have the power of one-on-one contact with every single one. To inform them about news and releases, to report from the studio, to sell them music, merch and tickets.

So why is messaging the future artist to fan communication?

Short answer: results.

Engagement speaks for itself. Messaging apps show open-rates of more than 90%, often within just minutes. When an artist shares a new track this way, they start racking up streams immediately. But there is more to it than that.

Longer answer: newsfeeds are overloaded.

There is simply too much content to deal with and as a result algorithms are required to prioritize friends and family over businesses. As a result, only fraction of your fanbase will actually see your updates in their newsfeed, with an even way smaller percentage engaging.

Take Facebook for example. Its algorithm filters out 98% of the updates an artist posts via their page. People subscribe to receive updates and information from an artist, but only 2% actually receive the updates.

Benedict Evans even predicts the imminent death of the newsfeed, suggesting that “the social dynamics of a 1:1 chat work much more strongly against overload, and even if one person does overshare they’re in a separate box, that you can mute if you like”.

That’s why at POP we believe that messaging, or 1:1, is the future. Messaging is the only channel where nothing stands between the artist and their fans. By connecting on Messenger, fans subscribe to news and information directly.


Their willingness to receive such updates is proven constantly through sky high open rates of 90%+. At POP we regularly see Messenger become their  number one driver of traffic to content. Often after a week.

But when we say messaging, we mean more than pushing out text and a link to fans. A whole new range of new forms of storytelling on chat are possible. And at POP we see lots of creative opportunities there whilst avoiding the all too common pitfalls of turning it into a “chat-bot” that tries to mimic the artist, and often fails at the attempt.

The truth is, even if natural language processing was powerful enough (which it’s not!), fans are yearning a personal connection with the artists they love, not a conversation with a robot.

But thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that! It can actually be way more personal. This is something that we are doubling down on at POP. We do not overpromise the use of AI and we actually help our users navigate and understand this powerful new channel without turning it into an expensive digital marketing effort.

How? Well, we removed a lot of unnecessary features and focussed on a write-first platform: on creating meaningful conversations, not connecting the dots between elaborate features. Our platform is limitless. If you can write a story in our text editor, which is as simple as a email, you can can set-up your own story on Messenger…


While genuine, face-to-face interactions with fans are always the goal, using a chatbot doesn’t have to be any less personal. If you decide to use one, take a page from the Wombats’ handbook: customize it to fit your brand and your band. Experimenting a little with the story your bot will tell is a surefire way to integrate this emerging tool into your own engagement strategy.

And, above all, remember that chatbots should always be used alongside opportunities to interact with fans on a personal level. “A messenger bot is an artist’s opportunity to be more human and showcase more personality,” says Savage, “but it can’t replace the intimacy of going live and interacting in real time with fans.”

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