Def Jam Senior Director of Marketing Justin Duran Talks Leveraging Data on the Co.Lab Sessions Podcast

Erica Campbell / September 8, 2021
From the importance of active social engagement to how selling merchandise can be a powerful way to understand fans, director of marketing Justin Duran explains how artists can use data to connect with their audience.

On this episode of the Co.Lab Sessions podcast, Justin Duran discusses how data can give artists the insights they need to find and engage with new fans. Justin is a Sr. Director of Marketing at Def Jam, where he's worked with Logic, Alessia Cara, and even on Justin Bieber's album Justice.

Here, Justin shares an approachable breakdown for artists interested in leveraging social insights while explaining how engagement with current fans is key to better understanding how to reach new audiences. He also talks about how selling merchandise to fans can be a surprising data goldmine and how artists can use the data available to them without falling prey to information overload. Listen to the episode and check out some of Justin's key takeaways below.

Highlights from Justin Duran's Co.Lab Sessions episode

Pay attention to engagement and know what you're doing is enough

We live in a data information revolution. There's so much information available now in comparison to any artists that came before you. Artists need to understand when it comes to social media, and when it comes to tracking data, just be comfortable in knowing whatever it is that you're doing is enough. Everything you do beyond that point is just you informing your decision-making. So for social media, it depends on what kind of artist you are, and what your goals are. You have to start there. Everything needs to be tailored for the artist, specifically to their genre, to their fans, and probably more importantly to their personal ethos, what they believe in. If an artist is comfortable with turning on [Instagram] Live, or tweeting 10 to 15 times a day, or doing something that may be fun to them on TikTok, then yeah, do that. And pay attention to engagement. I think those are the key metrics.

Get to know your real fans by selling merchandise

If you want to know who your true fan is, if you actually have a legit or real fan base, put a piece of product out. Sell it for even one dollar. You'll find out immediately, who is your real fan. Because you could be studying that 200,000 listens. Out of that 200,000, if 20 people bought a piece of merch from you, I'd personally recommend studying those 20 people the most. That is a data goldmine because that consumer has experienced and interacted with your music that's basically free, assuming they have a subscription to Spotify, that person has made a conscious decision to buy a product. When you make that decision, that is a super fan. You want to cater to that superfan. You want to understand that superfan.

Active engagement is more important than follower counts or views

It's not necessarily how many people view or how many followers you have. I think it's about how many people are actively engaging with your content. I think that's always a better indicator than numbers. Developing artists, emerging artists, artists that are starting their careers, or artists that are trying to gain their footing with social media, tend to get overwhelmed with artists that are doing really well in a certain social media platform, or even on Spotify. Don't be overwhelmed by anybody that's in the 99th percentile. Just do what you do, what makes you most comfortable.

Listen to more Co.Lab Sessions podcast episodes about building your team, creating a scene around your music, protecting your career and more.

Spotify for Artists helps you to develop the fanbase you need to reach your goals.

Erica Campbell / September 8, 2021
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