What do Elvis Presley and Kylie Jenner have in common? Not much…apart from their influence. Despite their actual talents being incomparable, one thing that connects one of the most popular personal brands of modern times (Kylie Jenner) with perhaps the most admired rock’n’roll star of all time is their level of influence; although if Elvis was around today I’m sure social media would be tripling his income. 

Who were the first media influencers?

It’s hard to determine exactly who the very first influencers were, as influence is something that has probably existed since the dawn of humanity. If Jesus was alive today he’d no doubt have a follower count comparable to Christiano Ronaldo or Beyoncè, I’m sure William Shakespear would probably have streams of women hitting up his DMs, and Isaac Newton would probably have announced his discovery of gravity via a Tweet. But that’s far back in time, so if we were to ask who were the first influencers to appear in the media during the 20th century, there’s only one real answer to that question…famous musicians. 

Think of the screaming crowds of Beatles fans in the 60s, the millions reading Elvis interviews during the 50s, or all the awe-struck people glued to their televisions swaying to Frank Sinatra performances during the 1930s and 40s. 

Since the early 20th century, musicians have been rising to fame and influencing whole populations with their dance moves, fashions and of course music. Not much has changed today, with 5 out of the top 15 Instagram influencers in the world being musical artists; the only difference now is even artists that aren’t mega-famous celebrities can still exert influence and thus gain healthy rewards without needing millions of fans. 

While artists 60 years ago had very limited options when it came to boosting their incomes, in modern times becoming a micro/mid-tier influencer is more than possible for talented artists, and hence so is their ability to earn more money. A much needed progression due to the rather problematic transformation of the music industry going into the 21st century.

The different types of influencers on social media…

This is another thing that’s fairly hard to determine, how many different categories of influencer are there? In terms of reach there are about 4-5: nano (1-10k), micro (10-75k), mid-tier (70-150k), macro (150k-1M) and celebrity (1M+). 

In terms of niche categories the list is endless. Typically, sectors like health, beauty, fashion and travel seem to churn out the most influencers. Travel vloggers on YouTube, glamour models on Instagram, and various celebrities tweeting their dress choices at the Oscars; I’m sure most people would be aware of. But if we delve a bit deeper the list is endless: gaming, visual art, sport, lifestyle, food and drink, science, history, literature (the list goes on) are all niches with thousands, if not millions of influencers across platforms from YouTube to TikTok. 

Fundamentally, anyone online that has thousands of people liking their photos, reading their blog posts or watching their videos, and caring and acting on the content they are sharing, or message they’re communicating, is essentially an influencer. And musical artists are a fast growing category who are also able to influence across multiple niches AND audience channels. 

How much money do influencers make vs most musicians?

Influencer earnings vary greatly, and are obviously determined mostly by the reach and engagement of their audience; but as a general rule, influencers can typically charge $100-200 for a timeline post per 10,000 followers they have. Nano influencers, with their much smaller audiences, don’t typically get paid with money, but instead will receive free products from brands in exchange for endorsement and exposure to their audiences. 

Micro influencers might get both, perhaps just free products with 9k followers, but with higher follower counts they’re definitely able to charge from $100 all the way up to $1000 for sponsored content. $1-15k is the mid-tier ball park, with macro influencers being able to charge 5 or even sometimes 6 figures for branded content. And of course at celebrity level we’re talking millions. 

Let’s take a micro influencer with a modest 50k followers. If they were to post branded content once a week at a typical rate, they could be earning $2000+ per month, which for the average musician is nothing more than a pipedream. But here’s the thing, musicians and influencers are not mutually exclusive, in fact many artists nowadays are inadvertently becoming influencers due to their engaged fanbases, especially at the nano, micro and mid-tier levels. 

So while most artists, even if they have thousands of fans listening to their music, are barely making upwards of $300 a month from gigging and streaming, being micro-influencers they could be topping this up by over $2000 a month, just by featuring and endorsing relevant brands in their content. That’s job done, they no longer need their frankly irrelevant day jobs and can earn a decent living completely through their creative skills and influence. Some would argue, “but that’s not making money with their music!” and we would say, “well, how were they able to gain an audience that size without great music?” It’s about leveraging their audiences and creative skills to generate income, which is essentially what artists have been doing since forever, it’s just nowadays there’s more ways to do it. And it’s also important to be aware that any major record label that signs an artist is going to have a whole department dedicated to brand partnerships for that artist.

How to find the right music influencers? 

With all the agencies and influencer marketing platforms around these days you’d think they’d be easy to find, but on most of the leading platforms there are simply not many musicians compared to other niche influencer categories, which is kinda surprising. What this means is, if you’re a company in the music sector, you’re not going to have an easy time finding an artist to sponsor in your niche with your preferred audience demographics within a reasonable budget, and that’s after you’ve paid the huge monthly subscriptions most of these platforms are charging. After all, there aren’t many musicians on these platforms, let alone any EDM, rap, or heavy metal search filters on their databases. 

It’s common knowledge that music related brands and businesses have had a fairly rough time profit wise over the last few years, and are clearly being put off by the exorbitant fees, limited options, and lack of music sector opportunities currently on influencer platforms. 

At SoundSight we’re changing that, by providing an influencer platform specifically catered to music creators and relevant brands who want to collaborate with them, in which sponsorship deals between artists and brands can be easily facilitated with just a few clicks; with our guided UI providing a leg up for people new to the influencer marketing sector, as well as an audience channel impossible to access on other platforms, live concert audiences. That’s not to say only music brands are welcome to SoundSight, as we all know that a hip hop artist would be as well-positioned endorsing an urban fashion brand than a microphone manufacturer (probably more so), or a rock band endorsing a whisky company in addition to a Gibson partnership. 

Try SoundSight for Free

We have created an influencer marketplace exclusively for music creators and the brands that want to sponsor them, so whether you’re an artist or brand, create your free account and try us out at no cost.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Create Your Free Artist Account!


Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.