The place of QR codes in music promotion

Business methods are constantly changing and evolving. For example, thirty years ago it was impossible to imagine such a rapid and direct spread of information worldwide. Today, using modern technology, it is possible to make significant progress in popularizing your brand and, as a result, in generating more sales.

QR codes are one such technology. You can see them everywhere – in restaurants, on packages of goods, in outdoor advertising, and even on TV. The music industry is not an exception and can benefit from them.

Useful features of QR codes

QR codes were invented in Japan by the Denso Wave company in 1994 for more convenient cataloging of car spare parts at the Toyota factory. Since then they have undergone some changes, mainly related to the amount of information stored in them. Over the years, their scope of application has grown considerably (especially dramatically after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic).

Today’s QR codes have a number of properties, which can also be used in the music industry:

  • Ease of scanning. Any Android or iOS smartphone is capable of scanning them with the stock camera app.
  • Different data types. QR codes can contain text, audio and video information, links, etc., which will be discussed further in the article.
  • Changeable content. Information in dynamic QR codes can be modified keeping their appearance.
  • Design capability. You can change the colors, shape of elements, and add a logo to make the code part of your concept.
  • Trackability. Functions to collect information about the number of scans, their time, place, and device are available.
  • Cheapness. The production of QR codes has a low cost in comparison with most marketing technologies.
  • Сreation simplicity. QR code generators almost completely automate the process, requiring you to perform only a few straightforward steps.

Applying QR codes in the music industry. 7 Examples

Enhancing print advertising with media

  1. Print advertising (banners, posters, flyers, etc.) has not gone away and still plays an important role in advertising products or events. In the case of the musical theme, it would be appropriate for the interested person to listen to a fragment of the corresponding audio or see a promo video at once, without leaving the poster. QR codes are able to contain such information, which will be at once opened in the player of the cell phone while scanning.
    This approach significantly increases the chance that a potential fan won’t simply forget to get acquainted with your materials “later”. Plus, it will increase traffic to your music, making it preferable to search algorithms.

  2. Facilitating registration for the event
    Naturally, you are interested in high attendance at your concert. And, accordingly, you need to collect as many registrations for it as possible. Event QR codes are just what you need. They can be placed both on physical and electronic promotional material.
    When scanning such a code, the user is redirected to the registration page, which greatly speeds up the process. It is possible to immediately save information about the date and time of the event in the phone calendar.
    Also, if the concert is held in some small venue, which is not widely known, it will be appropriate to use a Google Maps QR code. The direction will be instantly plotted by the navigator.

  3. Ensuring ticket authenticity
    Though dynamic QR codes are superior to their static variants in almost all respects, there is an application of the latter ones as well. In particular, this applies to large volumes of the same type of tasks, such as the concert tickets’ authenticity element. These are not created one by one manually, but all at once – with the help of an automatic program.
    This even eliminates the need for mandatory ticket printing (QR codes are perfectly scanned directly from the screen of a mobile device). And whether it’s a real ticket, a fake, or a duplicate one, can easily be determined by the corresponding software.

  4. Increasing recognition and media presence
    Another effective QR addition to the banners is Social Media QR codes. Their peculiarity is about containing links to several networks (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that you want to place. A quick and easy way to grow your audience.
    An interesting way to use these codes is to place them directly on stage during a performance, perhaps with a projector. This will especially appeal to performers when the event they are performing at is not all about them. For example, at festivals or multi-group concerts in clubs. Attendees can quickly scan the code, sign up, and continue to enjoy the action.

  5. Encouraging loyal fans
    Fan interest is often not limited to listening to music on the Internet. They buy CDs, clothes, and souvenirs dedicated to their favorite artists, and they do so repeatedly. Therefore, a QR code with a discount for the next purchase will be pleasantly welcomed.
    A code leading to the download of an electronic version of the album (possibly containing bonus tracks) can be placed on the discs. Or one that, when scanned, will display the lyrics on your phone without the need to download the page with a browser.
    On merch dedicated to concerts or festivals, place a QR code that will lead to a YouTube channel with videos from these events. Recall that you can change the content of dynamic QR codes. So, you can print the codes before the concerts, and then fill the channel with videos.

  6. Integrating with television
    Often a person who has seen a music video on television wants to become more familiar with the artist’s work. Or, while watching a movie, one wonders what song is playing at the time. It is not necessary to use Shazam or Google to do this. The QR code, shown in time in the corner of the screen, will immediately redirect to the page for listening to (and buying) the corresponding song/album.

  7. Distributing music through streaming
    In addition to all the above, QR codes are a way to share music in streaming services. Just encrypt in them the links to the song/album/playlist of Spotify, Google Music, or other services of this kind. Some of these companies (Spotify, for example) have gone even further, implementing the native creation of the corresponding QR codes right in the application.

Thus, we have determined that QR codes are widely used for the promotion of music. Having a number of advantages in comparison with other marketing tools, they have confidently taken their place. That said, we’re not trying to talk you into limiting yourself to them by rejecting everything else. On the contrary, everything is good in moderation and in a successful bundle. So whether you’re a performer, a team, an agent, or a label, try using QR codes if you haven’t already!

— Featured photo by Flickr user eepaul, Creative Commons.