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Music Marketing: Modern C-Pop & Making Digital Waves

Music Marketing: Digitial Waves

In the dynamic world of C-Pop, artists are redefining the boundaries of music, leveraging digital platforms to connect with fans globally. In the modern age, music marketing strategies have evolved, offering unprecedented opportunities for C-Pop artists to propel their careers to new heights with chart-topping hits. This guide explores the innovative tactics that define C-Pop music marketing, featuring case studies of successful campaigns by LAY (EXO), and Higher Brothers (88rising). Stay tuned for practical insights for upcoming artists looking to promote their music in the digital landscape.

The Rise of C-Pop:

Modern C-Pop encompasses a diverse array of genres from pop, hip hop, and R&B, to fusion blends of traditional Chinese music with contemporary influences. With the rise of digital platforms and social media, C-Pop artists have unprecedented opportunities to reach fans across borders and cultures. Artists like LAY and Higher Brothers leverage digital marketing strategies to connect with audiences worldwide; amplifying their voices and engaging with fans in innovative ways.

Music Marketing: Strategies for Success

Successful music marketing in the digital age requires a multifaceted approach that combines creativity, collaborative efforts, and strategic use of digital platforms. Having a unique brand is vital in modern music marketing – this can include creative, high-quality visual content such as music videos and lyric videos to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression. Collaborations with renowned artists, choreographers, and designers add prestige, elevating the artist’s brand and attracting attention from media outlets. Social media serves as a central hub for reach and fan engagement. By participating in trends and interacting with the public, artists can expand their visibility and generate a community built around their brand. This can include interactive content such as hosting live streams, and Q&A sessions, sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses into their lives, and releasing teasers and trailers to generate excitement for new music.

C-Pop Case Studies:

  1. LAY (EXO)

LAY, also known as Lay Zhang or Zhang Yixing, is a well-known name in the entertainment industry, not only known as a singer-songwriter, but also as a rapper, dancer, producer, and actor. Initially rising to prominence as a member of the globally renowned K-pop group EXO, LAY ventured into solo endeavors in China, where he rapidly gained traction with chart-topping songs like “SHEEP.” Breaking into the international scene, LAY strategically positioned himself through high-profile collaborations. This included artists like Alan Walker, Jason Derulo, and Lauv, and attending highly publicized events such as Lollapalooza, the Met Gala, and the MetaMoon Music Festival. His recent projects such as “Veil” and “Psychic” are recorded in multiple languages, fostering inclusivity among his fan base and underscoring his commitment to stay true to his roots and expand to the international market.

LAY demonstrates a nuanced approach to marketing as he navigates diverse music industries. His keen awareness of media literacy ensures his content remains trendy and resonant with his audience. He is active across multiple social media platforms, including Instagram and TikTok/Douyin, underscoring his commitment to staying connected with his global fanbase. In an increasingly modern world, LAY regularly interacts with his audience through a variety of digital platforms to enhance the personal connection between him and his fanbase. On Instagram, he hosts live streams and Q&A sessions and utilizes the broadcast channels to maintain direct communication with his followers. On TikTok/Douyin, he engages with his fan base through likes, comments, and video stitches, and participates in popular dance challenges. Fans can also sign up for automated texts from LAY. Additionally, he occasionally refers to his time with EXO, ensuring that he remains connected with his old fanbase while expanding his reach to new audiences. By embracing a diverse array of platforms and engagement styles, LAY maximizes his visibility and reach in different markets, setting him up for continued success on the global stage.

  1. Higher Brothers (88rising)

Higher Brothers is a Chinese hip-hop group, and a formidable force in the music industry, rivaling the international popularity of LAY. Inspired by acclaimed rappers like Migos, their music is a fusion blend of English, Mandarin, and Sichuan dialect. Their hits “Made in China” and “WeChat” are collaborative works with popular artists like DJ Snake and Keith Ape. These songs are known for their catchy and candid lyrics, infusing plays on popular aspects of Chinese culture with hip-hop. Their unique sound appeals particularly to the younger generation, bridging cultural divides and gaining widespread acclaim.

In terms of marketing strategy, Higher Brothers capitalized on their underground success in the Chinese hip-hop scene, strategically signing with 88rising to catapult them onto the international stage. A video was published featuring influential hip-hop figures like Migos reacting positively to “Made in China”, garnering widespread attention – a pivotal moment in their rise to international fame. This popularity led them to tour alongside renowned 88rising artists like Joji and Rich Brian, and eventually led to the creation of their own North American tour, aptly named “Journey to the West”. This not only pays homage to the iconic historical Chinese novel but also symbolizes their literal journey to the West – where they’ve captured the attention of global audiences. Higher Brothers also participates in Head in the Clouds, the annual music festival hosted by 88rising, signifying their growing prominence on the global stage. Beyond their music, Higher Brothers has leveraged brand collaborations with companies like Adidas and Beats by Dre, further expanding their reach and visibility.

Currently, the members of Higher Brothers are expanding their solo careers. Masiwei joined labelmates Rich Brian and Warren Hue, and rapper 21Savage, to collaborate on the soundtrack for “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, showcasing the rising influence of C-Pop on the international stage. He is presently making waves with his solo album “Prince Charming” and accompanying North American tour. KnowKnow is known for hits like “R&B All Night” and “Mr. Bentley ”.

Music Marketing: Empowering Upcoming Artists

For aspiring artists looking to make their mark, there are several key strategies we can consider from the case studies above. Firstly, recognizing the power of collaborations, whether it’s with other artists, brand partnerships, or events, regardless of scale. These avenues provide opportunities to reach new and diverse audiences, expanding your fan base and enhancing your visibility in the music industry.

Secondly, leveraging social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok is essential for promoting your music and engaging with fans. Media literacy plays a crucial role in crafting content that is not only trendy but also resonates with your target audience. Foster meaningful connections with your audience through live streams, Q&A sessions, and interactive challenges, and build a community around your brand.

Lastly, developing a unique brand identity is important in a digital landscape crowded with upcoming talents. Stand out with compelling and memorable branding. This requires creativity, as well as a keen understanding of your audience. Incorporating elements of your personality, style, and story into your brand, and invest in quality content that complements your music and captures the attention of viewers, whether it’s music videos or lyric videos. One strategy is to create videos of people reacting to your music. Reaction videos not only generate buzz and excitement but also provide valuable feedback on how your music resonates with different audiences.


In the dynamic world of modern music, effective marketing strategies are essential for artists seeking to carve out their niche and leave a lasting impact on the global music scene. By embracing digital content and platforms, artists can amplify their voice, engage their fans, and expand their reach globally. As the C-Pop phenomenon continues to evolve, the opportunities for creativity in music marketing are endless, promising an exciting future for artists and fans alike.

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