How a pub act can independently take on the international music industry

Thanks to the power of social media, the tide has turned. Even the smallest of artists can now compete with the biggest brands in the international music industry by staying consistent and on top of the latest trends. Two of the best examples of this are Sam Thomkins and Tai Verdes.


Sam Thomkins was a busking artist in Brighton when his organic campaigns began. One day he uploaded a sentimental video of himself from years ago, in an effort to provide a strong message and story behind his music. He followed this up with reel after reel of different locations around his home city with the same catchy line from his song playing and the lyrics on the screen.

Each reel brought more and more engagement and audience interaction, and before long people were asking him to provide different versions of the song, with acapella, guitar, and live versions all uploaded, bringing even more engagement.

Eight weeks before his song ‘Lose it all’ was to be released, Sam had a goal: for his videos to be seen by the people in his target audience 7 times before the song was released. He continued to engage with the reactions and requests to different variations, and even started to add humour to his song promotion.

One the song finally came out, his engagement had increased 30-fold with over half a million instagram followers. His song gained over 3 million plays and an army of monthly listeners. All of this through the power of social media alone, without a single penny of budget or professional assistance.

Tai Verdes was sleeping on a friend’s couch when he started posting daily songs on Instagram and TikTok. His goal was to get signed and start playing shows around the world, so he began posting himself playing every day. Some were original songs, some covers, but he posted with dedicated frequency to get his face on as many people’s phones as he could.

For one of his early posts, playing an original song, Tai decided to write the caption “If this gets 1000 likes, I’ll put the song out tomorrow.” and hit ‘post’. He described what happened next:

“I was gonna put the song out anyway, but after I got home it had ended up getting over 80,000 likes, and it just kept building and building.”

Tai’s song had gone viral. Strategically he used the power of social media and his fan base in order to start selling merchandise and tickets to small shows so he could leverage a great deal with a record label, which is exactly what happened. The label took over the PR and brand deals, allowing Tai to concentrate on producing great music. Social media got him noticed, and put him in a position of strength as an up and coming artist.

Do we recommend everyone do it alone like Sam and Tai? Absolutely not, a team of industry professionals behind you will speed up your progression to a full-time musician. But is it possible for the underdog to succeed alone? Sam and Tai showed that absolutely it is.

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