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Navigating the Digital Landscape with J.D. Tuminski

Navigating the Digital Landscape with J.D. Tuminski
J.D. Tuminski during a video call with Xposure Music

J.D. Tuminski is a master of digital marketing, social media, content, and commerce. For artists tackling the tech-forward, rapidly changing landscape, he’s an excellent resource. J.D.'s experience includes four years in Digital Marketing at Columbia Records, five years as a VP of Digital Marketing at Def Jam, and he currently spends his days running his own marketing agency, Casadei Collective, and is the Head of Projects in the U.S. for Be-Hookd digital agency.

Xposure Music’s Sydney Hubbard sat down with J.D. to talk about building a core fanbase, engaging with new technology, and the state of digital for musicians in 2023.

J.D. backstage at The Studio at Webster Hall with Mac Miller and Q, 2012

Virality: Is it a worthy goal? What should you do if you experience a viral moment in your music career?

While it is common for artists to believe that going viral is the key to success, J.D. identifies the obsession with virality as a commonly misconceived marker of success among new artists. While virality can boost an artist's career, it's arguably more crucial to build a strong fan base, communicate with fans, and advertise around releases. J.D. emphasizes that platforms like Xposure can help artists create comprehensive marketing plans to ensure their long-term success in those areas of their career.

If a song does happen to go viral, J.D. recommends that artists should immediately work on telling their personal stories and establishing themselves as versatile musicians. J.D. highlights Lil Nas X and Armani White as examples of artists who have successfully navigated viral moments by focusing on their personal narratives and expanding their musical repertoire.

Of Armani White specifically, J.D. says “He had a viral moment on TikTok, and now he is telling the story of who he is and what's next for him and not just living off that one song.”

So, if virality is commonly mistaken for a key to success, what are other (perhaps more reasonable) drivers for an artist's success?

J.D. with Snoop Dogg at his Algorithm album listening event, 2021

J.D.’s Recommendations: Build a Fanbase, Own Your Data, and Embrace Technology

J.D. advises artists to start by building a core fanbase before releasing music. Even a small but dedicated group of fans can make a significant impact. These fans can become ambassadors for the artist's music, spreading the word and driving engagement. J.D. also emphasizes the importance of owning your data and finding ways to capture it.

“I would advise an artist to have a core fan base to start. If you have no core, you’re just putting your artwork into the universe hoping anyone will stumble upon it.” 

While some artists may be resistant to embracing technology and social media, J.D. stresses the importance of having a digital presence in today's music industry. Artists can work with teams to manage their online presence if they don't want to be directly involved in the day-to-day of their social media.

J.D. with Platinum UK Artist James Arthur and current Head of U.S. Label Relations at YouTube Music, Kathy Baker
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According to J.D., artist should focus on understanding their audience demographics, gathering data, and figuring out how to engage with fans on various platforms. Owning your data and understanding your audience can provide leverage when negotiating with labels and lead to more personalized marketing strategies.

J.D. shares that artists should “Figure out ways to own your own data on various platforms, because when you're going to a third party (any social media platform) you don't really own that data” J.D. continues, “So, finding ways to capture your data, even ‘old school ways’, like email marketing on Substack, text message marketing on a platform like Community or SlickText, and digital subscriptions like Patreon, etc. where you physically download people’s email addresses and contact numbers.”

All of this not only bolsters your brand and music, but can be an important bargaining chip should a label opportunity ever arise. While many artists dream of signing with a record label, J.D. reminds them that labels are businesses, and artists must bring something to the table. Streaming numbers, live performances, and an existing fanbase can provide leverage during negotiations. Artists should also be prepared for the reality that labels have priorities and may not give equal attention to all artists, including them!

Music Videos in Today’s Landscape

J.D. predicts that music videos will continue to shift towards short-form content, such as TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Reels. Consumers are more likely to engage with on-the-fly, low-fi content than polished, high-budget music videos.  J.D. has it on good authority that short-form is here to stay, saying, “I have factual data to say that the consumer isn't tuning in to a formal music video as they once were. Spending $100,000 on a music video isn't 100% necessary in 2023 and beyond.” He adds, “There are ways to bring that into the short form video side of things, whether it's TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Reels, Triller or wherever you wanna be. I think people are resonating with more on-the-fly, low-fi content nowadays versus highly polished content.”

J.D. means business when it comes to talking about digital marketing, new technologies, and the state of the music industry today. On the other hand, he appreciates a good time. Just ask Beyonce, who he had the opportunity to party with at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square. When we asked him for another one of his great industry tales, he smiled and said, “The team behind 2 Chainz is one of the best I’ve worked with. He and his team put together a retreat and we created a really special campaign out of that weekend. You know, we all wound up at Magic City together for a little team bonding. So that was a fun experience that I'll always remember.” 

J.D. with Grammy Award Winning artist Lecrae at Clemson University, 2017

Connect with J.D. Tuminski on Xposure Music and follow him on Instagram @jdtuminski


J.D. Tuminski
Digital maestro with a 14-year track record in entertainment, crafting tailored strategies for artists like J. Cole and Justin Bieber across social and streaming platforms.


Sydney Hubbard
Ex-CAA artist development team member with management expertise. Contact me for advice on engaging booking agencies, hiring a manager, and establishing a personal brand.

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