Spot Emerging Musicians on Instagram with 5 Top Tips

Follow this guide to quickly improve your music scouting game.
Spot Emerging Musicians on Instagram with 5 Top Tips
Sara Mekinc

Maybe you wouldn’t think it, but Instagram is a great music discovery tool. Here’s just a couple of reasons why:

😲 1B monthly active users globally,

⏫ 60% of users – that’s over 500M – log into the app daily,

👨‍🎤 4 out of the 10 most-followed Instagram accounts belong to musicians,

🤝 Instagram has the highest engagement rates across all social media.


There's lots of people and potential out there, you only need to find it. If you know which “clues” to look for, you can use Instagram to detect rising music stars and be the first to sign them to your label or book them for a gig. 

To make the talent research process run smoother, you can use these approaches:

➡️ Dive into music-related hashtags to spot new music talent.

➡️ Explore Instagram location tags to find local music favorites.

➡️ Follow relevant profiles – music media, journalists, podcasters, venues, etc.

➡️ Check out Instagram’s “Explore” tab to see trending “Music” posts.

➡️ Use the music industry’s secret weapon: analytics.

Let’s explore the tips.

#1 Dive into music-related hashtags to spot new music talent

Following Instagram hashtags might seem like the obvious first step, but choosing the right ones can be a real game-changer. Go to the “Explore” (search) section and start typing. Try to mix popular tags such as #NewMusic with more “niche” or genre-specific ones, as you’ll get more relevant results. Follow the ones that most suit your interests and you’ll start getting top posts in your Instagram feed. 

Start by following these hashtags: #NewMusic, #NowPlaying, #NewRelease, #NewSong, #MusicVideo, #InstaMusic, #ListenToThis, #unsigned, #diymusician, #MusiciansOfInstagram, #releaseradar.

You can also include genre-specific expressions. Example: include #ableton when exploring the Electronic genre, or #fender for spotting talented Rock bands.

Also, try going a step deeper with certain hashtags to get more specific results. Example: while checking out #unsigned, also look out for #UnsignedSinger, #UnsignedHiphop, or similar tags. You get the idea. 



#2 Explore Instagram location tags to find local music favorites

Each city has popular venues or even festivals. What’s more, it has proud residents, many of them musicians. Local fans are usually very interested in local and regional happenings and like to share them, so take some time to check them out – maybe that’s how you’ll spot the new local favorite on the rise.  

Once you get to the location you’re interested in, explore the posts. You can then combine the location with the hashtags you find in the posts or comments. Location-specific hashtags are quite popular, for example: alongside “Miami, Florida”, you’ll probably also find #miamimusic, #soflo, #soflomusicscene, etc. 

Or, you can reverse-engineer it and start with, say, #SupportLocalBands, and see which locations pop up in the posts. By browsing this hashtag, we stumbled upon such indie and alternative bands as stillblue, Arid Wave, and Cool Ghouls.

Here’s how stillblue do it.

Side note: this approach will be much more relevant once the Covid pandemic is over and live gigs start popping up again. 

#3 Follow relevant profiles – music media, journalists, podcasters, venues, etc.

This one is a no-brainer. Follow the leading music media and artist profiles, and take some time to research who they are following. Names of tastemakers and influencers will slowly start popping out, and sometimes also lesser-known artists who've received support from their more famous peers. 

Go down the network path: follow them, see who they feature, explore the “Suggested” section, note the hashtags and read the comments. You might stumble onto interesting playlists, blogs or other channels where stars in the making are being discussed right now. 

Once you follow a promising lead, others pop up – check out who the profile’s following, and who the similar suggestions are. 

Your friends in the biz can also spark new ideas – follow both their posts and their Stories, as the latter can also include music tracks. Pay attention to what and who gets shared. Global hits that seem to blow up from out of nowhere usually start out this way.  

#4 Check out Instagram’s “Explore” tab to see trending “Music” posts

Instagram’s features have gotten quite advanced, so give them a shot. In your mobile app, go to the Explore (Search) section, click on the “Music” category and start exploring the top posts. You might find interesting new faces from across the world. Keep in mind, though: each individual user’s Explore page shows content that’s catered directly to their Instagram app activity. You’ll need to do some digging to eventually get past the algorithms. 

Yeah, it can get eclectic. 

#5 Use the music industry’s secret weapon: analytics

As time equals money, you might consider a tool that helps you save on both. Find rising talent in just a few minutes with a tool such as Viberate.

Viberate is the most complete music research and analytics tool for talent discovery on the market right now. We cover pretty much every music artist in the world and measure their views, likes, streams etc. on Instagram, Spotify, Beatport, SoundCloud and other relevant channels. This data is then presented in a way that makes talent discovery much easier.

Our tools make scouting and screening processes simpler and more cost-effective. You can see all the world’s artists ranked in a single browsable Chart, and compare their popularity stats in one place. 

Give it a go. Start your free trial here.


Sara Mekinc

Sara Mekinc

Content Specialist at Viberate
Avid concert-goer, a sucker for creative wordsmithery, and 100 % biodegradable. Google "melomaniac".