Category Archives: Branding, Promotions & Publicity

Online Music Marketing – step by step plan by Ian

I came across this brilliant pdf report by Virgine Berger about a month ago that sets out a blueprint for your online music marketing and asked her if we could pass it on to you for free.

She was happy to let our readers have it, but we didn’t get round to posting it until now as we are still busy redesigning the site and preparing more great stuff that we will be adding when we have the makeover – we’re hoping that will be at some point in September. Thanks for putting up with our delays. Oh, and I am on holiday a lot with my kids too!

Social Media Strategy Map 300x255 Online Music Marketing   step by step planSo, when I read the pdf, I was very impressed. It covers all the things that you should be doing for music promotion online – why MySpace still counts, how to use Twitter, what Facebook can and can’t do for you etc. More importantly, it ties together all the strands that you need to be providing to your fans.

You can get your copy of Virginie’s report here –  ‘What is a good digital music Strategy’ pdf.

Why should you listen to Virginie?

Well, she is the former head of marketing for MySpace France. Now she works as a music marketer and with more than ten years in the entertainment industry (television channels, radio broadcast industry and digital music industry), she knows her stuff backwards.

SOURCE:
Online Music Marketing – step by step plan

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Real Talk: It’s time to reevaluate the way we engage music consumers

 

French anti-P2P law cuts back pirating, but music sales still decline.  France has one of the strictest anti-piracy laws in the world, with a 3 strike and you are out model, it is a heavy deterrent to stay away from P2P sites and Torrent sites.  Despite the success and cracking down on illegal downloading music sales continue to decline.  Is this simply a “give it time” factor or is there something deeper and more basic reason why music sales continue to decline?

I believe that this is proof that piracy is not the only reason for music sales declining. I believe music consumers now feel that there is less value in music today. As a music business community I believe we now have to find ways to once again add value to music and engage fans on a more personal level. Piracy absolutely added to the music sales decline BUT I believe the quality of the music and way music consumers are engaged needs to be reevaluated.

Some music consumers I have spoken with feel that the music industry indeed is saturated with bands and new artists, yet do not feel they have an opportunity to get to know the artist or band.  Some music consumers feel that the quality of the music being presented and released is too “cookie cutter”, no innovative sounds or artists are being given an opportunity or marketed (yet alone developed) as the emphasis has been placed on “product development”.

I feel the music realm is saturated but it is mainly due to the increase of independent musicians, bands and artists – good and bad, and the easy of reaching the music consumer through technology.  I agree with music consumers that we the consumer do not know who the artists are, not enough time has been invested in making the artist a household name and something the consumer can relate to, which is bad because besides wanting to be entertained by the music the music consumer wants to be engaged and given a more personal connection as well.

In an era in which is easy to reach music consumer through a variety of mediums the record companies need to remember that artist development isn’t only about perfecting a diamond in the rough but ensuring that the diamond absolutely shines in every way in order to get deep rooted fans to follow and support the artist, a/k/a the product and brand.

According to a recent Neilsen Sound Scan report, sales are up in 2011, but in digital format as physical forms of music continue to slide in decline.  In the mix of trying to keep up with technology and social media trends and music deliveries the concept of providing value to physical sales has been sidelined, and this is a terrible idea.  Sure record companies and artists are no longer seeing physical sales as their bread and butter, with 100,000 -to- 200,000 physical record sales being considered good according to today’s standards versus 500,000+ physical sales in yesterday’s music industry.  Has the music industry just given up on trying to bring prominence to physical sales in lieu of taking the easy way out of low to no cost manufacturing of digital music in hopes that it will eventually replace physical products and generate enough revenue to compensate the loss of CD sales?

What do you think? I’m interested in hearing your perspective as a music consumer, as a music industry person and just as a spectator in general. DO you purchase physical product – i.e. CD’s, t-shirts, posters and other merchandise or do you solely purchase (I hope you do) digital music? Do you feel you are missing out on anything by purchasing music in digital format – i.e. liner notes, physical tangible CD and etc?

SOURCE:
French anti-P2P law cuts back pirating, but music sales still decline.

U.S. Music Sales Down Just 1.3% In First Quarter, According to SoundScan

Nielsen SoundScan 2011 midyear report: Music sales up for a change

SoundScan Releases Complete Report On 2011 Music Sales

Music’s lost decade: Sales cut in half



There’s More to a Free Music Campaign than Free Music…

You’ve done it again. You’ve given away a free track from your latest album. It’s on your website. You’ve talked about it on Facebook. Job done, you think. Well think again.

There’s no doubt about it. Free music is a powerful marketing tool. However, the music industry has become so over-saturated with free music that we’ve become desensitized to the process of consuming, promoting, and thinking about the importance of free music. This age-old debate has become, well, old.

I was lucky enough to revitalize my thoughts on the topic recently when I met the artist Derrick N. Ashong who launched the “Million Downloads Campaign” earlier this year. The aim of the campaign is simple – To give away one million downloads of songs and remixes from the new album AFropolitan by Derrick N. Ashong & Soulfège by Christmas 2012. So far the campaign has been such a success that Derrick witnessed over 20,000 downloads in one month.

“How?” I hear you ask. Well, Derrick did something a lot of artists are forgetting to do – he planned, strategized and philosophized over the process beforehand. So take a step backwards, and consider the following….

Define Your Purpose

Before you even contemplate giving your music away for free, you need to define your goals. We know you want to increase your fan base and drive awareness to your latest musical offering, but you need to be MORE SPECIFIC. How many downloads would you like to achieve? By what date? If your fans know your goal and timeline they may be more willing to help you spread the word. Use your previous download statistics as a benchmark. You can also try something like “If I achieved 5,000 downloads by my 30th Birthday it would be the best b-day present ever!!” You’ll be surprised by how specifics motivate people.

Your goals don’t have to be just physical either. Philosophical and creative goals are just as important. Derrick N Ashong’s goal is to create a movement that connects people around the world; to create a grassroots campaign that will break a band without a corporate label; and to make a statement in the music industry. He explains “We wanted to show that a committed group of creative people can put the power of music back in the hands of artists and fans where it belongs. In the end, we’ve said from the time we started this band that this is about more than just music…it’s a movement.”

Have a Story

Fans aren’t going to listen to your music just because it’s free. You need to attract attention. Nothing grabs people’s attention more than an intriguing and authentic story. Communicate the story behind your music to your fans and you’ll witness more of a reaction – what’s the inspiration behind the giveaway, and why is it important to you? Utilize all of your marketing platforms to do this – feature the exact details in a blog post or on your website and link to it in your newsletter and social networking sites.

Derrick’s story is both political and creative. “It was an election year.” He said “We’d heard a lot of heated rhetoric and some very poor ideas from a number of candidates. A number of us have worked in the political arena in the past and we wanted to leverage our skills not necessarily to sanction a given candidate, but to promote the ideas we believe in. Principles of freedom, creativity, community & empowerment. So we decided to launch a grassroots political-style campaign to “elect a band.”

Derrick had both a PURPOSE and a STORY behind his music. Most importantly he focused on what he could give rather than what he could get “ We reached out to people who had a profound & abiding belief in who we are and what we do – who feel like we are an extension of their own values & interests in the world. So by promoting our success, they are in fact promoting their own, because we articulate what they believe in, in a way they cannot necessarily do by themselves. In short, we offered them an opportunity to be a part of something that advanced their own interests by aligning those interests with ours.”

Harness Your SuperFans

Your social media platforms aren’t always enough to promote your free music. You need to move beyond your own marketing tools and harness the power of others. You can do this by enlisting the help of your superfans, who may just be a small group of close friends and family. This is where Derrick began. “We started by recruiting a small group of campaign “organizers,” each of whom committed to recruiting a team of 10 advocates.” He explains: “Every week we give a campaign action to our organizers who after taking that action engage their team of advocates in doing so too. Using this method, we took a small group of people and rapidly amplified their voices to reach many more.”

Derrick’s superfans are rewarded with exclusive access to the band. Most importantly, however, he has made them feel like they are part of something bigger – a grassroots movement that aims to break a band without a corporate label.

Think big, start small.

Get Something in Return

Free music should never be totally free. Derrick obviously wants to spread the word about his latest album but he has a broader purpose too. You don’t have to be as political or far-reaching as Derrick but you do need to identify exactly what you want in return for your music. An email address? A zip code? To increase your google ranking?

Identify what you want and do you best to quantify it. You need to be able to build on this free music campaign in the future.

The Take-Away

Realistically, your free music strategy can’t always be as ambitious as Derrick N Ashong’s “One Million Downloads” campaign. However, there are things you can learn from his story that should revitalize the way you think about your free music giveaways. In short:

    • Be specific about your goals.
    • Give yourself a timeline to measure your success.
    • Always make sure you are getting something in return.
    • Communicate a story to your fans to inspire an emotional connection.
    • Create memorable branding that will attract the attention of new fans.
    • Be strategic about harnessing the power of your superfan.

Remember. There’s more to a free music campaign than free music!

SOURCE:
There’s More to a Free Music Campaign than Free Music…


4 Tips For Authentic Online Engagement by Valerie Buckingham

Valerie Buckingham is Head of North America Marketing for Nokia. She has held various roles at the company since 2002 before taking over all North American marketing responsibilities in July 2011.

If you want your brand’s social media efforts to come across as authentic, you need to know what you stand for and what’s meaningful to you. In other words, authentic social communication requires you to be honest about what your brand represents, what you have to offer, where your weaknesses are, and what’s really important to your audience.

SEE ALSO: 12 Top Community Managers Share Their Tips for Better EngagementIf you’re not listening and engaging in a candid manner, you run the risk of having a message that doesn’t resonate, or worse, creates a backlash, calling into question not just what you’re trying to say via social media, but across all outbound communication channels. For a brand, that’s bad news. Here are four tips for keeping your social-media outreach authentic.


1. Focus On The Individual


Your people are your greatest asset when it comes to social media because they offer a real human perspective rather than a pre-packaged marketing message. The problem is social media can get stripped of its authenticity by strict brand guidelines that mandate an omniscient company voice. Instead, imbue your social channels with the many unique individuals who work for the company.Think of your audience in the same way. Don’t assume that they are a homogenous mass. This will help you develop a social communications plan that takes into consideration whether this audience is just getting to know your brand or if they are loyal followers. As individuals, we speak differently to different people. Remember that a brand is no different.


2. Listen Up!


It’s impossible to tap into sentiment without a system for listening. As brand communicators, we need to constantly have an ear out for changes in the consumer landscape and be tuned into what’s important to our audience.For example, a key group influencing the tech industry is millennials, which loosely includes consumers born between 1980 and 2000. You might think you already know it all when it comes to millennials: that they’re all rebels, that their values are vastly different from their parents, and that they’re obsessed with changing the world. In reality, when you listen to young people today through research, you find that they defy those traditional stereotypes. Today’s millennials actually admit they love their parents and list them as friends on Facebook. They have no strong desire to leave home. They’re not even skewed liberal. This new generation is also questioning consumerism more than ever before, and they’ve proven to have very little brand loyalty. Most importantly, they’re currently defining what is real, cool, and interesting. That’s why listening is crucial.


3. Keep It Real


Today’s millennials are not just good at figuring out what’s authentic, they can also spot what is inauthentic from a mile away. Having grown up in the Internet age, they expect brands to talk to them with a real voice, and they’re not afraid to engage them in a public forum.One great example of authenticity in action is a program recently run by airline KLM. KLM kicked off their social media program by asking, “What do we know to be true about how people interact with our brand?” The conclusion: people waste a lot of time in airports.

Starting with that simple truth, KLM set their campaign up for authentic direct-to-consumer engagement. They decided to surprise passengers that mentioned their KLM flight via Twitter or Foursquare. The teams used social media profiles to learn a little more about these travelers, enabling them to respond with appropriate perks such as a travel book for the hopelessly lost or a sports watch for the casual runner. These random acts of kindness took a little more effort than generic communications, but the response was rewarding. Travelers were only too happy to share their KLM experiences online with others. And let’s face it, what’s more authentic than consumers speaking on behalf of your brand? So don’t be afraid to change your message to suit your audience’s real needs and desires. Then reap the rewards.


4. Follow This Guiding Principle


Given the speed of social media, your message can go from trusted to falling out of favor in the blink of an eye, and it could all hinge on what you say next. That’s why the number one thing you can do to ensure authenticity and trust when connecting with fans, customers, and partners is to think about what your message means to them.Image courtesy of iStockphoto, akinbostanci

SOURCE:
4 Tips For Authentic Online Engagement


Roc-a-fella Records/DefJam A&R


4 steps to take to market yourself as an independent artist

Disc Makers and TAXI present “Achieving Success With Your Music: Hard-hitting tips on marketing, A&R, record labels, and more”


Top 10 Music PR tips for Today’s Unsigned Artist

As an unsigned artist, publicity is a huge driving force when you’re looking at success in the music industry. Although it’s definitely beneficial to retain a publicist once you have your music career in gear, you can still manage to create a little buzz on your own in the meantime. Below are the top ten tips for generating your own publicity as a music artist. 1. Make sure you have a press kit that includes a well-written bio, an 8X10 photo, CD and contact info.
2. Go local. Local press is by far the easiest press to get. Let them know your story and send in a CD. Shoot for the music editor or columnist and if they don’t have one assigned specifically, contact the entertainment editor.
3. Social networking sites are all about music these days. For example, Myspace’s reach is incredible for gaining new fans. Where else can you find people to listen to your music in the convenience of their own home? Make sure you are updating your music, adding friends, keeping them all posted, and updating the tour dates. There are magazines on Myspace looking for music to feature all the time.
4. Radio is a great way to share your music with the masses. You don’t have to approach the big ones—you can see success with air play on smaller stations as well. Send in your CD to local DJs and look up college radio shows nationally and see if they’ll spin your music. Online radio is picking up these days too… USA4Real.com is a great option… it doesn’t cost much and it gets your music heard.
5. Music licensing is a great way to make money and get publicity. Try contacting some music supervisors on TV shows for a start. Send them an inquiry with your information and a link to your music. If you get placed, you can use it for press—and it becomes a story!
6. Music websites and e-zines are always looking for music to review. Look up their websites and send emails to their editors. Tell them why you’re a fit for their magazine and ask if you can send in a CD. Again, try to make contact first… sending in a random package may be useless.
7. Youtube.com and Stickam.com are wonderful outlets to share your music. You can even upload your music videos and video tips for other artists now at Getsigned.com. Just Upload your videos HERE and they’ll be on the site in a couple of weeks when the new site re-launches! When done right, you can really start gaining a fan base. Try to do something charismatic and original. Reaching out to people online can do wonders. Create a music video, a video blog, sing an acoustic set, take a stab at some comedy– anything… Just remember, first impressions are everything.
8. Be philanthropic. Charity does wonders for publicity outreach. Find something you believe in and offer to play at their event or donate proceeds to their cause. Not only does it get you out there and give you a story angle… but it feels good to help out.
9. Send your CDs to appropriate magazines for your music’s genre. Make sure you call ahead and find out the right contact, unsolicited packages get lost in the shuffle. A good rule of thumb is to look up specific writers you feel would enjoy your music and find out how to reach them.
10. Try to book shows in different towns, that way you can easily label the cluster of shows as a tour and contact local newspapers and radio stations and offer them merch in exchange for promotions/articles.

Note that PR is about being smart and creative. It’s about finding a reason for people to care about you and your music. Sure, great music and a good look are helpful, but you also need to reach out to the public and come up with stories. Think outside of the box and you’ll really benefit from the results in no time. Good luck!


What is a Publicist and How Does a Publicity Campaign Work?

Curtis Smith, the head of Maelstrom Music and Maelstrom Music PR, walks us through the various ways that a publicist gets attention for an artist in the press, how a regional or national press campaign is orchestrated and what such a campaign can do for an artist’s reputation, and what publicists can and can’t do for an artist as part of their services.


What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook By Dan Rys

panel

The “Secrets to Fan Engagement” panel at SXSW Music veered from the most effective methods of online engagement (Facebook took number one, with email blasts just below it and Twitter surprisingly far behind) to the ways in which innovative marketing strategies and events can bring in new fans and press.

Moderated by The Knitting Factory marketing director Valerie Gurka, the panel consisted of ReverbNation’s Lou Plaia, Stageit CEO Evan Lowenstein, World Cafe Live talent buyer Laura Wilson, and LYVA Music founder Lynda McLaughlin.

One effective method of engagement came through Stageit’s live-streamed performance platform, where artists can sell tickets to performances that can take place in their bedrooms or kitchens, and allows them to limit tickets to provide an air of exclusivity, while video interactions with fans resonated so well that it represented the third-best method of engagement, ahead of blogs and radio. “I don’t think there’s any way to undervalue a video,” said McLaughlin.

lowenstein

McLaughlin also promoted creative events as a good way to generate buzz, noting a friend who ran an unofficial Hooker Runway party at CMJ this year that garnered press in droves, mostly because of its unique cache. “There’s no golden rule of how to do it, but it’s really powerful to do something no one else is doing,” she said.

Wilson, representing World Cafe Live from Philadelphia, also agreed, saying the her venue has positioned itself as one that often offers meet and greets and special events that bring fans and artists together, crafting that into a reputation for the venue in the process. Special event-based shows or concerts also serve as good ways to bring in diverse crowds, such as partnering with local businesses to put a new spin on a concert or help promote a show.

But the most important aspect the panel discussed was having a continuous conversation with fans, and offering them creative content that acknowledges how important they are to artists. “You have to let people know they are part of a 2-way conversation,” said Plaia.

SOURCE:
What Gets Fans Engaged? SXSW Panel Explores Methods Beyond Facebook


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