If you've read The Viral Garden for any amount of time, you know that one of my passions is discussing music marketing. And ironically, these posts, which are among my favorites, almost always receive little or no comments. They get a few links, but as far as community feedback, there's not much there. But again, I love them, and I guess the blogging lesson here is that you have to provide content that your readers find value in, but you also have to write about YOUR passions as well.
Now that the spontaneous sermon is out of the way...there's several music marketing-related stories I've read recently that I wanted to touch on;
1 - Universal is experimenting with selling DRM-free music online. But perhaps the bigger story is, it won't be via iTunes, but instead through Rhapsody. The 'experiment' will begin next Tuesday, and run through the end of next January. Amazon and Google could be added to the mix, according to HypeBot. HypeBot also has a great quote; "DRM Free Won't Save the Industry, But it Empowers Those That Can".
2 - I've been spending some time with Facebook recently, as I think everyone has. I'm starting to get the hang of the applications, but I still haven't found a music application that I like. I saw that Paul has added a widget from Apple to his blog that shows his iTunes purchases. But what I'd like to do is add an application that will let users preview, download, and BUY the music. Does such an application exist? And what about downloads, would any music that is podsafe be ok for downloading? Several of Nettwerk's artists have podsafe music, as I've blogged before TheDonnasMedia has a boatload of downloadable music from the band. I would think this music would be ok in such a situation, but not sure. I'd like to add music only from labels and artists that support podsafe music, and again, give visitors the ability to buy the music. Anyone know if anythng like this exists? Maybe Terry and Erin can create such a widget for Nettwerk's artists.
3 - If you haven't checked out Christine Kane's blog, start now. And then check out how many comments each post is getting. I think this shows why a blog works so well for music artists; because fans want more contact and exposure to their favorite artists. Christine is able to use her blog not only a promotional vehicle, but perhaps more importantly as an avenue to get to know her fans, and let them get to know her. The blog does a great job of putting Christine on the same level with her fans, and that's very powerful. It converts casual fans into evangelists, and encourages casual readers to become fans. This is a great case-study for using social media to build and excite a fanbase.
4 - Love this quote from newcomer Kate Walsh, who literally recorded an album in her producer's basement and raced to the top of the UK iTunes chart, almost exclusively due to online exposure; "Instead of raising your price and selling fewer albums, reduce it and get more people listening to the music,” she explains. “It makes sense.” Bingo. The quickest way to sell more music, is to expose as many people as possible to it.
5 - A story on how obscure bands are getting their push from blogs. The article, as most MSM entries do, focuses on how exposure via one of the bigger music blogs can catapult an unknown band into the blogosphere's consciousness. But the truly untapped power of the blogosphere as a music marketing tool, is in reaching out to the average blogger with the average readership that is VERY passionate about music. You don't have to target a StereoGum or Pitchfork with a million hits a month. Artists would be MUCH better served to go after music fans that have a few hundred or thousand readers a week. Why? Because unlike the big boys, these bloggers have a vested interest in promoting artists that they are fans of. If I were with the marketing dept with any label, one of the first things I would do is make a list of every blogger that's a fan of the artists I promote, and I would reach out to them ASAP. Doing this is basically empowering evangelists to be themselves. Oh did I mention it's free?
UPDATE: Two of my favorite bloggers, and two of the smartest, Jackie and CK, both blog about control, and giving people your product on THEIR terms, not yours.
Tags:The Viral Garden, Music Marketing