The idea was simple: Take an artist that's about to release a CD, the example I used was The Donnas, and find 100 of their fans that have a blog. Offer to send these blogging fans a copy of the soon-to-be released CD, if they will agree to review the CD on their blog(no I'm not crazy about saying that you have to review the CD in order to get it, but that was added to make the idea more appealing to control-hungry labels). The 'catch' was that the artist, in this case The Donnas, would take an hour or two and personally sign and inscribe every CD to the fan they are sending it to.
My guess was that the average blogging fan of The Donnas was already thrilled to be getting the new CD from the band, but when it arrived and they discovered it was autographed, they would go positively apeshit, and immediately blog not only about the CD, but the promotion itself. My guess was that this would result in a TON of positive exposure in the blogosphere for the CD, right before it releases. The probable impact that would have on sales was pretty easy to guess.
I had a few music labels contact me wanting to discuss how it would work, even had Marc Fisher from The Washington Post reference '100 CDs for 100 Bloggers' on the site:
Music blogs are coming up with ever more creative ways to replace the record store clerk--Mack Collier's 100 CDs for 100 Bloggers idea is an encouraging sign that music blogs may yet prove to be supportive of the recording artistsBut in the end, no label I talked to ended up following through on the idea, and I quite frankly got tired of trying to convince them that this idea would work. Hell anyone that understands how ideas travel in the blogosphere could see it was a slam-dunk winner.
Well now it seems there is research to back up the theory that blogging music fans can increase music sales of their favorite artists.
Researchers at New York University's Stern Business School charted the number of blog posts about a new CD release for a month before and a month after its release to see if blog posts about a new CD release had any impact on sales.
The report, entitled 'Does Chatter Matter?', tracked the sales of 108 CDs and discovered that there was a positive correlation between number of blog posts, and sales. Not earth-shattering, but here's more precise findings.
According to HypeBot, a new CD release that had at least 40 blog posts about it in the month leading up to release, enjoyed sales that were 400% higher than those for the average release.
A new CD release that had 250 or more blog posts about it in the month leading up to its release enjoyed sales that were 600% higher than those for the average release.
The study also found that blog posts about a new release affected sales more than how many 'friends' the artist had on MySpace. The study attempts to explain why blog chatter matters:
Our hypothesis is that blogs and social networks matter independently for the following reasons. First, we believe that a considerable amount of effort goes into writing good blogs, and their authors feel passionate enough about the topic to spend the time writing and sharing them with others. Readers recognize good blogs and pay attention to them. Secondly, while blogs are largely unfiltered, some blog sites tend to have more authority than others. In other words, reputation helps them attract traffic that is in turn influenced by their content.
This is Social Media Marketing 101: Find your evangelists online that are already using social media tools, and empower them to market for you. Maybe a few labels will actually be smart enough to try it out, now that the research backs up the theory.
But I ain't gonna hold my breath.
Pic of Velvet Revolver via Flickr User Edvill
Tags:The Viral Garden, Marketing
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