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I’m not sure what sparked me to start thinking about this idea today, but here it goes.  Will there come a point in time where people won’t go to concerts anymore but will be able to stay home and watch them streamed on their TV?  I think so.  YouTube has become extremely popular, to the point where it is being used as it’s own verb now (like Google.)  Let’s not forget other streaming sites like Hulu too.  At the same time, certain technologies are becoming more and more affordable.  These include HD cameras, HD TV’s, projectors, projection screens, and home theater systems.  I have a friend who’s family just installed a home theater system in their basement: 100 inch screen, 7.1 HD sound, HD projector and 6 theater seats.  On that system they are able to stream YouTube videos and HD movies via Netflix with the click of a button.  While Netflix movies aren’t live shows, I think we are definitely headed that way.  Would you rather go to a live show and be crammed in with a bunch of people or kick back at home with your high definition set and comfy seats?  I’m sure different people would have different answers.

When I say live shows, I don’t mean a few songs on some award show that we already see.  I mean full-length couple hour long concerts.  Only a handful of people have tried this and it was very successful.  One of those artists was U2.  They teamed up with YouTube and streamed one of their shows live, with an estimated 10 million people composing the online audience.  While this definitely is not feasible for anybody that doesn’t have a ton of money right now, I really do think that this will change in time.  Type in your favorite artist on YouTube and I’m sure you will find a ton of amateur videos that have been uploaded from their live shows.

So would streaming your concert online deter people from spending the extra time and money to come to your concert?  Probably.  But at the same time, you are opening your audience up to an unlimited number of people instead of the venue capacity.  The possibilities are endless.  Like I said, this is not something that is going to happen in the very near future.  However, as the price of technology comes down, connections get faster and people become lazier,  it is more than possible to see something like this happen.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this.  Maybe I’m just crazy?

U2 Live on YouTube
U2 Live on YouTube

Do you love FREE music?

I know I do.  Sam Vicari wants to share his musical creations with YOU.  For a limited time, his debut album Keep Careful will be offered in a digital version free of charge on Bandcamp.  Click here to go there.  Feel free to listen to and download any of the tracks you please.  And don’t forget to share the news with your friends and return to my blog and tell me what you thought about it!

How does everyone feel about giving away your music for free?  As an unknown artist, who is going to buy your album for 10 or so dollars when there are so many other things that their money would probably be better spent on in their eyes?  While you won’t make any money right away, a fan base will start building and will set up some revenue for you in the future at live shows and for future releases.  What are your thoughts?

Right?  The Nielsen Company just released a report on this topic titled Advertising Effectiveness: Understanding the Value of a Social Media Impression.

Mostly everybody has a Facebook these days.  And those of you that do, I’m sure you’ve noticed how much the “like” button is excessively used by everyone.  Even this week, they changed the “Become a Fan” option to a “Like” button.  This study examines the use of ads on Facebook and how effective they are.  Additionally, it examines the use of advertising through your Facebook friends.  There are 3 different ad types that are discussed.

1. Engagement Ad

2. Ad with Social Context

3. Organic Ad Impression

Below is a screenshot of the 3 different types.

(Source: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/social-ads.png)

Have you seen these ads?  Of course you have.  It’s the new trend.  Advertisers figured out that you trust your friends and peers when making purchase decisions.  By throwing names of your Facebook friends who like their product in the ad, it doesn’t become just another ad anymore.  Now you have a reason to click on it because your friend’s name is there and you trust them.  How many of you have clicked on these ads to check the product out because your friends name was underneath it?

Can you imagine something like this for music?  I don’t think there is anything out there that does this on a big level, but somebody tell me otherwise if there is please.  It would be so epic if something like this could be designed for music.  I know that Amazon does “recommendations,” but those are based on only your purchase habits.  If you were browsing a music website and one of your friend’s names popped up “liking” an album, I feel that you would be much more inclined to check it out and maybe purchase it.  What do you all think?  Does this type of marketing have a lot of potential for music?

I don’t remember where I was the other day, but I heard somebody talking about a new musical on Broadway.  Usually I wouldn’t pay much attention because although I do enjoy musicals, I rarely ever go to them.  However, it was two words that caught my attention and immediately pulled me in: “Green Day.”  Yes, that’s right folks.  The well-known band Green Day sparked a Broadway musical based off their hit album “American Idiot.”  I was so amazed by the fact that a band (especially a band like Green Day) could pull this off that I immediately searched for more information.  My search led me to this post on Billboard.

While as awesome as I think this whole thing is, this article makes a few key points that are directly related to marketing:

1. Things rarely turn out the way you think they will.

In this article they mention how Green Day has matured from a three-chord punk band to this rock musical on Broadway, and how nobody ever expected to see that happen.  It is important to do research and be aware that the world is changing everyday.  You can’t stick with one set way and be successful.  Things are constantly changing.  You need to always be on the lookout for new and creative opportunities to market your music.  In Green Day’s case, they are doing something that has only been attempted once before.

2. Kids are more comfortable with musicals these days.

Broadway is no doubt geared towards an older audience.  However, that may be changing.  This article points out the numerous musical shows geared towards kids that are now part of their pop culture, including “Glee” and “High School Musical.”  Broadway hasn’t made much of an effort to appeal to younger people but that may need to change in my opinion.  Green Day’s “American Idiot” show is helping that shortcoming.

3. Always be aware of your target market and adjust it if need be.

While a little unrelated to the “American Idiot” show, this point still has to do with rock musicals.  During the “Rock of Ages” show on Broadway, they did some audience research and found out that almost half of their crowd had never been to a Broadway show.  Luckily, they realized this and understood that the traditional marketing techniques would not be sufficient for this show.  It would have been bad if they didn’t realize this and continued to rely on their “standard” marketing.  This raises some questions.  What motivated the audience to come to that show?  How did they find out about it?  These are all questions that need to be examined and thought about a lot for every plan you put together.  In the case of the “Rock of Ages” show, they realized that women were the primary ticket buyers.  To take advantage of this, they used the power of the Internet and worked with mom blogs to get the word out.

What does everyone think of this whole notion of a rock musical based off a single album?  Do you think it will be successful?  Who else besides loyal fans of the band might you market this to?  As you ponder those questions, I will leave you with the lyrics of the hit from the album “American Idiot.”

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
Don’t want a nation under the new media
And can you hear the sound of hysteria?
The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Well maybe I’m the faggot America.
I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.
Now everybody do the propaganda.
And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.
One nation controlled by the media.
Information age of hysteria.
It’s calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.
All across the alien nation.
Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.
Television dreams of tomorrow.
We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.
For that’s enough to argue.

Bandcamp Vs. The Rest

It’s common knowledge that music sales right now are shifting more towards digital downloads.  CD’s will soon become a thing of the past.  Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is irrelevant right now.  Since this trend is occurring, we need to figure out how to best take advantage of it for music marketing purposes.

Over the years many new music websites and services have emerged, allowing artists to sell their music to the public via the Internet.  The giant of them all at the moment is iTunes.  Another one worth mentioning is Amazon.  While these services are big and very popular among consumers, artists consistently make the mistake of thinking that these are the only outlets available to them.  Their new album comes out and they think it automatically MUST be on iTunes or nobody is going to buy it.  I’m here to tell you today that these are NOT the only outlets available to artists.  While there are many others, I am going to talk specifically about one.  This is going to sound like an advertisement for them, but those aren’t my intentions at all.  I was so impressed by their service that I wanted to share it with everybody.

Bandcamp is a website designed for artists to upload their music themselves and distribute it. It has a ton of great features that I will go through and discuss, and best of all, it’s free!  Some of the features:

1)  Formats Galore!

Bandcamp offers your customers the choice of your music in 8 different digital file formats.  These include mp3 320k, mp3 VBR High, mp3 VBR Low, FLAC, ALAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC High and AAC Low.  I’m not going to go into the technical side of things with what each of those mean, but you should just realize that this choice of formats is something I’ve never seen offered on any other website.  If your customers don’t know what these mean either, they can just choose the “standard format” which gives them mp3 320k files.  All the artist has to do is upload their album as lossless audio files and Bandcamp takes care of the rest of the conversions.

2)  Price Flexibility

The price of the artist’s album is entirely up to them.  They can let fans download it free of charge, have a specific dollar amount, or do the now famous “name-your-price” option (with a minimum amount set by the artist) that allows fans to pay what they want.

3)  Packages

Bandcamp allows artists to sell both their physical and digital merchandise side-by-side or even together.  You can create special packages that allow fans to buy something physical and something digital at the same time.  The physical will obviously be shipped and the digital can be instantly downloaded right then and there.  Just think of the marketing opportunities for this.  “Buy this album now and receive a poster free!”

4)  Download and Discount Codes

Download codes are unique.  An artist can generate one and give it out for one free download of a single or an album.  Think about the awesome opportunities you have with this.  Say your selling merchandise at a show.  You can say “buy any shirt and receive a code for a free single.”  Something like this could also work in a partnership with another artist.

Discount codes are basically the same thing as download codes, but only give a certain amount of money off the purchase.  The same concepts can apply.  You can say “for a limited time, enter this code at checkout to receive the album at half price.”  Maybe an artist can even tweet the code to all of their followers on Twitter.  The opportunities are endless.

5)  Bonus Download Items

Bandcamp allows artists to upload “goodies” that will then be distributed to the consumer along with the music they purchase.  This can include things like PDF booklet’s, cover art and videos.  This can immensely help give an album added value.  “Included for free with this download is a music video for the song (insert song here).”  Even things as simple as original lyric sheet scans can be huge for somebody that has a big following.  Again, the opportunities here are endless.

6)  Mailing List

At the artist’s request, Bandcamp can collect the e-mail addresses of everybody that downloads their music.  This can then be later used to send out updates and special promotions.

THE CONCLUSION

These features are not the only ones, just the most impressive.  In my opinion, no other service offers the amount of opportunity and flexibility that Bandcamp offers its users.  For example, to get music on iTunes you have to go through somebody else that is going to charge you a fee.  After it’s finally on, users won’t have the ability to download different file formats and artists will not have the power to set a price or give out free download codes.  Bandcamp is free and puts all power in the hands of the artist.  While it isn’t nearly as popular as iTunes and others, it cannot be overlooked when you are talking about digital music distribution and marketing.  It has an insane amount of potential and I’m excited to see what it will bring in the future.  If you have never heard of it, I urge you to go check it out right now and discover its potential for yourself.  The power is finally being handed back to the artists.  Thoughts or comments?

Position Statement

The invention of the Internet opened up so many new doors in the world of music marketing.  One of those doors specifically is blogs.  Coming in different shapes and sizes, the ultimate goal of blogs is to provide a place for the author to voice his/her opinion and for other people in the world who are interested in the subject to respond with their own.  What should follow are conversations back and forth between author and viewers, creating a sense of community.

Before the invention of the Internet, there was a big gap between artists and fans.  When the Internet came along, it helped immensely to bridge that gap by allowing a more personal connection between the two sides.  I invite you to follow me on my journey as I explore and use this technology of the Internet and blogs to market a recently released album.  Please add your own input on anything you like as I truly value the opinions of others.

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Sam Vicari (pronounced Vih-care-ee) of Crown Point, Indiana recently released his debut album Keep Careful. The album was recorded by Mike Lust at Chicago’s Phantom Manor recording studio in January of 2009.  Neil Hennessy of The Lawrence Arms and The Smoking Popes played drums on the album.  Keep Careful was officially released almost a year later on January 19, 2010 and celebrated 3 days later with a CD release show at Cal’s Bar in Chicago, IL.  Sam’s musical creation contains 10 honest, sincere and truthful tracks:

1.  Reasons

2.  Things I Say

3.  Stare At My Maps

4.  Like An Island

5.  Please Come Around

6.  Gain My Pride

7.  Driveway

8.  No Patience

9.  Sleep When You Want, Wake When You Please

10.  Where Will We Go From Here

Keep Careful is by no means just another album in the endless sea of music.  It has a great number of qualities that distinguish it from other albums in the market.  Jenna Slesinski of Guerrilla Music Review shares that the album has an obvious cohesion throughout, showing more thought and craftsmanship than just having an overly technical piece.  Cohesion is something that seriously lacks in the market and is something that the target market really needs.  Keep Careful moves smoothly from one song to the next, making emotions flow and telling a story throughout.

Aside from the cohesion aspect, the music itself is solid in every part.  Jenna Slesinski explains that the album doesn’t beat you over the head with any one component of music.  It achieves a great sonic balance between aggressive guitar and sincere lyrics.  The Windy City Times/Bent Nights describes Sam’s voice as pure innocence.  “His voice is kind of a cross between the sweet natured burble of Buddy Holly and the aching arc of Harry Nilsson.”  However, despite his lyrics being truthful and sincere, his “jangly guitar accompaniment erases the possibility of him turning into a sweet baby wimp.”

One last great aspect of Keep Careful is the songwriting itself.  All reviews of the album agree that excellent songwriting shines through with flying colors.  Again, Jenna Slesinski of Guerilla Music Review states that Sam creates virtual worlds with lyrics inside of his songs that are completely relatable and follow you throughout the entire day.  This is something that the target market is in need of.  Most of the music in the target market doesn’t have excellent songwriting that completely immerses you.  It may have catchy hooks, but that’s as deep as it goes.

All of the things mentioned above give strength to the statement that Sam and his album Keep Careful are different from others in their market and satisfy the needs of that market.  Now that we have those in our minds, let’s take a look at exactly who the target market is for this product and break it down.  Keep Careful speaks to a target market of males and females between the ages of 21 and 35.  Their hobbies and entertainment include buying music and attending shows.  They tend to make more affordable choices, whether it is with small things like food or with larger things like vacations or the cars they buy.  Some publications they tend to read include music magazines Spin and Mojo.  Lastly, they are very technologically adept, relying on it a lot in their daily lives.

Of course both myself as a marketer and the product are going to have a number of competitors.  The biggest competitor I will have is other marketers trying to promote other albums within the same target market.  This is when I’ll have to step up my game and be creative with the ways I market.  I believe that this blog and the Internet will allow me to do that effectively and efficiently provided I make the most of it.  The biggest competitor to my product will obviously be other albums that are targeted towards the same market.  There are an endless number of them and they are available in so many different places.  For starters, go on iTunes and just browse.  You could be there for days looking at other albums.  While this is obviously an issue, my product has a great number of things that the others don’t, as mentioned above.  This means that Keep Careful will have the power to shine and stand out once it gets the needed exposure from the creative ideas I come up with.

With all of that said, this blog is sure to be a wonderful experience for me.  I plan to keep this up to date with everything I’m doing and things I come across that are either interesting or really helpful.  I don’t want this to be just about me though.  I want to provide the world with what I have learned but I also want to learn from the rest of the people in the world.  Please don’t hesitate to share your input and create a conversation about any of the topics on this blog.  As I said at the beginning, I greatly value everybody’s opinions and think that knowledge is strength.  Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from you soon.

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