THE MARKETER QUARTERLY WINTER 2015 36 | MQ
THE GLORY DAYS of a music industry sup- ported by a seemingly bottomless budget of lavish record release parties, radio and television advertising and brigade of corporate publicists drumming up ticket sales at every city are long gone. Technology has been a double-edged sword: the distribution and production of music is cheaper than ever, while streaming and file-sharing has decimated revenues available for marketing resources. Artists have responded by applying their innate creativity in promotions.
“Social media and email newsletters, when used correctly, are a great way to get the word out about a new release or a gig because it is cheap marketing,” says Larry Kirwan, host of the Celtic Crush show on Sirius Satellite Radio and lead singer of Irish rock band Black 47. He often includes a unique blog or message in his email campaign to keep fans engaged as they read about upcoming shows or new releases.
Sony Music recently inked a deal with Chinese Internet company Tencent Holdings, an online gaming and social network giant, which potentially changes the digital music marketing game once again. Tencent will be distributing Sony’s music online, as well as helping the brand with campaigns, online concerts and song contests for students.
Venues now have an expectation that the artist
will partner with them to sell tickets on social media
outlets and newsletters. “Promoters nowadays in-
sist that the artist announce daily where they will be
on Facebook and Twitter, as well as post-gig shots
on Instagram,” adds Anita Daly, President of Daly
Communications, a Manhattan based publicity firm
specializing in music and television. “We offer to do
this for our clients and it begins a good month or
two before their shows. We still use traditional radio
and print outlets but we encourage them to mention
the gigs on their social media feeds as well.”
Having a YouTube presence is critical and some-
thing venues look at as they consider booking musi-
cal acts. “Venues pay attention to how many hits a
lyric video or a live performance will get and how
many followers the channel has,” Daly says. She en-
courages her clients to get personal with their fans
online, yet some artists are approaching the new
paradigm with extreme caution nonetheless.
“You know that old saying: ‘familiarity breeds contempt,’ Kirwan warns. There’s a reason why Bob Dylan and Neil Young are relevant legends today and that’s because you have a mystery there; you can’t get to them. I think there’s a danger when you just become just another friend on your fans’ feed. I never understood why some artists feel the need to tweet every time their tour bus goes a mile. Something gets lost if you’re too available.” MQ
ARE LEARNING TO
PLAY THE DIGITAL
BY MIKE FARRAGHER