College grads entering music marketing: Looking past record labels
The record industry’s dead. That’s what the news reports and the numbers support. In the traditional sense it’s true. Music labels like Sony and Warner Music Group are like dial-up modems or skorts. Their model is broken, outdated and most likely never returning to its glory days. Thankfully though, the music itself isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s becoming more expansive and infiltrating more ear canals through the use of the latest and greatest marketing strategies employed by individuals and small firms who understand that success in the industry anymore is measured in Twitter followers and YouTube views.
Artists no longer need to rely on major labels to push their work for them. It’s a beautiful thing, really. And it means a whole lot to youngsters trying to break into the competitive, relatively small field of music marketing. In the past, labels threw hundreds of thousands of dollars toward the anticipation of album launches months ahead of their release. Now, marketing lead-time is much more immediate.
Take for example, Kanye West and his GOOD Fridays. GOOD Fridays were the rapper / producer’s ingenious marketing ploy in support of his LP album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. West released free singles on a weekly basis, generating 15 tracks in all. What makes this tactic so effective is West’s understanding of the fact that consumers no longer want to wait for the rigmarole of an album launch to subside. In fact, the album as a primary moneymaking unit for an artist is no more. It’s a relic left over by labels that require artists to meet Minimum Delivery and Release Commitments if they want to see their bonuses.
[quote]Kanye may be a polarizing public figure; say what you will about him, but even Taylor Swift can’t argue that when it comes to self-promotion, the man is unmatched in his efforts. [/quote]
Upstart company Fanbridge is at the forefront of the shifting world of music marketing. Based out of New York City, Fanbridge Co-Founder and President Noah Dinkin used to manage bands before launching the “leading fan management and marketing platform for email and social media.” Dinkin now helps artists, musicians, actors and athletes to grow their individual brand by growing their fan base. The site allows users to track and update Facebook, Myspace and Twitter pages all from a single location.
Other sites like CD Baby allow independent artists to distribute their albums online without having to go through major distribution channels. At the end of the day, our Orlando video production company realizes that music has fallen back into the hands of its creators. Those creators need to be informed of the various simple yet effective outlets available to them online. That’s where the music marketer takes the reins.
Marketers today must think on their feet. They need to help license material out to various commercials and television spots. Consider how helpful the MacBook Air ad was to Yael Naim’s “New Soul.” They need to ensure that an artist is continuously present in the eyes of his/ her fans. That can mean posting behind-the-scenes videos on YouTube or Tweeting links to new songs that can be previewed on Last.fm or SoundCloud. Mostly, it’s important to remember that a stodgy old print ad in Billboard Magazine only goes so far anymore. Live streaming, mobile applications, Tumblr, Do-It-Yourself (DIY); these are but a few of the buzzwords future music marketers would do well to familiarize themselves with.