It is a new world order for musicians. There’s also a high degree of change in the world of radio. Expectations, though, shouldn’t be changing all that much due to the complexities of rising to the top in a still very difficult system.
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Entries in new music (5)
In a digital world where we have music such as Gangnam Style and ‘Friday’ by Rebecca Black… It’s hard not to observe that the music landscape has drastically changed in the last few decades because of the internet. But, is trying to create the next ‘viral hit’ impacting on the quality of the music of today?
Allegedly, Pandora now controls 3.6% of radio listening. This is an impressive figure, but, to me, a disturbing one. We’ve all spent the last few years touting how the Internet has changed music distribution and flattened the playing field so that everyone has equal access to distribution. Traditional terrestrial radio, with ever-shrinking playlists that contain almost new music certainly aren’t designed to appeal to a future audience, they are designed to grasp onto a shrinking past audience.
Okay I thought it was about time for another one of my ‘thinking like a fan’ posts! Last time I posted on Music Think Tank I analysed how a combination of boredom, time, and talking videos converted me into a fan of Jason Mraz, and today I’m going to analyse my most recent ‘becoming a fan experience’ – how I became a fan of a song using a combination of lyric websites, remixes, and ‘ah ah ah’ noise related Google searches.
Typically, most of what I hear about lyric websites (the sites that just list song lyrics) is pretty negative – they’re just dodgy sites set up to profit on advertising when people are practicing for karaoke, but I think there’s more to it. Truth is they’re well optimised for search engines and they’re often what appears in Google when I’m searching for a song by lyrics that I’ve heard for songs that I can’t remember the name of – that makes them pretty powerful music promotion resources.
Sometime in October I was driving to a house party in my friends car and he played a really cool song that I started humming to, I had no idea what it was, but I loved it and foolishly didn’t think to ask what it was (but if I did this blog post probably wouldn’t exist!).
Over the past several years, I’ve spent much more (non-billable) time than I should have trying to convince old-school label execs, independent artists, managers (both big and small) and others that the traditional rules don’t work any more in this new music business.
When trying to “break” a new artist independently, spending a large amount of money on radio, downplaying internet marketing and direct-to-fan communication and spending a lot on expensive videos rather than producing less-expensive but more interesting/innovative videos (e.g., the now famous OK Go treadmill video) are usually bad moves. Top-down marketing just doesn’t work any more, unless you’re a very young pop act signed to Disney/Hollywood. As my marketing friend would say, it’s all about “pull” rather than “push” marketing.
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(Updated Feb 25, 2014)