To the right here in the picture you see the Nine Inch Nails DOTS sequencer that can be purchased via the itunes App Store. It is a basic music sequencer that allows you to create a “kick snare” beat and control loops on the fly. If done correctly, one can actually re-create NIN’s Echoplex that is off of their album The Slip.
Let’s backtrack a lil bit here…
The Slip by Nine Inch Nails
- Released for free on NIN’s official website May 5, 2008
- CD was Released July 22, 2008
- Nine Inch Nails 7th studio album
- Album was released for free under a creative commons license
- Released digital through band’s official website
- Album peaked at 13 on Billboard’s Top 200
- Over 2 million digital download before CD release
- Physical release sold over 98,000 copies
So, its true. Trent Reznor headman of NIN loves his fans and his fans love him back just the same. Personally, NIN is one of my favorite bands. He is so innovative when it comes to writing music and marketing the band alike. Before selling The Slip, NIN decided to give the album away on their own official website. At that time, referring to the new album, Reznor said, “Thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years – this one’s on me”. That’s just awesome! A famous musician personally giving back to his fans.
As a fan this totally motivates me to purchase future tickets, merch, or music in the future! What a great way to utilize e-marketing!!!
Lights In The Sky Tour
During this tour NIN pushed their album The Slip hard to say the least. Echoplex was one of their songs that was part of their set. To start the song Trent touches the huge sequencer on their set to start the song. You just have to see it for yourself!
And it doesn’t stop there!
NIN also released a rehearsal session of the same song where it shows the drummer making a drum beat with a similar sequencer. You’ve gotta watch this too!
So I bet you can guess where this is heading…
On purpose NIN visually included the sequencer both live during shows and in the music video that you just watched. They did this with intention of creating a sequencer app for the iphone, sorry guys, but Droid doesn’t. Anyways, by the time the NIN DOTS sequencer app was released practically every fan was familiar with the sequence.
and this is where it gets interesting…
With the DOTS application you can totally re-create the song Echoplex. However, its not that easy. I have it on my phone by the way! Sorry, anyways when I first started playing on it I was not able to just crank out the beat and play the samples in the right order. I had to listen to the song over and over, I had to watch the live videos over and over, I had to watch the music video over and over before I actually mastered the app. Think about it, exponentially increasing the hits on your videos, which creates a buzz, which engages fans, which keeps fans engaged, and most importantly, gets records sold!!! Trent Reznor is quite the businessman and should be a model for any musician that wants to maximize their exposure! I’m not saying to devise some revolutionary app such as the DOTS.
I’m saying think out of the box and figure out a cost effective way to reach your fans (aka revenue source) and get them engaged. A street team just ain’t gonna cut it!!! Reach your fans on a personal level and secure “return customers” for life!
It is very difficult to establish your market share in the industry! This is how you will stand out!
Aaron M. Schulman
In 2012, according to a year in review report from Nielsen Soundscan and Billboard, they found that “total music purchases (physical albums, digital albums and digital songs) totaled an all-time high of 1.65 billion units in 2012, a rise of 3.1 percent over 2011“.While this is great news for the music industry, it also means that competition is growing ever more fierce between artists for a market share in a growing market. Given these facts, it is becoming ever more imperative for a band to implement a marketing mix that will give the artist the best chances for success. So “don’t fear the reaper”, if your music is good enough a proper marketing mix will ensure your band’s longevity and ultimate success.
Dont cut corners. Put forth your absolute best work. As an up and coming artist, you can only make a first impression once. Most listeners will write you off forever if they don’t like what they hear their first listen. In my opinion, your music should not be a product of your target market. On the contrary, your target market should be a product of your music. Meaning that you should not write music for anyone but yourself. There are millions of listeners that drive the music industry, be unique, be yourself, BE YOUR OWN BRAND, and push it to the limit! If your music is up to par, you’ll find your niche!
Pricing is crucial when marketing your music. The music industry is now facing a major change, as mentioned in my previous post, from CD to digital. Let’s get real here, the COGS for the CD is much more than digital. Straight up, digital music should be cheaper and you’re not going to change my mind. Do a little research about Radiohead’s In Rainbows. Radiohead released the album on their website for free download and asked their customers to pay what they thought the album was worth, if anything for all. I hate to sound like a broken record, but with online music piracy, music listeners are faced with the decision of either stealing it for free or paying for it. Your price has to be justified or people will help themselves to shoplift your art that you’ve poured your heart into. Anyways, back to the Radiohead album. It turned out that only about 2/5 of the people that downloaded the album actually put money down for it and the average person dropped about $6 bucks. I guess the invisible hand says that album was worth $6. When you consider that in the first 29 days that the album was released 1.2 million people visited their site you could imagine that Radiohead did quite well in sales. I’m not saying that you need to try and give away your music and ask for donations, this is just an example of how listeners determined what the price of an album should be. In this case it was $6 dollars which is significantly lower than the average album price for a full length album on iTunes. Achieve your cumulative profits through volume as opposed to a high profit margin per unit. This is possible through proper product placement and promotion.
Placement and Promotion
Product and placement I grouped together because we are talking about an artist’s debut effort here. A new artist simply is not going to have much capital to run an effective ad campaign, however, who said that you needed money to promote your band. You can hit two birds with one stone by putting your music on blast through social networks. At this point you’re not too sure of what exactly your target market consists of so it’s best to use a shotgun approach. Post your music anywhere and everywhere on the internet that is available! Create a buzz! I can’t stress how important it is to utilize all social media that is at your disposal. As far as actually distributing music without a record deal there is a remarkable site called Tunecore.com. You have to pay, but with payment Tunecore posts your album to the most popular digital music distributers where listeners from all over the world can listen and purchase your masterpiece! It’s priced right too, I wouldn’t be telling you about it if it was a scam!
If your new to the music scene don’t fear the reaper! Kick his ass with a kickass marketing mix!
According to Forrester Research…
In 1999 total revenue from music sales and licensing was $14.6 BILLION DOLLARS.
By 2009 total revenue from music sales and licensing was $6.3 BILLION DOLLARS
In ten years time from 1999 to 2009 total revenue shrank 43.2%
Current Situation: Optimistic
The IFPI digital music report 2013 makes 3 interesting points…
1.) “Global recorded music revenues up 0.3 per cent, boosted by downloads, subscription and other channelDigital revenues up 9 per cent, with major music services now open in more than 100 markets”
2.) “Digital revenues up 9 per cent, with major music services now open in more than 100 markets”
3.) “Music is helping fuel the digital economy, but barriers to growth need to be addressed”
The IFPI digital music report sheds some insightful light into the current health of the music industry. Global recorded revenues are up .3 per cent! That’s right, GROWTH. Before 2013, the last year that the music industry saw growth in sales was 1999. Since 1999 up until now, industry sales have plummeted. It’s not rocket science. The music industry pulled a profit this year simply because of digital music purchases and music subscriptions. CD sales, like every year since 1999, declined an additional 5% for 2012 while digital sales rose 9%.
So I hope by this time that you’ve noticed the trend. The digital sale of music is the future. Hypothetically speaking, the meteorite that crashed into the CD sales in 1998 will finally kill off every CD sale by 2019. That’s right you heard it here first, the sale of music CD’s will become a novelty by 2019. This fate is certain.
I’m quite pleased that the numbers for 2012 are pointing in the right direction for the music industry, however, we’ve got a long ways to go and we need to strive, as marketers and musicians, to make this upward curve in digital music sales as steep as we can year after year. This can all be made possible with proper e-marketing techniques and kickass music.
Don’t worry, you can count on the music being kickass, that leaves the whole industry in the hands of marketers. Marketers totally blew it selling CD’s after 1999. The marketing mix for CD’s was so screwed up during that time. 12 track albums were selling for as much as 19.99! That’s ludicrous, and it brings me to my next point. Marketers must convince consumers that there is value in buying a digital album or single because there is an alternative, digital music piracy. When a consumer is faced with making a decision between stealing a free album or purchasing one that’s over priced the consumer will most likely not purchase the album and pirate it online. There are laws in place to punish music piracy, but let’s get real here, these laws only deter piracy an insignificant amount. Without a doubt, the future of music rests solely in the hands of marketers.
How the 3 P’s of marketing should be implemented into the marketing industry:
Product: There are hundreds of thousands of artists worldwide. In a perfect world every musician would get the same amount of exposure and the invisible hand would take care of the rest, however, the world aint perfect. Marketers will be faced with the decision of choosing bands that they feel will generate the most revenue and market them the most. In doing so, market trends must be closely monitored and evaluated.
Placement: Any marketer will tell you that placement is vital. Marketers will define optimum target markets and market the music directly to that target in the most efficient and effective manner as possible. Market research and advertisement is expensive and budgets are finite. The selling of digital music makes it possible for marketers to target music fans in any area around the world where there is an internet connection.
Promotion: Most of the budget towards marketing music should go towards e-marketing. Marketing over the internet will not only be cost effective, but it will also be the most efficient way to reach potential clients around the globe. When I feel the need to bring out my heavy side sometimes I’ll throw the German supergroup Rammstein up in the tape deck. E-marketing of bands such as Rammstein keep me and users alike posted on what they’re up to.
Price: Simple, don’t get greedy and set the price where demand meets supply aka the equilibrium price and the music industry will maximize profits!
Conclusion: Be aware, the music industry is back on the come up! Support your favorite bands and don’t steal music!!!!!!!!
As I briefly touched on in my “About Me” page, the music industry is an ultra competitive market. You have major labels, small labels, independent self promoted artists, and then there’s www.tunecore.com. In reaching out to artists across the globe, Tunecore proclaims, “We put your music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and many other stores. We collect and give you 100% of the money from your music sales along with detailed streaming and sales reports” (www.tunecore.com). Basically, Tunecore offers online e-marketing and distribution services to all artists.
At this point I bet you a wondering how Tunecore is a profitable business if they let the artist keep 100% of their royalties. It’s genius. Part of Tunecore’s revenue can be attributed to member sign ups and annual fees. There are a few different tiers and categories that you can choose from when signing up, you can view those here. The other way Tunecore pulls in money is through charging the artist a minimal fee every time they collect royalties via Tunecore.
Now that we understand how Tunecore makes their money, let’s talk a little bit about how they market their artists. Earlier I punched in Tunecore’s url into the Hubspot Marketing Grader. I had a feeling they would be rated high, but I most definitely was not expecting them to have an overall grade of 90. Their high rating can be attributed to their frequent blogging of Tunecore news and releases, their activity on Facebook, their twitter account, RSS feed, and it’s optimized mobile version of the site. In looking at Hubspot’s marketing critique of Tunecore, the number of sites that have links to their site is what stood out to me most. 3,954 sites provide links to Tunecore’s site. That’s pretty good exposure.
Without a doubt Tunecore is more than efficient at utilizing social media to their advantage in order to market their service and artists alike, however this is not the only way their artists are marketed and it doesn’t cost Tunecore a cent. Tunecore distributes music through the following music outlets; Itunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, Deezer, Simfy, Rhapsody, Myspace, Medianet, Muve Music, Rdio, Iheart Radio, Xbox Live, Google Play, Nokia, And Emusic. Each of these music providers also have their own marketing departments. The way these companies make money is by selling music. You better believe that they are going to do their best to market their content in order to lure their target market and secure net profits.
With these reasons that I have stated above, I think that Tunecore should be a viable option for any artist no matter how famous or underground they are. Of all the ways an artist can distribute music, Tunecore seems to be the most cost effective, take the man out of the equation and do away with the old ways of major record labels that solely care about money and volume of sales. I really do think that Tunecore can change the way the whole world distributes music! Check them out!
Of all the marketing channels utilized by record label companies, online marketing is by far the most cost-effective. With good online marketing techniques and practices, a business can exponentially increase their exposure, brand recognition, online presence, and ultimately help maximize return on marketing investments/expenses. Both Warner Bros. Records and Atlantic Records are major record levels. They both support and promote artists in different genres of music from Hip-Hop to Indie-Rock. Having said that one can assume that both labels’ target market is practically everyone! I mean, there are a few people out there that don’t listen to music, but virtually any demographic of people are liable to listen to pretty much anything. So, how can they reach as many people as possible? I’ll tell you how, through effective comprehensive online marketing! Lets compare these two major record labels in their competency of online marketing and gain a better understanding on what exactly effective marketing entails.
As far as Twitter goes, Atlantic pretty much blows Warner Bros. out of the water. One of the best tools that a company can use in trying to penetrate online social media is Twitter. Twitter currently has over 450 million users, and all are potential music listeners a.k.a. potential clients. Of these millions of users Warner Bros. only has 93,066 followers while Atlantic has acquired 154,020 followers. From these statistics I think it is safe to say that both companies have room to grow their Twitter following. I believe that the activity of each label’s account has a direct effect in how many followers they have. It should be no surprise that Atlantic has more followers, they have posted over 6,000 more updates than Warner Bros. have posted. I mean c’mon, what are the guys in the marketing department thinking over there at Warner Brothers?! What’s so hard about maintaining an active Twitter account?! Marketers have to create a buzz by being as involved and interactive with their target market as possible. A proactive approach must be taken to secure your share in the market whether you are conducting online marketing or any other form of marketing. Atlantic Records Tweets so often that “on average they tweet every 50 minutes” (marketing grader.com). This means that about every 50 minutes or so Atlantic Records is reaching 154,020 followers and counting. Atlantic Records has the right type of approach in mind as far as social media goes. You’ve got to reach as many people in your target market as possible while keeping them updated with the current happenings and promotions of the company.
In this case we can judge this totally based the number of likes that appear on the company. Warner Bros. has more at 293,798 likes where as Atlantic Records only has 122,860. After reviewing both pages, W.B., Atlantic,it looks like both companies are posting into the news feed on average over once a day. Posting on Facebook is an awesome way to share mixed media with all of your friends and clients that follow your page. If they like your page, then they are obviously interested in your product or service. You know that if they are viewing your posts on their feed, then they have some level of interest which means that they might either be potential or actual clients. It’s very beneficial for both companies that they each have Facebook accounts.
Blogging: Winner = Warner Bros.
This was an easy decision. Atlantic records forfeits by default because they don’t even have an RSS feed let alone a blog! I cant believe it. Blogging can be even more effective in informing a target market of company happenings when done right. Now, Warner Bros. may have a blog but it’s far from perfect. However, when judging the content of the posts I’d give them an A. From the blogs I have read Warner Bros. writes about; pre-orders, music festivals, music videos, interviews, charts information, artist information, events, recording news, tours, and awards. This is killer. As an avid music enthusiast I really enjoy having access to all of this information regarding the label. The only problem is that they have not made it easy to share all this information with my friends in social media. They’ve got to get some links up if they want to maximize their blogs exposure!
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Winner = Atlantic Records
Companies such as Warner Bros. and Atlantic Records should me using search engine optimization techniques to ultimately maximize the number of hits their website can get. You want to give your website’s content the best chance of being seen by users, or in other words return on content, this is done through SEO. An efficient way of judging how well a site utilizes SEO is by looking at their; a 301 redirect, pages indexed, alt tags for images, and external links to your site. I’ll just say it right now, Warner Bros. fails in SEO. They only have 27 pages indexed by major search engines! To put this in perspective Atlantic Records has 181,000 pages indexed! Compare 27 pages indexed to 181,000, and it’s easy to see how much more exposure Atlantic Records gets in this category over Warner Brothers. Website url’s can be long, hard to remember, and hard to spell. If your website does not have a 301 redirect then if the user is off on the url by one character, then he will not arrive at your website. A 301 redirect is a search engine friendly method of website redirection. Every website needs to use it because if they don’t, most likely they are loosing out on exposure and site hits. Alt tags for images are also an important part of search engine optimization. By using alt tags for images on your website you make the images searchable on search engines and from there users can trace the image back to your site which in tern gets your site more hits. Surprisingly Warner Bros. does not have one picture alt tagged out of the hundreds of pictures that they have on their site. They’re dropping the ball in this category, but Atlantic Records isn’t. Currently Atlantic 38 of 43 pictures on their homepage tagged. They might not have them all tagged, but they have 38 more pictures tagged than Warner Bros. Records. Another way to quantify a website’s SEO is through how many external links that are directed to their site. Atlantic Records crushes his adversary in this. They have 2,724 external sites linking to their homepage where Warner Bros. only has a dismal 2 sites linked. Perhaps they only have 2 sites linked because they are incompetent in the SEO category, I sure think so.
In conclusion after reviewing how well both record labels manage the online marketing aspects of their websites, I’m choosing Warner Bros. Records and Marketing Grader agrees with me as well. They rate Warner Bros. at at 76/100 and Atlantic Records at 71/100. Here the deciding factor was most definitely the blog. Atlantic Records simply does not have one. I my opinion, both of these sites need to re-evaluate how effective they are with their online marketing efforts, both labels have so much more room to improve and it’s quite apparent what areas improvement is needed.
An Important Note:
As I mentioned in the about me section, music piracy is a major problem in the industry. To help combat this record labels need to utilize all techniques mentioned above to try and maximize their site’s exposure and convert potential clients into long term clients! Labels need to actively engage their target market, it’s not going to happen simply by being present!