Wednesday, 10 September 2008

New Music Strategies

We have all been hearing the talk for a while know that the music industry is dying etc etc, well I recently met a guy called Andrew Dubber at a conference and he has laid out some fresh approaches for online music business.

Thing 1: Don't believe the hype - There’s a great deal of discussion about music online in the mainstream press, and there are a couple of predominant threads to that coverage. Mostly, it’s not true.

It pays to be able to separate fact from fiction and hype from reality when it comes to the online music environment. Especially when your livelihood depends on it. Here are the two most important things to watch out for:

1) Technological determinism
2) People tend to lie

Thing 2: Hear / Like / Buy - There are lots of sophisticated tricks and tips for marketing music, online and off. But if you mess up this one fundamental principle, you might as well not bother at all.

Music is pretty much unique when it comes to media consumption. You don’t buy a movie ticket because you liked the film so much, and while you might buy a book because you enjoyed reading it so much at the library, typically you’ll purchase first, then consume.

But music is different — and radio proves that. By far the most reliable way to promote music is to have people hear it. Repeatedly, if possible — and for free. After a while, if you’re lucky, people get to know and love the music. Sooner or later, they’re going to want to own it.

Thing 3: Opinion leaders rule - How do you know what music to buy? Often, another person tells you - generally in some mediated way. Different media, different people, same principle.

Other than hearing, then liking, the most common and reliable way to find out about music is via the opinion leader. Often this will take the form of a press review or column — or some sort of radio feature. Occasionally, it’ll come from the telly. If you happen to respect the opinion of the person or institution telling you that the record is great, the chances you’ll be persuaded are reasonably high.

Thing 4: Customise - All this talk about the music industry online overlooks one simple fact: there isn’t one. There are many. One size does not fit all.

You’ve seen the website. It has a landing page with a photo on it and a little bit of blurb. There may be one or two things that move on it, or it might even have an animation. It has a fairly simple navigation system along the top or down the side. The links say things like About Us, Gallery, Downloads, Contact, Our MySpace — and the links take you to exactly the things you might expect when you get there.

Thing 5: Connect - It might seem an obvious thing to say about using the internet, but if you don’t connect, then you might as well not bother switching the damn thing on.

Having a website is not a promotional strategy. If you’re going to have a website, you need to have a promotional strategy.

Your promotional strategy should generate traffic — and, more importantly, repeat business. In order to get people to check out your website, it can’t just be tucked away on its own little shelf in the world-wide-library (to stretch the metaphor).

You can download the complete ebook here

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