Friday, February 29, 2008

Hey Guys, Let's get another Facebook application!

In a surprise move, Facebook has added a music application: Although they already have the iLike feature, the new music application will allow Facebookers to get paid downloads, buy merchandise, and get tour updates. It doesn't offer anything that is new or exclusive than other websites like Myspace. Also, what is this, their 560 billionth application? I'm not surprised that Facebook added this, they needed to fill every last nook and cranny after "How popular are you with your friends?" and "When will you get married?" Now that the music market has gone digital, sites like Facebook and Myspace are clawing at each other to get listeners to use their sites and not others. I know that Facebook added the music application because that's what any other business in order to keep up with their competitors, but I don't think they are going to have much success with it. It seems a little overkill for Facebook members as well as the artists. I doubt musicians will be keen on getting yet another website to maintain because it won't be towards different audiences. The same 14 year old that's Myspace friends with John Mayer would have one for Facebook.
I think that it can go in two directions. One, the Facebook music application will get huge with because they teamed up with iTunes, which could influence listeners to move away from using different music sites and use Facebook for all their music needs. The other would be complete failure due to member's lack of interest and musician's discouragement of repetition.
Sorry Facebook, you're a little late for joining this competition. Then again, that is just my opinion. What do you guys think?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The comeback of radio?

Radio hasn't been popular since basically the 1950s when Americans stopped listening to the radio and watching television. Today, radio is virtually extinct. We get our news from the internet and television, as well as our entertainment. According to this article the president of the Radio Advertising Bureau teamed up with Katz and Interep. Its purpose is to centralize their clients and have a centralized point of view for their, along with following a more behavioral based approach to reaching consumers. They also want all mobile devices to access radio. Imagine listening to your favorite artists, then switching over to hear the top 10 songs on the charts, and then get the traffic reports! Sweeeet. I would love to have the radio on my ipod. I mean, right now I don't listen to the radio because I don't have a car at school, and well, who has a radio in their room anymore? But I think its a great idea nonetheless. I would listen to the radio more, I think, if i had it on my ipod.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Do-It-Yourself videos

As it is well known, everything is going digital, but more importantly its becoming interactive. That doesn't exclude music videos. Long gone are the glory days of music videos; in the 80s MTV had huge success with airing music videos. Of course, anyone can remember the success of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video that was more of a mini-movie, and its still popular today.

Then came the era of TRL where the highlight of an adolescent's day would be coming home from school to watch their favorite videos and anticipate the premiere of new ones. I do admit that is was the first notible step towards interaction from the television show to the audiences. Teens would vote all day long on the MTV website, give their comments, and call in to the show to give shoutouts. At the time, it was a big step for music television, and many kids felt that they had a legitimate affect on the show.

In the face of the decline music industry that's hurting records sales, but also the market of music videos, which used to be a huge element to promoting an artists. To get your video on TRL was a sign of huge success. Now: not so much. According to
Joan Anderman of the Boston Globe discusses the decline of video popularity and how its hurting director's careers (boo hoo they have to gasp! direct television commercials for a mere $400,000 rather than a million dollar paycheck. lets take a minute to feel sorry for them) Moving everything else in our society, video are now being filmed by amatuers and fans on their cells phones and uploading them onto the internet for people to see. That's how the now hugely successful Sara Bareilles got noticed: someone recorded her on their phone and put it on youtube, it caught on with viewers and BAM here she is! Today people aren't as impressed with million dollar budgeted music videos with special affects or expensive cars with good looking women. Viewers like videos that look amatuer, even if they're not, like showing the artists backstage at a show getting ready or meeting fans. Many artists website allow fans to mash up different videos to make their own custom-made music videos.

While I know we're all mourning the death of video directing millionare's careers, music videos have moved to a more interesting era. Viewers want to see something real, and many of us now have the power to make the videos ourselves.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Ok, so I understand that conventional marketing that has been used for decades doesn't work on consumers of today. We need artists to catch our eye in creative ways. But this article I found claims that Nine Inch Nail's new marketing tactic unveils government conspiracies that involve contaminating the water with Parepin to protect citizens from bioterror attacks but instead has harsh side effects. The website that claims this got attention when fans took the letters that were highlighted on NIN tour date tshirts that spell out to say "I am trying to believe" and googling the phrase, leading them to this conspiracy site. It started catching on oh so conveniently just as NIN was set to release their new album Year Zero. The website also leads to similar sites, that include pictures of earth as a barren wasteland, raids on Muslim homes in Michigan, and a website by a sniper. If you try and email the author of the website it sends back an automated message saying how it was "all a mistake. the water is fine" blah blah.

OOOoo sounds cryptic right? You think that the government got a hold of this guy and made him change his story? Do you fall for these government conspiracies left and right? I'm pretty sure that the government did get invovled by reprimanding some nut for making claims against the government so he couldn't influence anymore vulnerable ( or stupid) people. And for those other website, its turns out that they are part of a reality game by a marketing company named 42 Entertainment who sent out vials of honey to create "buzz" for the new Halo video game. Naturally NIN only says that they were inspired by"crazy dreams" they had, and how the album takes place in the future and its not pretty.

The only thing that makes me angry about this is that its playing on people's insecurities and doubts about our government. Most people have a very negative view of our government, who's in office and the war in Iraq. People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon to complain about the government, especially impressionable adolescents like the ones how listen to, oh..i don't know...NINE INCH NAILS. These people who are making these website are oh so convenietly anonomyous and have no proof of what they claim. Come on, its one thing to create some hype for your album with a back story and internet rumors, its another thing to accuse our government, who i admit hasn't been the most trustworthy, of intentionally harming us.

What do you think? you think we're drinking contaminated water and NIN did us a favor by notifying us?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

So I don't want to seem repetitive but I don't want each blog entry to be random, I want them all to relate to each other. Last entry I talked about how there's no need for CDs anymore since the digital revolution, if you'd like to call it that. People don't have to buy a CD to get a taste of the music on it. We want it cheap and we want it fast. We also want more of a connection with our artists. Thats what this interview with Eric Herbert of Evolver Media. I agree with him on the point that the reason websites like Myspace are so popular is because music listeners can feel a direct connection with the artists and almost like they have a personal relationship with them rather than just seeing them in Rolling Stone or performing on Saturday Night Live.

Long gone are the days where record labels can put a group of people together and throw on matching outfits and have success (read: Spice Girls, Destiny's Child, Backstreet Boys) Consumers want to feel a real connection with musicians and like Eric Herbert says, the record labels certainly aren't the ones doing that, its the musicians themselves. For years the closest you would get to talking to your favorite musician would be to wait for hours by their tour bus or if your dad had a connection of some sort. Now, I see countless bands posting on their websites about hosting a chat with their fans, who can directly Instant Message them and ask questions or just profess their undying love. Herbert says this creates a stronger bond between musician and fan, therefore more success for the musican. I'm totally in agreement; while I love my big names like Aerosmith, Steve Miller Band, the Beatles (ignore that half of them are deceased) I am much bigger fans, and supporters of smaller bands/musicians whom I've met myself and aren't as successful. I met a great band while I was in LA last semester called Forever the Sickest Kids (totally emo name but great music I met them in my apartment building and we hung out, it wasn't until later that I got into their music, but I feel a stronger connection with them because I know them, hence I immediately went out and bought one of their tshirts :) Even bigger names that you would suspect are reaching out to their fans, John Mayer just sponsored a cruise called The Mayercraft and he himself spent 4 days on a cruise ship performing and talking with fans could meet. Im surprised to riots broke out considering the large amount of middle aged housewives hmm.

Final Thought: Support more local music! Or at least music that you feel closer to. With record labels losing more influence, its the musicians who are taking it into their own hands.

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Do it for the FANS

I figured I would start out my first blog talking about something that I'm sure most people have heard and been talking about, which is the new marketing strategies that are giving back to the fans, most notably Radiohead. Recently they released their album "In Rainbows" on their website where consumers can buy the album for how ever much they want to spend, whether its $5, $20 dollars, or for FREE! They were able to do this because they don't belong to a record label and therefore own the distribution rights. So far the album has made over $3 million dollars, with $6 being the average price that people bought the album for. "In terms of digital income, we've made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together forever," Yorke told Wired. They simultaneously release a box set including the "In Rainbows" CD with additional songs, vinyl records, artwork and lyrics for $80.

In my opinion, I'm glad that SOME artists are finally realizing that if they want any future in the music industry, that they are going to have to stop ignoring the fans and give back after years of music consumers being raped by album prices (i.e. saving up my money in junior high for weeks just to buy ONE CD at Best Buy for over $20. anyone else remember that?) What I love about Radiohead's approach is what I've been saying for years: I'm not about to go and buy a CD if I just like one song on the album, or buy a CD of an artist that I'm not that familiar with, so why risk the purchase if I don't even like them that much? Also, Radiohead is one of the most successful bands and has had a huge following for years. You know that many fans chose to pay full price because they acknowledge the hard work and dedication to the music they enjoy. I've gotten offers from friends to let me burn a CD that i've been anticipating buying, and I won't lie, I have done that a couple times. But after a while I felt guilty about enjoying my favorite music without rewarding the artists for their hard work and creativity. I happily bought CDs of bands like Gym Class Heroes and The Academy Is because I want them to prosper in the industry, as well as falling for many more marketing products like shirts, posters, magazines that feature the artists, and of course concert tickets!

Basically what this shows on a grander scheme, that I've seen for some time now, is that people don't want to buy CDs anymore, obviously because everything is going digital, along with the overpricing. Although this has been hurting major record companies, the music industry isn't just going to "disappear" like many uniformed people say, but I don't think CDs are going to be the major source of profit. Sure people are still going to buy music, but online. The biggest factor for making money are concerts. People are willing to pay money for seeing their favorite bands (did U2 sell tickets for $200 or something?) I think refreshing marketing strategies like Radiohead's where you purchase their music for a low price makes the consumer happy, and creates more buzz for the album itself, and therefore concert sales will increase. Everyone thought Prince was crazy when he gave away his new album for free in London newspapers, but when he released his concert dates days later, they sold out.

So wow that was long, sorry. Basically what I'm trying to say is that music listeners are fed up with having to spend large amounts of money on music and are now finding ways digitally, whether ethical or not, to get it. My opinion is its ok to steal a song or 2 once in a while of an artist that is of fleeting interest to you ( can you say Solja Boy's "Superman") but I think I think to show my support of my favorite music by buying the music ( and shirts, and posters and...)

Leave your comments!