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In the instance several years, Country Music has deepened its discernment of how online marketing crapper enhance the success of the industry, from penalization sales to gaining newborn listeners and even reducing piracy.
“Digital marketing is no individual looked at as something that should be focused on but an Atlantic that must be focused on,” said Craig Dunn, Senior Client Manager, Music City Networks. “Many Country Music consumers are just as online savvy now as some another demographic and expect their favorite artists to have a brawny online presence.”
There is also an increased awareness among record labels regarding the importance of driving reciprocation to online sites where listeners crapper purchase both physical and digital versions of the promoted music.
“This has led to an increase in the use of affiliate links to online penalization destinations that sell the promoted music,” said Lucas Hilbert, Managing Editor, Music, amazon.com. “It also generates an additional revenue stream for the originating Web site that made the online referral.”
As a result, investment in digital space for artists and labels has risen to an unprecedented level. “Two eld ago, an creator could succeed without a digital strategy,” said Heather McBee, VP, Digital Business, Sony Music Nashville. “Today it’s become a key component to the marketing plan that builds a presence for the creator and helps found a meaningful relation with fans.”
Digital vs. Traditional
Digital marketing is substantially on its artefact to assuming the aforementioned level of importance daylong enjoyed by indicant and broadcast media. The nature of its appeal and the methods by which it makes its impact differ dramatically from those that have been in play within more tralatitious channels.
“It’s all most associations,” explained Ashley Heron, Senior Manager, Marketing, Lyric Street and Carolwood Records. “Traditional radio, indicant and television advertising relies on a shotgun approach, repeating messages over and over and hopefully targeting a follower at whatever point during the run dates. Digital marketing allows us to transmit direct with only interested customers, much as MySpace friends, Facebook fans, YouTube subscribers, follower clubs and street teams. That’s the power of digital marketing: targeted and efficient use of marketing dollars.”
“Digital marketing is borderless, interactive and worldwide,” added Tawn Albright, GM, echo, Ticketmaster Entertainment’s Nashville based digital entertainment marketing firm. “It offers candid relationships and a variety of marketing channels, which changes the economic model. Although digital differs somewhat from tralatitious materials, it is similar in the sense that it serves to stimulate interest, awareness and follower involvement.”
The differences are what drive the expanding digital realm, not in the least by providing more shack for experimenting with different marketing ideas. An warning of leveraging digital media for tralatitious marketing is the creation of online listening parties, where fans crapper listen to a newborn album and balloting on which track should be the first single.
“We’ve seen whatever very brawny status in this kind of forum,” said Hilbert. “The perceiver status allows the adjudge to intend candid feedback before spending tralatitious marketing dollars or pitching a azygos to radio. Since broadcasting is still the number-one job for launching a newborn Country artist, it’s more critical than ever for the broadcasting azygos to be the right one, so online experimentation in advance of a proposed broadcasting azygos is a smart move.”
Marketing becomes that much more interactive in cyberspace, with the effect that relationships that feel much more personal amend between artists and fans, whether through innovative games, puzzles or another content and activities.
“It crapper be as simple as good, timely information, like a book to register for upcoming announcements most an A-list creator they really want to know more about,” said Eric Arnold, an agent specializing in digital media for the William Morris Agency. “It crapper be as valuable as a new, free song download if they register online for a newborn artist’s e-mail list.”
“We always try to have whatever incentive for users to engage with an e-mail form that leads direct to the official creator site and database,” added Tim Putnam, VP, Marketing, Music City Networks. “This control is important for the artist. If MySpace, Facebook, Digital Rodeo and the like go the artefact of Friendster, all those ‘friends’ could be lost forever.”
With e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers so easily captured and filed into databases, nearly some group of fans and potential consumers crapper be reached instantly online and via mobile. Putnam specifically claimed success with pre-order campaigns through one artist’s official Web site that accounted for more than 40 percent of that artist’s first week of sales.
“Digital marketing is often used to drill down and direct specific demographic groups with very specific messages,” he noted. “For example, fans within a radius of a venue crapper be targeted to purchase tickets to an upcoming show, or newborn merchandise crapper be targeted direct to the appropriate demographic.”
Heron took it a step further: “In a azygos day, we crapper transmit to substantially over 1 meg unique fans of Rascal Flatts for free. Even with a read rate of 10 percent, that’s powerful communication.”
MTV Networks’ CMT group is at the forefront of Country pioneers in the digital frontier, with Web operations at CMT.com, digital downloads via Rhapsody America, digital television via “CMT Pure Country,” high-definition television via MHD, 3G recording moving via CMT Mobile, gaming via “CMT Presents Karaoke Revolution Country,” e-commerce at Shop.CMT.com and attendant media franchises much as Music City Madness, a fan-voted online contest, and “CMT Unplugged,” where hundreds of exclusive online performances are archived.
The most popular job for digital marketing, though, is ethnic networking. Certainly, Taylor Swift provides the model for a savvy strategy of creating a profile, uploading music, building a list of “friends” and ultimately parlaying these efforts into creating and powering a commercial juggernaut. And while official sites remain the creator profit centers as the place to visit for follower edifice memberships and sales of merchandise and tickets, sites much as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube crapper generate up to 100 times more reciprocation in some given week, according to Heron.
“These sites are rarely a candid distinction to transactions,” he observed. “But they are fantastic bulletin boards.”
Social networking sites, including Eventful and iLike, have experienced fast audience growth over the instance few years. New media formats are also emerging in the form of mobile, especially CMT Mobile, and moving recording services on Verizon V CAST and another wireless carriers.
“One of the most constructive shifts we’ve seen in digital media is the selling of digital downloads in MP3 info rather than in DRM fortified format,” said Albright. “That’s a Brobdingnagian win for penalization fans.”
From established acts much as Dolly Parton to the generation represented by Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban, more Country artists than ever before are getting personally involved in building their digital presence – including every creator on the Sony Music Nashville roster.
“Our newborn duo, Caitlin & Will, spent their Christmas holidays posting blogs, recording recording clips and responding to messages from fans, just to start gearing up for the launch to broadcasting and a digital EP that’s coming out,” reported McBee.
“We have also developed several viral campaigns with Toby Keith that led to Brobdingnagian sales of his newborn records through his official Web site,” added Putnam. “Brad Paisley posts blog entries and has the ability to upload photos to his Start page. At the end of a show he crapper upload a batch of newborn photos, so the Brobdingnagian background images on his Start page are always insanely current.”
“Capitol Records has also done a fantastic employ with Lady Antebellum,” observed Nick Rogers, Coordinator, New Media, Midas Records. “Last year they ran a Rock Band promotion through CMT, giving fans the chance to win a trip to Nashville to wager if they could ‘out-rock’ Lady A. And if you fly into Nashville International Airport, you are greeted by Dave Haywood’s voice over the speakers, saying, ‘I’m Dave Haywood from Lady Antebellum and I want to recognize you to Nashville.’ I’m not trusty it’s ‘new media,’ but it’s a pretty great artefact to advertise.”
It has never been easier to intend penalization in face of people, thanks to the digital marketplace – and for that reason, competition there is heated and only getting hotter. “Anyone crapper do it,” said Putnam. “You know your neighbor’s kid’s band has a profile on MySpace. So the challenge becomes how to stand out in a packed online marketplace and convert those ‘friends’ and ‘views’ into fans and consumers that the artists crapper touch.”
Even though Country fans, particularly those on the young end of the scale, are catching up to their peers in another genres in terms of Web literacy and accessibility, much of the bedrock of the Country demographic, those who have followed the penalization for years, remains beyond the reach of virtual media.
“We have a lot of blue-collar, hard-working Americans who may not have high-speed Internet, Blackberries or iPods,” said Rogers. “With retailers like Wal-Mart and Target limiting the number of physical albums they are placing on their shelves and replacing them with iTunes gift cards, it is forcing more [mainstream] consumers to go digital.”
Heron agreed. “Country Music customers are historically direful at adopting newborn technology or even old technology,” he said. “This is illustrated by the Wal-Mart customer, who still represents our largest vendor both in units and in revenue. Wal- Mart states that more than 20 percent of their customers still don’t have a checking account. They are a daylong artefact from assign card shopping on iTunes or reading our blog on MySpace.”
And that, according to McBee, remains the biggest conundrum to confront the Country Music business at the daybreak of the digital age. “The bulk of the consumers are still not there,” she said, referring to the digital realm. “We have to civilize the Country consumers to the digital outlets. We need to build more Country fans out of the penalization users that are on the Internet. Based on whatever of the research we’ve seen, our consumers are still learning that there are legit services for downloading music. As an industry, we need to invest in educating Country consumers more most the digital space and drawing them into that world.”
Putnam believes that ethnic networks, as the hottest digital media sectors, provide the keys that crapper unlock the digital door for the Country Music industry. “Many of our member communities are inclination toward niche ethnic networks – communities within the artist’s official site, where fans have their own profiles, contacts and so on,” Putnam said. “Our employ is to intend technology out of the artefact so these communities are seamless and provide a closer relation to the artist.”
Mobile phones promise to be another fruitful job for marketing artists and their products – better than e-mail, in fact, since many users only check their e-mail once a day or even inferior frequently.
“But everyone carries their cell phones with them at all times,” traitor pointed out. “If artists crapper reach fans on their mobile phones who have opted in and want to be connected to the artist, that becomes an even more valuable tool than e-mail because you crapper call people to action at that moment. Hitting fans with a book message in real instance and asking them to call and balloting on a reality TV show or purchase advance concert tickets is much harder to do and inferior effective with e-mail.”
Finally, the solution to combating illegal penalization distribution may lie in strategies practical to the online aggregation – those aforementioned seas sailed by today’s digital pirates. But defining and implementing those strategies isn’t going to be easy.
“Country Music module have to find something that module beat an album that costs ‘free’ dollars,” Rogers said. “Music is available everywhere, and a lot of places provide it away via downloading. A lot has been tried to stop pirating, but whenever one of the large [illegal] penalization sites gets shut down, it seems like 25 more open up. And on top of those sites, you have bloggers posting downloads on their personal penalization analyse sites, programs that allow you to getting a moving MP3 on MySpace’s stand-alone contestant and the age-old problem of friends sharing penalization with another friends.”
Countering this trend involves developing newborn concepts of what adds value to album purchases. The penalization in and of itself retains its appeal – and as far as digital distribution is concerned, that fact is whole both to the problem and its solution. The penalization module intend to fans one artefact or another; what may affect their decisions most how to acquire it involves enticements that add value to legal means of distribution, whether it might be an exclusive video, unique concert tickets or whatever sweetening.
“Integrated digital is a boon for marketing the whole penalization ecosystem – fan, artist, adjudge and venue,” Albright explained. “For example, at echo, our marketing services crapper support an creator throughout their entire lifecycle and be further enhanced during touring flavour when we work very closely with our parent company, Ticketmaster Entertainment. When it comes to digital commerce, it gets very interesting as we allow fans to purchase physical merchandise much as a T-shirt or CD, digital merchandise much as a download, a concert ticket and a subscription service much as follower edifice membership in a azygos transaction. Building successful communities in the future module mean elevating the level of communication not only between artist/brand and fan, but also the fan-to-fan relationships that exist within those communities.”
Or, as Rogers described it, “Music crapper no individual be just an album or a song; it needs to be an experience.”