Thursday, May 18, 2006

marketing in music at nettwerk

Ryan and I attended the Marketing in Music seminar at Nettwerk Records/sync tonight, as unofficial representatives of Mack (he really wanted to be there).

The evening was a success for its intended audience; up-and-coming artists looking for ideas and guidance about how to market themselves. I was hoping to steal a few great ideas, but they didn't discuss anything too out of the ordinary. "Sell t-shirts" was a theme that kept resurfacing, among other ways of "making music while making money."

The most intriguing part of the night for me was when Carter Marshall, the online marketing guy, eluded to the fact that within a year, there will be a monetary system behind the streaming music on MySpace pages. In his brief explanation, third party aggregators will kick a few pennies to an artist any time a song gets streamed, and then provide a click-through system where you can purchase the music through said aggregator (at which point a bigger commission gets paid). It will be up and running by Christmas, he said. I'll believe it when I see it.

Erin Kinghorn was breath of fresh air. She had plenty of great advice for artists to help them plan their marketing, and the highlights of the night it seemed where when she lit up talking about her favorite new band or performer, or the podcasts she just can't live without. The Barenaked Ladies are doing a weekly podcast while they produce their upcoming album, and Erin tunes in religiously.

It was the kind of evening that would have taught a lot to the 30% or so of industry people, and the remaining 70% of artists. J.D. would have been in his element, and would have made a great addition to the panel.

Question period came, and in tandem Ryan and I confronted the issue that Mack was most interested in. As I mentioned, it was geared toward musicians, so our questions were answered as if we were, which was a shame. Ryan's question was something to the effect of: "What kind of plan do you have for using blogs to spread the message?" What followed was an explanation about what a blog was, so I grilled them with the follow-up: "How have you as a label used blogging for promotion; have you focused any of your PR efforts on fan bloggers?" Sadly, I was instructed as to how I would go about doing such a thing, and not given the insider Nettwerk trade secrets. I didn't have the resolve to keep pushing and get into the specifics of 100 CDs for 100 bloggers; it just wasn't the right audience.

Overall, It was great to see a label reaching out to unsigned artists and helping them advance their fledgling careers. It serves as hard evidence that they are striving to reach out to fans and the community to create a conversation rather than "pushing music on them."

Afterwards, we went to the Kingston Hotel for some beer and nachos outside on the patio. I love the summertime.


At 2:42 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

I would've loved to be there. Vancouver's a bit of a stretch for me, though :)

I love what Nettwerk has been doing, but I am horrified to learn that "sell t-shirts" was one of the main points. Talk about putting the cart before the horse! Usually selling T-shirts comes after the buyer is already a fan of the artist in question. I'll grant you it's a great way to make money, and I suppose it works somewhat to have your fans acting as voluntary billboards for yourself, but as far as breaking out? No.

I wouldn't doubt that there will be a new monetary system for Myspace, though I hope they actually use their brains about it. For the most part, musicians disable the download option and only provide the streams. If it ever comes down to paying for the streams, then Myspace might as well close its doors and take down their servers. However, I do think for the most part that making the songs available for download at a small price (hopefully less than 99 cents) is a nice idea, as I have run across many MANY bands that I would've loved to have download--obviously, since they're indie, I can't go buy the CD. Still, I hope that bands still have the option for free downloads if they want. On the flip side...this might discourage bands from doing so, with the prospect of actually turning a buck off the music. Don't you just love how my inner debate becomes my outer dialogue?

I'm glad Erin made some sense. I'm totally with her on the podcasts, and I'm still hoping to set one up of my own (c'mon Towerpod, work with me!)

Too bad you didn't get the blogging question answered to your liking. Perhaps Mack or somebody needs to put in another call to Erin's office?


At 6:23 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Jordan I think you and Ryan probably helped Nettwerk much more than they helped you. Sounds like they were assuming their target audience would be up and coming bands looking for ways to market themselves, primarily on MySpace. Then here come you two guys out of no where wanting to know what their ideas were about using bloggers as promotional tools. I'm sure that opened their eyes, because it's one thing when you read articles about how 'blogging is booming', but when people are coming to the labels wanting to know how they are going to integrate blogs into their promotional plans, it can wake them up and make them realize that something is happening in this space that they need to be a part of.

We both know what a smart label Nettwerk is, I'm sure they'll listen!

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Their message seemed to make sense for the most part; they basically instructed up-and-comers to stop sending CDs et al to labels, and start hitting up college radio and the thousands of free online promotional and distribution services, etc. There were plenty of songwriters taking fierce notes.

As for the commerce model on the MySpace songs, the way he explained it, end users could still hear the streaming songs for free, but the purchase option would be there.

The part I couldn't figure out is how the artist would get a tiny kickback for each stream; I can't see how an aggregator could make any money with that model.

The overall tone in terms of blogging was that they knew they were on to something, it just wasn't the prime focus as yet.

At 9:12 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"The overall tone in terms of blogging was that they knew they were on to something, it just wasn't the prime focus as yet."

And my guess is it won't be until one of the labels tries the '100 CDs to 100 bloggers' experiment. There's no case study to point to and view the results.

Ah well.....we'll drag the labels kicking and screaming to the blogosphere if we have to ;)

At 9:16 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"Too bad you didn't get the blogging question answered to your liking. Perhaps Mack or somebody needs to put in another call to Erin's office?"

I actually emailed the '100 CDs to 100 bloggers' idea to Erin months ago, around the time I left my first 'You be the marketer' post on BMA. She never answered, and like Ryan and Jordan, I didn't want to press it.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Jordan said...

In her defence, she did say that she receives hundreds of emails a day, mostly from bands that want a record contract.

But that doesn't excuse the fact that they're ignoring a huge opportunity.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Erin Kinghorn said...

Well hello there

once again I am googling myself and came across this so I figured I would comment

1) Mack - didn't get the email, I would be happy to discuss this. And for future if you email me and I don't respond within the week just call. :-)

2) i think something was miscommunicated during the panel. When we say sale sell T-shirts, what we are meaning is stop spending money on things that do not have the potential to make you money back. Ie - sending 300 CDs to record labels is a waste of cash that you could be spending on website development or T-shirts.

3) As for using blogging, we are already doing it. We already have a list of 100 blogger that we are servicing (depending on genere of course) and this list grows each day. What we are finding is alot of freelancers are blogging as well so we are getting double hits.

I think I hit the main points, feel free to contact me .

Have a great day


At 11:33 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Erin; I understood the point of the t-shirts message. And as I said, I thought it it was extremely valuable info for the artists in the room.

I know Mack will be glad to hear that you already have 100 bloggers on your radar. Maybe J.D. should be one of them?

Oh and Erin...

Now that you've been to my blog, will you approve a friend request on MySpace?

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Hey Erin, thanks for stopping by. No biggie about the email, I figured that you either didn't want to answer it, or more likely, simply didn't have time.

At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Erin Kinghorn said...

Jordan - sure, I will approve you, did you already send a request? If you have pls resend.

Mack - if you have anything that you want to follow up on let me know. I am home for a week and my email is not too overwhelming.



At 1:43 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Hey, Erin, if you need blogger number 101, I'm there for ya!

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

Erin I'll be sending an email to your Nettwerk addy shortly.


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