marketing in music at nettwerkRyan 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.