How Word of Mouth Marketing Drives Music Album Sales

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This study from Crimson Hexagon demonstrates how word-of-mouth marketing drives album sales. We show that while Kanye is the bigger star and the official reviews were good, J. Cole mastered his …

This study from Crimson Hexagon demonstrates how word-of-mouth marketing drives album sales. We show that while Kanye is the bigger star and the official reviews were good, J. Cole mastered his engagement with fans on social media and sold more albums.

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  • 1. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  • 2. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CASE STUDY: STUDIO ALBUMS BUSINESS QUESTION: How can we better understand the drivers of purchase intent for our new album? METHOD: Develop a framework for comparing two competing albums by performing contextual analysis of social media conversations around J. Cole’s Born Sinner and Kanye West’s Yeezus before and after the albums were released to the public. ALBUMS: Yeezus, Kanye West  Born Sinner, J. Cole
  • 3. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. By Week 3, Born Sinner surpassed Yeezus in terms of cumulative album sales. Born Sinner also reaches “Certified Gold” status (500,000+ units) before Yeezus. BACKGROUND: WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
  • 4. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. WHAT CAN WE LEARN BY ANALYZING EARNED MEDIA?
  • 5. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FINDINGS: A. Yeezus garnered significantly more hype than Born Sinner pre-release (42% vs. 18%) B. Purchase intent and illegaldownload discussions about Yeezus are similar inweight (10% and 9%, respectively); more consumers say they will actually buy Yeezus vs. Born Sinner C. Consumers are interested in the “battle” between J. Cole and Kanye West (13%) Yeezusand BornSinner:Online ConsumerOpinion (5/18/13–6/18/13) 549,267Relevant Posts C A B B PRE-RELEASE DISCUSSION A
  • 6. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. SPIKES IN ALBUM HYPE MIRROR MARKETING EVENTS May19: Kanye performs onSNL May30:Yeezus coverartrevealed June2:Video projections in selectU.Scities June6:BornSinner applistening session June7:BornSinnerleaks, andthenmadeavailable to streamforfree June15: NorthWest isborn,and Yeezusleaks
  • 7. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. GENUINE FAN INTERACTION DRIVES LOYALTY, PURCHASE INTENT A. June6: Born Sinner listening app allows users to hearentire album for a limitedtime • Purchase intent doubles from previous day (5% to 10%) B. June7: Born Sinner leaks; J. Cole acknowledges the leak publicly, and then releases a free album stream on his website • Purchase intent doubles again, peaking to 20%of conversation A B
  • 8. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. J. COLE VS. KANYE WEST: PROMOTIONAL TACTICS Kanye West took an innovative approach and had visual projections of his single, “New Slaves,” shown on buildings around the world in select cities before Yeezus was released. J. Cole inspired loyalty through his “Dollar and a Dream” tour where fans could meet the artist for $1 at secret locations announced via Twitter.
  • 9. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Loyalty is a major driver of purchase intent over piracy J. COLE VS. KANYE WEST: FAN LOYALTY
  • 10. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. FINDINGS: A. Majority of conversation surrounding Yeezus is negative in tone, driven by consumers’ longing for the “Old Kanye” (23%) B. 5% feel Kanye West is a pioneer and Yeezus is work of art C. With Born Sinner, many consumers feel a deep connection to the album and draw parallelsto their everyday lives(12%) B Yeezusand BornSinner:Online ConsumerOpinion (6/18/13–7/25/13) 426,733Relevant Posts A POST-RELEASE DISCUSSION C
  • 11. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. CONSUMERS CONNECT BORN SINNER TO DAILY LIFE
  • 12. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. • Contextual analysis of social media data provides unprecedented insight into consumers’ feelings and motivations • Firmsintheentertainment industry havetheabilitytotrack expressedpurchase intentfortheirproperties • Pairedagainsteachother, BornSinner hadlessoverallhypethanYeezus but wasreceivedmorefavorably byconsumers • Promotional activities around Born Sinner successfully fostered loyalty among J. Cole fans • Recordlabelscanuseinsightsfromsocialmediatodirectly informuniquecampaignsandexperiences thatresonate withthetarget fanbase • J.Colemitigatedtheleakofhisalbumbyoffering itforfreeviaanexclusiveonlinestream • Builtgoodwillamonghisfansandcreatedadditionalopportunitiesforpromotion KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • 13. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Learn More About Crimson Hexagon’s BrightView™ Algorithm Click Here for An Introduction To BrightView ™ Algorithm
  • 14. PROPRIETARY & CONFIDENTIAL © CRIMSON HEXAGON, INC. 2012. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Crimson Hexagon, founded in 2007, is the leading provider of analysis software that delivers business intelligence from social media data for global corporations. Powered by patented technology developed at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform delivers the industry’s most comprehensive Big Data analysis capabilities for a variety of large-scale data sources. Clients include leading global organizations such as: Microsoft, Paramount Pictures, Starbucks, Simon & Schuster, Twitter, and many more. For more information go to: http://www.crimsonhexagon.com. CRIMSON HEXAGON