There’s a lot of great innovation happening in music marketing at the moment, but the value of this innovation is diminished if artists are becoming overwhelmed by the variety of music marketing services available to them.
Music marketing has become a bit like walking into a busy shopping center. We know where we want to go, but there are hundreds of ways to get there, hundreds of options trying to grab our attention, and the whole process is quite overwhelming. Shopping centers have a for this – they have those big maps that tell you You Are Here, which help shoppers get where they want to go quickly and effectively , but music marketing doesn’t have a roadmap.
In an ideal world music marketing would look like this. One clear path that takes us from where we are to where we want to be.Developing artists are not dissimilar to shoppers, in that most artists know where they are, and where they want to be, but it’s navigating the path between the two that can be quite ambiguous, and unlike shoppers, artists don’t have the luxury of a roadmap telling them the most effective path to take.
But in reality, what we’re faced with is something a bit more like this. There are hundreds of different paths to market our music, some more effective than others, and some completely ineffective, and the number of new paths is increasing rapidly. With the Internet and social media it’s almost as if every new startup is a new channel. Artists now question whether to use Stageit or Topspin or Bandpage or Jango, and it’s becoming increasingly complicated.The reason why this path is ambiguous is because when it comes to music marketing there are literally hundreds of paths, with so many services, tools, and options available there’s no longer a clear path for artists to take. 50 years ago there were fewer paths – you had radio, print advertising, billboards, and a few other key marketing channels. But now we have the Internet and every startup is kind of a new channel in it’s own right.
Over the past 3 or 4 years I’ve been writing a music marketing blog for 300,000 readers and it’s become very clear that the biggest challenge in music marketing right now is an overwhelming variety of services and a lack of a reliable method to differentiate between the effective and ineffective services.
Several weeks ago I sent a survey out to my readers and found that over 8 out of 10 of artists have said that they’re overwhelmed by music marketing.
What I found even more fascinating was that over 78% of those artists would rather completely outsource music marketing for a fee than educate themselves on music marketing.
Of course, sometimes what we say on a survey and what we do in reality can be two very different things, but it suggests that somewhere along the line music marketing has become more complicated that it needs to be, and we need a roadmap.
As we saw with the shopping center example, this challenge isn’t unique to music marketing. in fact, any industry with a high level of competition between services is likely to be faced with this problem. And so I was intrigued to see how other industries were tackling this challenge.
I think Tripadvisor’san excellent example of a roadmap that simplifies booking a hotel online. Before Tripadvisor, if you wanted to book a hotel online you’d go to Google, search for hotels in London, open a bunch of hotel websites and you’d be comparing the rates, reviews, and location with all these windows open and it was fairly tedious and time consuming, but with Tripadvisor, you just enter your location and budget and Tripadvisor says ‘here are the 5 best hotels for you’.
One of the most common ways that roadmaps are used to help us buyers choose the right products are buyer’s guides, which use expert reviews to help us pick the best products from a huge selection.
What all of these ‘roadmaps’ have in common is they make a previously overwhelming task relatively simple. Music marketing is overwhelming right now, and it could be simplified with a roadmap.
I didn’t know what the best way to do this would be, but over the past few weeks I’ve started collaborating with a number of labels, artists, and music marketers to build an annual music marketing report that highlights the best music marketing tools broken down by a number of categories. The report is far from being finished and doesn’t represent a long-term solution but it does give us an impartial and up-to-date snapshot of what we should be focusing with music marketing.
If we want to fix the problem at the source… we need a shift in thinking. See the way I see music marketing, it’s like we have a big electrical circuit, and all of these tools & services we have are components sitting in this big circuit – and we’re adding more and more and more of these components, which are all working in isolation. What this means for the artist is that if you want to harness the power of this music marketing circuit, you have to learn how to use each of these components individually, you have to create an account with each of these components, which is really inefficient. So I think the shift in thinking we need is moving away from When I applied for for this talk I said that it’s almost like we’re creating lots of components in a giant circuit, to creating the wires between the components.
This might sound ridiculously ambitious, but on a very small scale it’s starting to happen. I was so excited in November when I read that Topspin had partnered with PledgeMusic, Ingrooves, Firebrand, and Artist Growth to build an integrated toolkit for artists to build their fanbase. And then in December we saw that Bandpage launched their connect service, which really does wire together all of an artist’s profiles into one place. As I said at the beginning of my talk, there’s a lot of amazing innovation happening in music marketing, but the value of this innovation is diminished if artists become overwhelmed by the variety of services available to them. Let’s not let music marketing become overwhelming, let’s build the roadmap and make it easier to navigate for everyone.
A Roadmap to Navigate Music Marketing (MIDEM 2013)
A Roadmap to Navigate Music MarketingMarcus TaylorFounder of Venture Harbour