Music Marketing - Math or Myth
by Scott G (The G-Man)
Making money from music online: NARIP and the Hype
Council help the record industry face the facts
and expose the fiction a report by The G-Man.
The numbers are supposed to be big in online marketing,
but are they? Clearly, we need someone with 'Net
experience to set a few things straight. Scott Meldrum
is a businessperson and musician with a dry wit
and a background in bulk mail. Oops, excuse me,
direct response advertising. He's also the man called
on by major labels when they want to brand an artist
and reach millions of fans via the Internet.
Beginning with Papa Roach in 1998 and continuing
with such platinum-selling artists as Avril Lavigne,
Dido and Jennifer Lopez, Meldrum's Long Beach-based
firm, Hype Council, is one of the prime marketing
weapons utilized by the world's largest entertainment
Taking center stage for a Monday evening presentation
by NARIP (National Association of Record Industry
Professionals) at the Beverly Garland Hotel in Los
Angeles, Meldrum began with some facts about the
Internet. Does that sound a bit dull? It wasn't.
His presentation quickly revealed things about the
'Net that should be known by every marketer (that's
you, if you or your artists are selling music online).
THE GLOBAL AUDIENCE FOR MUSIC.
Most Internet users (nearly a majority of them)
are between the ages of 30 and 49, far older than
many in the audience thought. And for those of us
who thought that the USA had the highest percentage
of Internet users, it was a surprise to learn that
we're only sixth. (Of course, in raw numbers of
users, the USA has by far the most people.)
Fully 40% of the USA's 177 million 'Net users go
online for music. Look at it another way: if you
put your music on the Internet, you have a potential
audience of some 70 million. And with total Internet
users currently at 404 million, that translates
into a worldwide potential audience of 161 million
The problem is: how to reach them. They are wildly
segmented in terms of music genre; they only want
to be contacted under certain sets of circumstances;
and they need to have a safe, secure, and easy way
to make purchases.
Fortunately, "The Internet is still a new medium,"
Meldrum asserts, "and there are tremendous
opportunities for people in the business of selling
Some of those opportunities are being wasted, however,
through poor Web site design. Meldrum revealed the
biggest errors made in creating or maintaining a
Web site. . .
TOP 5 MISTAKES OF WEBSITES:
1. Mistaking creativity for functionality. "Don't
try to put everything on your front page. Organization
is the key. Lead your fans to the most important
things." That's what menus are for, so don't
hide them. "How many times have you gone to
a site that looks interesting, but you have no clue
how to navigate it? People don't have time to waste
figuring it out. Make it easy for them."
2. Burying the offer. "Links to buy the CD
should be available at almost every page on your
Website. Many Websites challenge, almost dare visitors
to find the product, let alone buy it."
3. Ignoring fans. "Many artist Websites have
a registration feature, but it is not prominently
displayed. When you are not selling albums at your
Website, you need to be collecting email registrations."
This builds a fan base where you can sell an album
now and more in the future.
4. Not giving fans what they want. "Make your
music accessible. Offer a few full streams of your
songs. Make a download available in exchange for
an email registration. You will win more fans and
sell more CDs giving your music away than you will
by not letting your potential fans really listen
before they buy."
5. Failing to design with bandwidth in mind. "Ever
been to a Website and forgot why you were there
before the page fully loaded? Getting people to
your site is hard enough. Losing them because they
got tired of waiting for your page to load is a
waste of everyone's time and energy."
CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS:
Websites are a necessity, but don't overlook other
ways of reaching out to potential fans on the Internet.
Banners can be bought or traded. Emails can be sent
(be mindful of the CAN-SPAM law; see below for link).
Marketing can be done on search engines. You can
join or participate in message boards and blogs
(web logs). And the latest advancement in music
marketing involves social networks such as MySpace.
Meldrum had many specific suggestions for attendees,
"You can send emails in text or HTML format.
With HTML (hyper text markup language), you can
include pictures and graphics. They look nice, but
we get twice the 'open rate' with text emails."
- Use Google for research
- Check out MySpace.com
- Target your audience
- Simplify your Website
- Give away some songs
- Interact with your audience often
THE BOTTOM LINE ON WEBSITES:
"To your online fans, you are your Website.
If they love it, they will love you, and will be
eager to follow your careers. Take all the great
things about you, your talent and your message,
and translate to HTML. Keep it simple, easy-to-navigate
and informative, and you will have a highly-effective
marketing channel for your music."
Sources for more info:
Scott G records as The G-Man and you'll find his
work on iTunes, at http://www.delvianrecords.com
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About the Author
Owner of G-Man Music & Radical Radio, where
he makes commercials, Scott G is a recording artist,
member of NARAS (the Grammy people), board member
of NARIP (National Assn. of Record Industry Professionals),
and a writer for the Immedia Wire Service.