Published on December 18, 2008
NEW MUSIC AND MEDIA MARKETING BLUEPRINT AN INTEGRATED MARKETING, PUBLICITY, VIRAL, RETAIL & DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION PLAN by Oliver Wright, Esq. Note: I wrote this for a release about 1.5 years ago. But it’s just as relevant today, assuming more emphasis on Twitter and FaceBook. “a brilliant and incredibly moving album” JIVE Magazine Rating--4 out of 5 stars
SALES & MARKETING ~ overview & key points
ATTACK PLAN TERRAIN: As the record industry grows more rigid and less relevant everyday, the limber entertainment industry stretches comfortably into cyberspace. The majority of artists won’t be impacted either way: the Old Guard never did right by them to begin with, and of those artists poking around the new digital universe, most seem to favor the Field of Dreams career strategy. But they won’t come. In this way the artist must understand both the old system and the newly emerging one in order to chart a course through the chaos. The winners will be those who understand the new environment and ﬁnd a way to connect the audience with the artist. We think we know how, and it’s not rocket science. What’s good for the consumer, after all, is good for business. Give them something they like, and they’ll pay you. For talented musicians with forward-thoughts, each day promises more, as the Digital Revolution has facilitated giving like never before. STRATEGY: Combining elements of the old and the new, ours is an Integrated Marketing Campaign of internet and on- air promotions, print ads, direct to consumer, and parallel in-house and outsourced New Media viral marketing campaigns targeting social networking and bookmarking sites, among others. Our marketing strategy is timed to optimize our resources, deploying them judiciously toward a sustainable increase in awareness and sales, culminating when... TACTICS: Ariano’s art is his music is his most valuable asset. How that asset is best deployed and monetized in today’s egalitarian, bottom-up digital world is a very different proposition than it was yesterday. The name of the game isn’t releasing an album a year; it’s about rolling out media, entertainment, knowledge, anything ENGAGING--music, video (better still, compressed video optimized for mobile viewing), ﬂash games, ring tones, etc. etc. and often for free--over an extended period of time. Every media asset released into the stream of commerce carries with it the potential to pop, putting Ariano’s genius on display for a worldwide audience. Thus: our pre-street giveaways of 1000s of the Kev Brown produced “prequel” CDs; the pressing and street level distribution of 3000 free copies of the sequel to the prequel, or, put otherwise, a prequel to the forthcoming single; our 25% promotional set-aside from the pressing of the single itself; the inclusion on that single of a bonus track that is itself a bona ﬁde hit; promotional giveaways of i-Tunes gift cards customized to the album’s unique cover art; and numerous other promo campaigns in the works.
THE BATTLE FOR ATTENTION IS FOUGHT ON MANY FRONTS •multimedia website •social media pages and extend out into far reaches of cyberspace. As noted above, our marketing strategy plan integrates •internet and on-air promotions, •full page print advertising •parallel in-house and outsourced New Media marketing campaigns targeting •social networking and bookmarking sites •IM song swapping, MP3 blogs, genre relevant music websites, and •viral video. But we’d be remiss to eschew the traditional, top-down promotional model, which is why we are: •servicing commercial and noncommercial radio and hired an • independent radio promoter to work the album and the singles into heavy rotation and up the charts; we are taking out •full page print ads in pubs serving the key action-sports-music demographic; and we are •shooting videos for both singles, which we’ll push to cable (despite its decreasing relevance), •post to video sharing sites (Google Video, You Tube, MySpace), and use on our own •video blog (Blip) and website to attract and retain visitors.”
KEY SELLING POINTS • PAST SUCCESS AND DEEP INDUSTRY CONNECTS: LD and Ariano’s last album, A Thin Line, shipped over 10,000 units on the open, and is already considered a classic, both underground and above. This was without the beneﬁt of a promotion or marketing budget, a support team, nor even LD & Ariano, who were touring during much of the time after the album dropped. In fact, it is because of, not despite, their touring that A Thin Line did what it did. It didn’t hurt that their respect and standing within the rap community landed the a host of guest spots from critically acclaimed artists such as: Chali 2NA and Akil of Jurassic 5, Kev Brown, RBX (Dogg Pound) 2Mex, DJ Rhetmattic, and Key Kool of the Visionaries. That said, now that Ariano has some money and manpower behind him, the prospects for the stellar album are sky high. The initial buzz conﬁrms this. • THRIVES ON STAGE: Though the industry is in a state of ﬂux, one thing that has not changed--indeed, will never change because it cannot be replicated no matter how small Intel makes its chips--is the signiﬁcance of live performance, which happens to be Ariano’s forte. Any serious release, whether by an indie or major artist, is predicated upon live shows and touring. For this, we hired Sleep as a booking agent. Sleep is himself a hip hop artist on the Up Above label who has earned himself a stellar booking reputation. Sleep has arranged a formidable One Night Stand Tour that puts Ariano in cities where he’s a rock star, and in states he’s never stepped foot in. He’ll be watering old seeds, planting new ones, and growing his fan base the old fashioned way. • CO-MARKETING W/ OTHER ARTISTS: Just ahead of Ariano’s One Night Stand home coming and grand ﬁnale with Talib Kweli at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, our marketing strategy kicks into high gear when we (Technicali Sound) release RBX of the Dogg Pound’s highly-anticipated album, “Broken Silence.” With tracks produced by Snoop Dogg, and six tracks featuring Ariano prominently (some of which he opens), the album will springboard Ariano’s proﬁle, particularly within a rap demographic outside his core fan base. Moreover, he and RBX-- close friends and frequent collaborators--will be cross-promoting their albums, with Ariano accompanying RBX on all radio and TV appearances. • OTHER INDIE LABEL SUPPORT. Besides Technicali, Ariano’s enviable working relationships with the best in the business, including numerous Stones Throw and Up Above recording artists, grants him unique, direct (and free) access--via mailing lists and other coveted direct marketing resources--to a large and loyal base of underground hip hop fans who are proven and reliable consumers of Ariano’s brand of music. Likewise for RBX, LMNO and other top acts we are releasing through Technicali Sound. • ACTION hip-hop meetsDEMOGRAPHIC: Orange County is the global epicenter Quicksilver, No Doubt, Hurley & Sublime; and the core fan base underground SPORTS alt rock music scenes; the birthplace of bands and brands such as of both the huge action sports industry and the alternative/ of its newest star--Ariano, Ariano’s team is focusing on part of this fan base, which has huge growth potential. We are running a full page, four color glossy ad in Skinny Magazine’s “Rock the Bells” issue, whose core readership is the surf, skate and and urban music crowd. Likewise, negotiations are underway with the hottest up-and-coming clothing lines for co-branding and sponsorship deals. Same for the energy drink and alcoholic beverage markets.
KEY RETAIL • SuperD pre-shipped 3000 units to key retail accounts across the • The album artwork is visually arresting and quite beautiful and country, including: FYE, Borders (nationally), truly makes the CD stand out from the rest. Transworld, and select Best Buy locations. • The album’s decidedly non-gangster theme and the absence of • SuperD is in the process of placing a second, similarly-sized batch cursing make it ideal for in-store play. with new accounts, including the grandaddy of them all--WalMart. • To carry momentum from the 4th quarter ’07 into 2008, and to • The initial 1000 unit press of the ﬁrst single, Don’t Let Me Down, capitalize on the huge potential synergy between Valentine’s Day and its B Side, Always on My Mind, both of which are generating sentiment and Ariano’s relationship-themed album, a remix overwhelmingly positive responses, will focus consumers’ tentatively-titled music2makeup2, will be released in the 1st attention on two commercial tracks, which will in turn raise quarter ’08. To that end, Ariano has slipped acapellas to a select awareness and drive sales of the LP. group of the country’s top DJs and Producers. We will also be looking to release or co-brand a chiming Valentine’s Day Card. • music2breakup2 will be featured on i-Tunes, and mp3.com has agreed to host a listening party • The Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) is a nationwide coalition of 59 community button pushers. Though SuperD distributes to several CIMS stores, we are seeking to • Ariano will be a featured artist on Myspace, the mother of all have music2breakup2 accepted into CIMS’s centralized marketing music and social networking sites. program--a cohesive national marketing campaign for select brands. Like the on-line taste makers our internet team is targeting, a CIMS stores' ability to steer consumer sentiment and • Awareness of the album is growing everyday as Ariano continues purchasing is a powerful weapon as we push Ariano's awareness to impress with his radio appearances. But it is poised to truly from the regional to the national level--a critical threshold that explode with the impending release of the ﬁrst single, the we must cross. addition of Spectre as our radio promoter, and our crack team of professional viral marketers.
PRESS CAMPAIGN http://mainstagemedia.com/page/a.jpg
FREE MEDIA(Publicity-P.R.) TRADITIONAL & ON-LINE PRINT CONFIRMED • Urb.com: review to post. Naming Ariano to top 1000 list. • Skinny Magazine: review set for September issue. • Jivemagazine.com: review and feature posted. • Mp3.com: to host on-line listening party. • Crunk: review for September. • Vapors: review for September + Saturday night special. • Musicplustv.com: booking for “organics” tbs. • Remix: review posted. • Southcoast247.com: review to post. • Impose: review for September.
PENDING • Alternative Press • Preﬁxmag.com • Anthem • Re:up • Beautiful Decay • Resonance • Billboard • Rolling stone • Blender • Spin • BPM • Spin.com • Chord • Stop smiling • Complex • Stuck • Entertainment Weekly • The Fader • Flaunt • Theowlmag.com • G4 TV • Tokion • Giant • Tom Green Show • GQ • Trace • Hustler • Transworld skate • Paper • Vibe • Paste • Vice • Pitchfork • Wired • Popmatters.com • Yellow Rat Bastard
RADIO • COMMERCIAL : • SERVICE RADIO SEVERAL TIMES, COORINATING WITH APPEARANCES/TOUR STOPS Though our radio strategy is to percolate up to commercial by getting spins on NPR and college radio--a strategy that’s seen Overall, we will service radio at least 4 times, with the ﬁnal two early and far reaching success (see below)--our in-house team passes tailored to maximize publicity as Ariano moves from city serviced KROQ’s staff with 300 personal copies of the Kev to city during his national tour, with the ultimate goal being a Brown produced prequel. Reaction was positive, and we’ll be convergence of (i) radio appearances priming the pump with servicing KROQ and non-commercial radio a second time with music2breakup2 before the show, (ii) advertising in concert with copies of the ﬁrst single, on top of the full length CD. local retail (we will also be inviting store owners/buyers to Ariano's gigs), and (iii) street level promotions by our booker, • NPR AND COLLEGE ARE KEY: Sleep, who is himself a hip hop artist on the Up Above label, and has earned a strong booking reputation. Non-commercial radio promotions thus far include: a ﬁrst run of 350 full length CDs to California’s top NPR and College stations; pre-publicity to stations servicing cities on Ariano’s upcoming • RADIO PROMOTERS/SPECTER WORK THE COLLEGE September-October One Night Stand tour; and several live radio CHARTS appearances on signiﬁcant stations such as KPFK, KXLU, XBIZ.com, and European favorite BASSJUNKEES.COM. Each Ariano’s Team is thrilled to be bringing on Jessica Weber from is known for its hip hop format and they have many millions of Spectre. She manages Spectre’s hip hop division and is a highly native and syndicated listeners. Without exception, regarded, very effective college and NPR radio promoter. She will music2breakup2 has lit up the board’s, whether played off the CD be expanding on much of the radio servicing we’ve been handling or sung live by Ariano over the air. in-house. She’ll be an invaluable asset, maximizing CMJ200 airplay and moving music2breakup2 up the charts. • STATIONS SUCH AS KCRW AND PHILADELPHIA’SGIANT NPR ARE THE NEW A&RS Our radio strategy has been paying some early, signiﬁcant dividends, including spins on XBIZ and XPR, Philadelphia’s giant NPR station that’s broken numerous indie artists. Ariano will be appearing on KCRW’s morning show, which has broken so much talent that it’s become the de facto A&R department for the major labels.
DIRECT MARKETING • We printed and distributed 7000 posters and ﬂiers for initial pre-street promotional run. • Pressed and gave away 9000 “prequel” CD promos. • Our national in-house street team, consisting of 2-4 person groups (loyal fans) in major urban centers across the country, continually promotes music2breakup2. • We hired Streetworks Promotions to follow the PAID DUES TOUR across the country this summer to promote music2breakup2 at all 13 tour stops. Their services included (i) snips (posters on poles around the venue); (ii) picketing at the beginning of the show; (iii) handing out promo t-shirts to people on the way in and having them put it on right as they enter; (iv) placing stickers outside of the venue in each town; (v) music backpacks for concert goers to hear our music; and (vi) hand-to-hand at the exit on the outs. • For the second promo run ahead of the ﬁrst single’s release, we have printed and will distribute 5000 posters and ﬂiers, updated to reﬂect music2breakup2’s glowing reviews. • We have pressed and will give away 3000 new promo CDs ahead of the single--sequels to the prequel, if you will. The promo CD, like the single, will feature yet another blazing track from Ariano’s next album, to be released in mid ’08. • Streetworks has been kept on to spot promote (i.e., ﬂood with posters, stickers and new promo CDs) in key California coastal cities with high concentrations of Ariano’s action sports/urban music demographic. • Our in-house direct marketing e-mail campaign is discussed below in New Media.
a.jpg 360!1080 pixels NEW MEDIA DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION VIRTUAL STREET TEAM
VIRTUAL STREET TEAM ~NEW MEDIA LANDSCAPE ~DIRECT TO CONSUMER E-MAIL CAMPAIGN ~ON-LINE PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN TARGETING
Viral • Compose catchy song for pre-release buzz leading up to street date • Direct accompanying video with viral components: (funny, sexy, visually interesting, all of the above) • Incorporate social media itself into the track and the video (e.g., thematically, visual references/product placement)
DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION • Still no substitute for physical retail distribution, but great way to sell and expose music. Problem is making money. Transaction costs too high--merch accounts and cc transaction costs kill margins and drive consumers to peer-to-peer. Once transaction costs come down, and artists can proﬁtably sell at the . 40-.50 cent per track price point, virus and quality weary consumers will break the the artists way and forgo peer-to-peer. But presently, .99/track is too high compete with free ﬁle sharing. • So GIVE IT AWAY! while at the same time>>> • >>>music2breakup2 is available for purchase (alongside enthusiastic reviews) at all the usual digital destinations: iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, mp3.com, rhapsody, etc., etc. • INGROOVES is handling our digital distribution (for the time being) and Oliver is handling INGROOVES legal.
NEW MEDIA NAP OF THE EARTH INFLUENCE THE INFLUENCERS: With the old analog barriers to entry melting away (e.g., easy access to worldwide digital distribution; inexpensive, pro quality production tools), you canʼt swing a dead cat these days without hitting some bloke with an MPC and a Mac pitching his wares on Web 2.0. Of the 2% of these indie artists who have any talent to speak of, most favor the aforementioned Field of Dreams approach to marketing and promotion. This is not viable in todayʼs chaotic digital marketplace, which is wild and mutable and rife with fraud; one could spend a fortune in money and manpower with nothing to show for it—or less. The serious musician must devise and execute a marketing plan that gets his music in front of inﬂuencers (a/k/a “taste makers”, “opinion leaders”, community “button pushers”) and the consumers-fans whose purchasing decisions they impact. Arianoʼs team is doing just that. DEAL WITH THE REAL: As our street teams work major urban centers from Oxnard to N.Y., and as Streetworks Promotions shadows the Paid Dues Tour and papers major coastal cities, our virtual street team is gearing up to win over New Media fans, one heart and mind at a time. Weʼve charted a course through todayʼs on-line music gauntlet by studying the new (if ephemeral) musical paradigm from basement to roof; by making informed predictions as to how things might unfold over the next two years; and by asking tough follow-up questions—after all, can every digital music platform be “the worldʼs largest?” DO YOUR HOMEWORK: To that end we drilled down and sampled innumerable sites and virtual communities: on-line retailers and their fan/artist message boards (e.g., CD Baby, Amazon.com, plus hundreds more); satellite radio (XM Radio and Sirius); streaming internet radio (e.g., Live365.com; AOL Radio Network); mp3 blogs, social bookmarking sites (e.g., de.li.cio.us), something new called MOG; and many other music and social networking sites, each with membership in the hundreds of thousands (triple that when one counts RSS feeds.) This is not to mention the mobile consumers whose primary audio and video interface is wireless—a group whose numbers are set to explode once the U.S. and the rest of the world follow Japanʼs lead via wide scale adoption of third generation (3-G) cell phone technology like that found in the new I-Phone; the peer-to-peer network junkies; and the diehard broadcast loyalists patiently awaiting terrestrial radioʼs second coming courtesy of High Deﬁnition AM/FM radio, such as that found in ClearChannelʼs top 200 stations in High Def. markets). CONVERGED MARKETING WINS: Formulating and executing a strategic marketing, promotion and sales campaign that takes into account all of these variables is what distinguishes those few musicians such as Ariano who are poised to exploit Web 2.0ʼs tremendous opportunities from the vast majority who get swallowed up by them.
In-House E-Mail Outreach Program and Accompanying Newsletter Diligence pays dividends: work your mailing list and database capture hard. No, RSS doesn’t get you off the hook. Our close working relationship with numerous Up Above and But it sure helps. Got FeedBurner? Stoneʼs Throw recording artists affords him access to those labelsʼ and/or artistsʼ fan e-mail lists. (Beware anti-spam laws) These lists, combined with the clientʼs own mailing lists, amount to a database of current and likely fans tens of thousands deep—an invaluable resource. We will send out an informative, bi-weekly newsletter to keep these proven consumers abreast of information as well as broader topics impacting the independent music community, artists and fans alike. The ﬁrst issue will go out during the ﬁrst half of the One Night Stand Tour. While on tour they will be (or at least I requested) sending back photos and video for posting to the website, and will be updating blogs remotely via cellphone.
SOCIAL MEDIA TACTICS: TARGET THE ON-LINE BIN LADENS (TAKE-AWAYS FROM PROR NEW MEDIA MARKETING CAMPAIGNS) Social Media’s High Value Targets: MEGA BLOGS/MP3 BLOGS: One mention on non-music mega-blogs like BoingBoing can send sales (or at least name brand recognition) into the stratosphere; they should be engaged (though they are not our core focus). Quick Before It Melts is a music blog with big pull that we will be targeting. In determining which blogs are more likely to talk about our product, we will utilize two comprehensive on-line lists: The Hype Machine and Monkey Filter. The Hype Machine: Our search strategy (Though i did much of the searching personally, I wrote up scripts for staff/interns as well–a poorly executed social media campaign is worse–far worse–than none at all). (i) Ascertain afﬁnity artists and particular tracks/releases like those on our LP. (ii) Type these afﬁnity artists/songs into The Hype Machine, which will spit out a bunch of blogs that have recently posted about them and, it would stand to reason, might be receptive to our artist and music. (iii) Send (as in, place it in an 8x11 envelope afﬁxed with proper postage) them a promo CD.
Online Forums, Music Communities & Social Networking and Bookmarking Sites 1. MySpace: nuf said 2. MOG: Music sharing through blogging. 3. Last.FM: Maybe the best of them all. A Few More Biggies we will be hitting, per my individual scripts and instructions to you when the time arises: Odeo: Create and share audio; Streampad: Internet audio player; Amie Street: Price per popularity music community; Imeem: Music playlist sharing; Reddit: Popular links shared and commented; Vox: Social networking through blogging; de.li.cio.us; social bookmarking site; Facebook; iLike; Twitter; SecondLife; Tumbler; Yahoo!Groups; Flickr. Mainstresam and Indie Music Websites and P2P Networks iTunes, Amazon’s Digital Music Network, e-music.com, rhapsody, mp3.com. There are tons. Do a search for other popular sites and if ours is not listed then go ahead and submit it (You need to have all the necessary data encoded on the master you submit to ensure royalty payments. A quick on-line search will tell you what is needed. Usually the site will do this for you though.) Hip Hop Speciﬁc Sites Hiphopsite.com is among the leaders. They come and go. Key is to always check the site out, not just trust top 10 lists.
Internet Radio: Live 365.com As the largest Internet radio network, www.live365.com,, with thousands of active narrowcasters and over 2 million unique listeners a month, provides indie artists with unprecedented opportunities for large- scale radio exposure. The music library at http://www.live365.com/cgi-bin/library.cgi is a virtual record pool—a secure service that lets all Live365 DJs preview and add our tracks directly to their stations' playlists. Or, we can also allow narrowcasters and listeners to download our entire track(s). Many of these stations have direct links to major music retailers (e.g., Amazon) so listeners can conveniently buy music they are listening to by simply clicking an icon. Live365 is licensed and pays royalties to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. Each week, Live365 reports its DJ's playlists to Radio and Records, College Music Journal (CMJ), Billboard Online, New Age Reporter, and other web properties. It can track which Internet stations are playing our music and how many monthly listening-hours we are getting. Assisted by Radiowave.com, Live365 also compiles and reports a run-of-site weekly airplay chart. Submit album or track to Live 365’s editorial department for consideration to be listed free of charge at www.live365.com/labelservices.
Message Boards, Forum: In addition to exposing us to a worldwide audience, Live365’s message boards and community forums offer additional avenues for promotion and feedback. SomaFM & Groove Salad—one example among thousands of Live365’s narrowcasting stations. SomaFM has 9 unique channels on the air, with 3 more in the works. It gets over 3 million listener hours a month, which makes it one of the larger internet-only broadcasters. Groove Salad is one of Soma’s unique channels whose format may ﬁt our album. Through SomaFM's partnership with NPR, it is making its programming available over the air (i.e., as an FM broadcast) by providing a special version of Groove Salad for NPR member stations to use on their HD multicast channels. (HD Multicast is a new technology that allows FM HD Radio stations to broadcast multiple channels of programming at the same time.)
THE ONE NIGHT STAND TOUR
TENTATIVE TOUR SCHEDULE • September 1: Alb., NM • September 29: Austin, TX • September 2: Okl., City, OK • October 1: Dallas, TX • September 3: Tulsa, OK • September 6: Minn., MN • October 2: Tuscon, AZ • September 7: Milwaukee, WI • October 3: Flagstaff, AZ • September 8: Chicago, IL • September 10: Col., MO • October 4: Mesa, AZ • September 11: Ind., IN • September 13: Detroit, MI • October 5: L.V., NV • September 14: Flint, MI • September 15: Balt., MA • September 17: Prov., RI • September 18: Brooklyn, NY • September 20: Ashvelle, NC • September 22: Miami, FL • September 23: Jacksonville, FL • September 26: New Orleans., LO • September 28: San Antonio, TX
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