Interesting post on marketing music through social media

10 Aug 2010 by Randall Helms, No Comments »

OK, it’s not FMCG products, but one of the more interesting online marketing posts that I’ve read recently is ID’s wrap-up of the ‘Diary of a Free Album’ series that he has been writing this year, analyzing the progress of Bass Music Sessions, a free album that he had produced in collaboration with his studio partner Baobinga:

Was it worth doing and is this a sustainable way to run things? Well, the first, obvious answer is no, not really. Not like this; even if we were going to keep all the money, a thousand pounds between two people for what probably amounted to 6 weeks work each is clearly not enough to live on. Even if you double that, you’re still way below minimum wage. But, what about live stuff? The exposure! Artists should give away music for free, and live off the shows, yes? Well, as far as we can tell, the album has had a fairly minimal effect on our bookings …

Of course, the obvious rejoinder to all this would be that we’re just not big/popular enough, or working in a big/popular enough scene. Fair enough. It does seem however, that this model is not (yet) a realistic alternative to having an album out through the conventional channels …

I mentioned a ‘collateral benefit’ above, and there have been a few. Firstly, the ‘PR database’. Since doing this album, I’ve managed to build up a list of around 400 blogs which I can email if I’ve got anything they might be interested in. I’ve used it a couple of times when I had mixes or free tracks, and it helped gain some attention. Second, we’ve now got a mailing list of approaching 4,000 names, people who actually like and are interested in our music. I haven’t mailed them yet, because I’m wary of spam so want to keep the updates pretty occasional, but will be doing so shortly (hello!). This is probably a pretty valuable asset, too. Third, the experience, and this is something that’s definitely valuable, on an intangible sort of level. I’ve learned a lot from this project, and had some ideas of what I can do in future. On which note, stay tuned – we’ll have an announcement in the next week or 2 about that.

So, all in all, yes, I’d say it was worth doing. Financially, not really, but then most stuff at this level of dance music tends not to be massively financially rewarding anyway, and we didn’t lose anything. On other levels though, it was a great learning experience and has given us plenty of food for thought.

It’s definitely worth reading the whole thing.


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