You Can't Predict What Will Drive Music Business Models… So Be Open To Everything

from the don't-count-it-out... dept

Topspin CEO Ian Rogers has a great post detailing how (contrary to his own beliefs) Twitter appears to be quickly becoming a very powerful channel for promoting music and playing into music business models. He gives two examples of how Twitter provided a huge push in driving sales of products for the bands Jimmy Eat World and Arcade Fire. However, his concluding paragraph is the key:

What to conclude from all this? That Twitter is the marketing machinery of the future? Naw. This isn’t about “the next big thing”. It’s about how little we know about how marketing will work and how transactions (not just purchases, but any kind of value exchange) will be earned (and I do mean earned) in the future. Success is highly variable. Execution matters (as James said). Unexpected events can make an impact. People are powerful marketers.

This is actually really important. It’s why you want to enable others to help promote for you however they’re most comfortable promoting your works. Yet, over the past decade, what we’ve seen is how the music industry has tried, at almost every turn, to limit how people promote music to others, and to funnel fans into a very limited set of options for how to interact with the music. If you want to capture the biggest possible bang for the buck, you have to step back and let the community figure out the best way to help promote your works, rather than assuming you can dictate it.

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Comments on “You Can't Predict What Will Drive Music Business Models… So Be Open To Everything”

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Anonymous Coward says:

not managable

I was in a marketing course a couple of years ago and someone asked a question about word of mouth advertising. The instructor said that the problem with word of mouth advertising is that it cannot be measured or managed. He used the counter example of coupons. You can target who you send the coupons to, and you can measure how effective the coupon program is by looking at how many coupons come back and analyzing what else the customer bought when they redeemed the coupon. He complained that you never knew whether or not word of mouth had caused a customer to come into your store; even doing surveys doesn’t give you reliable information about word of mouth.

I think that may be one of the underlying problems of modern business. The prevailing philosophy in many large businesses is that everything has to be rationally managed. If something cannot be measured then businesses will tend to ignore it. If it can’t be controlled then businesses will try to stamp it out. Things like twitter are relatively unknown in terms of their marketing impact, and they certainly are not controllable. Things like Twitter tend to blindside management.

refe (profile) says:

not managable

Not only is the idea that ‘word of mouth’ marketing like what you find on Twitter is less desirable because it can’t be tracked unfortunate, but it is also bogus. I have no trouble at all tracking who is talking about my blog on Twitter. Every link I post is from, a URL shortener with analytics. I can see how many people clicked and from where. I can also just search for the name of my blog, the topics I’ve been writing about, etc. I can see when people retweet my messages or reply back to me. Twitter has made word of mouth extremely easy to track.

More importantly though, the whole reason for tracking anything is to figure out your return on investment. It makes a lot of sense to make that a high priority with most marketing campaigns because they are extremely expensive and logistically complex. But with word of mouth and peer-peer marketing, the investment is usually very low. So the ROI should be worthwhile simply because of how little you have to put in, right? So who cares if you don’t know exactly who is saying what? Are people buying your product or hitting your site? That’s what’s important from a business perspective.

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