A DIGITAL MUSIC SURGERY WITH GLENN COOPER, SENIOR MARKETING DIRECTOR AT ISLAND RECORDS UK.
What do we know about Digital Marketing? We know that it entails the curating and promotion of a ‘brand’ through electronic devices and social platforms; we also know that it has taken over the world!
Ten business-minded creatives started February off productively on Monday by joining Glenn Cooper, Island Records UK’s Senior Marketing Director, for an hour and a half ‘Cre8ing Vision Digital Music Surgery’. We also had the pleasure of picking Louis Brown’s brain, who is, as Glenn put it: “The heartbeat behind Spinnup”, which is a digital distribution platform working intimately with A&R scouts to find the next breakthrough artist. (I’ll get to that later).
Glenn kicked things off by talking us through the basics of social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and the vitality of artists reaching out to their fan base on a personal level.
“Twitter and Instagram should always come first hand from the artist.”
Glenn added: “Let people into a little bit more than just purely the music” and to kick the ‘sales strategy’ out into the cold, because that is not what the consumers want, they want stories! Of course, Glenn’s advice can be translated into any type of art form. Whether you are an illustrator, a poet, an actor, a singer, a dancer, whatever your craft, make it grounded and personable. It seems that these days, people want more than just your art. They want to know what makes you tick! Glenn affirmed:
“It is risky to be an enigma and not communicate with people.”
A generous amount of time was spent explaining the curated newsfeed that is Facebook. I always knew that Facebook was a great social tool to connect with long distance friends and family, but I didn’t acknowledge its significance in regards to the entertainment world. Glenn let us in on some astounding statistics in which Facebook and You Tube are contenders for the most video views. The long and short of it is this: Facebook are catching up with You Tube very fast, which slightly startled me. Were you aware that in the space of 3 months, Facebook incurred a 50% growth in video viewings? Did you know that there are over 1 billion video views per day?! Also, let me not leave this gem of information out: 65% of video views/shares are on mobile devices, IPhones, Androids and what have you.
Glenn pressed upon the fact that there has been such a massive cultural shift in the way people consume content. It’s all about instant, immediate results. People want to be able to click their fingers and, hey presto, it’s there, whether it’s a video, a soundclip, something written or a picture. They want it pronto. The bottom line is this: allow people to view it and share it in the easiest and fastest way possible. “Put the right content on the right platform” and reap the benefits, but make sure that it works well on a mobile device first, because that is where people’s eyes are!
Why? Because people usually get sucked into buying chewing gum and sweets at the check out, but because they are all looking on down at their phones, they aren’t buying anything!
So how do you accumulate an audience? How do you get those ‘Facebook likes’ on your page? How do you get more followers on your Instagram/Twitter? The truth is, upload good, real content (the hashtags and retweets obviously help too). As Glenn mentioned before, people love stories. Observe what videos are getting the most views, research the hottest topic, and again, do not fill your page/timeline/feed with just you and your craft (which people DO want to see, just not all the time). Inject some humour into it, make it spontaneous (as much as that’s even possible – be spontaneous with your planned posts!)
Glenn Cooper and Louis Brown hosting the digital Music Surgery (02.02.15)
Furthermore, we’ve all seen the little icon that says ‘boost post’ on our Facebook page, but, as one of the workshop attendees rightly asked, how affective are sponsored posts? Glenn transparently replied:
“If you’re posting really good content, then it’s worth putting in some spend to amplify. But it has to be really strong content. And again, if you’re just trying to hit the rest of your audience and you’ve got a big fan base or trying to target fans of similar artists, that’s how you do it. Generally, you need to get that spend working in the first 24 hours to get the best benefit or it just falls off.”
So, it seems that these sponsored posts are better suited once you have accumulated a following, as opposed to when you are just starting out. I myself have tried using the sponsored post for my Facebook page (not my personal page) and, according to Facebook, up to 3,186 could have potentially seen my post, but it only got 2 likes, so there is definitely truth in what Glenn has said).
Again, another important question came up: Don’t YouTube subscriptions generate more followers than Facebook video views? Glenn stated: “Over the long-term, yes. If you have a video make sure it is on both YouTube and Facebook so that you can engage an audience on YouTube and who can share the video.”
“Sometimes, in this industry, we get obsessed with view counts, in a world of trying to make sure that radio understand how many views you’ve got, how many Shazaams you’ve got, unfortunately, having a great record alone, isn’t always enough to get played on radio these days.”
Another social platform that homes in more on the music side of things is Soundcloud. Glenn pointed out that the first 72 hours on Soundcloud are your most important. “Put a full length clip up and then clip it back to 90 seconds, if you are on Pro Account, that is.”
It is just as easy (and, actually, much better) to get your content up on music platforms such as Spotify, Deezer and others. The great thing about these outlets is that you don’t need to be signed to a record label and there are a cluster of programmes that can send your music on and accessed immediately, otherwise known as ‘digital aggregators’: (Tunecore, EMU Bands, CDBaby, Record Union).
That brings me to something I mentioned earlier, we had another digital pro in the house with us. Louis Brown started off as a digital intern for Glenn and has worked his way up to a Consultant Project Manager for Island Records UK. He has had an integral role, alongside Glenn, in ‘Spinnup’.
Louis gave us some background knowledge on Spinnup, a digital distribution platform as well as its purpose within the music industry. Say you have your traditional A&R methods of going to gigs, looking up music online, word of mouth etc. Well, Spinnup is in a lane of it’s own, by which I mean it combines digital distribution with A&R scouting. The Artist keeps 100% of their royalties and is not tied to any label. You can contact selected Spinnup A&R scouts based on your genre of music and their specific experience (Bloggers, DJ’s, Producers, Managers etc) and you develop a relationship with them where you can ask for advice and they give you feedback. Once you sign up, your music is directly placed on streaming service providers such as Spotify, ITunes, Deezer, Amazon Music, Google Play, Wimp and Rhapsody. You can keep track of all data stats as well as be ‘in the know’ of music industry happenings. It has done extremely well in Sweden and has recently launched in the UK too. “It’s all about finding that artist and linking them to getting signed”, said Louis.
It seems that things have become more like a global community. You used to have separate regions of music scenes where A&R scouts would concentrate on. Now, it’s all about reaching that wider audience and exposure. Again, it’s about immediate action. Artists are now being given the chance to have almost direct contact with the label from the ground up. Each Spinnup A&R scout is already well established, so, really, they are the glue between the artist and the record deal, if all goes well.
All in all, I really liked the fact that a stronger emphasis is made upon self-development and a process of actually having an in depth conversation with the artist about their comfort zone occurs in regards to how they promote themselves. Glenn seems to prioritise this, which helps build a trusting professional relationship with the artist in the grand scheme of things.
An hour and a half flew by and I was left in wonderment! I wanted more time to listen to different marketing strategies and whatever else entered my mind. It was a great masterclass with really cool attendees who bounced off each other and asked very interesting and relevant questions.
The Digital Music Surgery has taught me the importance of analysing data (no matter how boring it sounds, because it does!) and telling an on-going story as a way of truly connecting with your audience. We live in a day and age where we can create anything we want through visuals and sounds. The fact is that your audience really want to be able to connect with you on a personal level and you can do this whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. Be as cryptic as your heart desires!
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by: Love Lee | February 9, 2015 | News