It’s a well-known fact that the music world can be a somewhat cut-throat industry. Record companies may crush your spirit, artists may steal your ideas, and the whole industry can seem almost dysfunctional at times. But at least one company has managed to rise above the fray and create a brilliant strategy that sets it apart from the rest of the industry.
That company is Sony. Although it’s one of the biggest and most well-known record labels in the world, it has chosen to avoid the traditional route of signing up every up-and-coming pop star and releasing popular songs to make money. Instead, it focuses on creating memorable experiences for its fans by using various platforms and marketing initiatives to attract and retain loyal followers.
Here, we’ll explore how Sony does music marketing and why it works so well.
Taking A Deep Breath
When you’re in the middle of a heated debate about the merits of various music genres, it’s easy to forget to breathe. This is especially relevant when you’re surrounded by friends who share your passion for a particular band or artist. But that kind of passionate commitment can take you a long way – and, at times, it can feel like it won’t let you breathe. You’re having so much fun, but at the same time, you feel like you need to get this right, you know? So much passion, so little time… it’s easy to see why some people get burned out by the industry. They lose sight of what’s important in life and start to question whether or not they ever really wanted to be in the music business in the first place. They start to feel that maybe it’s not for them.
Sony knows this all too well. The company was founded in 1946 and began life as an electronics manufacturer. But in the midst of the Great Recession, the company started realizing that it couldn’t depend on just selling consumer electronic products to stay afloat. So it began to focus on what would later become its signature focus area: music. To do this, it set up the in-house creative team that would later become famous for its work with big-name artists like the Lumineers and Beck. Its aim was to create a brand identity that would allow it to stand out from the crowd and to create unique identities for each of its artist clients. These identities would then be used to market and promote their music.
An Identity That’s Identical But Different
If you’ve ever shopped at Best Buy, you may have noticed that they’re frequently running big sales on music. The retailer realizes that there’s a big market for people who want to listen to popular songs on the go. People who love music and want to buy albums.
So, in an effort to create more impulse purchases and to encourage fans to come back after they’ve experienced one of their branded events, best buys have started implementing strategies that are fairly similar to what Sony does. They give music fans the feeling that what they’re buying is not just another generic album. Instead, it’s an identity that’s identical but different. For example, you might visit the Best Buy website and see a picture of a shopper holding a large, wrapped package. The package could be labeled as the new J. Cole album, but it would be wrapped in a Hello Kitty wrapping, so it still feels like a Best Buy offering.
The point is that when an album is associated with a brand, it becomes that brand’s ‘statement album’. Think of it like this: you never buy a loaf of bread, you buy a baguette, a Kaiser Wilhelm or a Soprano. So, too, with music. When you buy an album by a certain artist, you’re not just buying that artist’s music. You’re also associated with their brand. In this way, the music becomes something greater than the sum of its parts – it becomes an experience. You’re buying into the artist’s identity. And that’s a powerful thing.
Strategies To Build Up A Following
Now, the exciting part! If you’ve followed the previous step, then you’ll know that buying music isn’t enough. You also have to make sure that your artists are aware of your intention to promote their music. You can do this by using a variety of platforms, from online communities to social media; traditional marketing to non-traditional marketing.
For instance, you could start a blog that focuses on music or create a podcast that speaks to your target audience. You might even consider creating a YouTube channel that exclusively features music videos from your artists.
Then, you can integrate all of this into a cohesive marketing plan that will allow you to reach your audience where they are. If you want to target fans of a particular genre, you can use platforms like Spotify and Pandora to listen to music and get suggestions on what to watch, stream or podcast about. Or, if you have more of a community spirit, you can use forums like Reddit to engage with fans. This form of marketing is known as ‘word of mouth’ or ‘buzz marketing’. It’s free, it’s effective, and it’s alive and well on platforms like Twitter, where music-related tweets can get a brand as much as 75 percent of the time. If you want to make sure that your music gains attention, this is where you do it. And it works because music is a form of art that people feel connected to – whether they’re familiar with the work or not. It naturally connects with anyone who has ever loved or appreciated music. But it also has the tendency to bring people together. Whether it’s because they have a shared interest in a band or artist, or because they share the same passion for a particular song, people who love music are often passionate about sharing their love for it with others. This is why, when we consider the word-of-mouth aspect of music marketing, we have to dig a little deeper and examine the ‘buzz’ that an artist’s music creates.
The Buzz That Makes Music Marketing Successful
To determine whether or not an artist’s music will ‘take off’ and go viral, it’s essential to examine this buzz that is created when a new album is released. This buzz is highly contagious, so it is critical to establish a baseline before you begin any sort of activity. Once you have determined this baseline, you can then work on increasing it. There are four critical factors that contribute to a song going viral: originality, creativity, enthusiasm and sentiment.
The first two are rather self-explanatory. To be original, your music shouldn’t just sound like every other song out there; it should sound unique and should express something new. This is rather difficult to do, and most people don’t give it much thought when they listen to the same old song over and over again. Creating music with some originality requires a certain amount of imagination, which is why most artists feel rather uncomfortable with this aspect of songwriting. But even those artists who can pull it off successfully will admit that it’s rather difficult to do. So, even though it may not feel like it at the time, every time you listen to a song with a bit of originality, you are in fact hearing something new. A creative, unique product that you might not have tried before.
As for enthusiasm, this simply refers to the feeling that an individual or group of individuals have about a project, product or idea. This can be positive or negative, and it’s rather difficult to measure, since it’s rather subjective. But you’ll know when you feel it – if you’re not feeling it, then the chances are, you aren’t going to make anyone else feel it, either. The sentiment factor is rather straightforward: individuals or entities that are associated with a product or idea will most likely feel positive or negative towards that product or idea. This is why it’s important to establish a brand identity before you begin any sort of marketing activity – in order to determine what sentiments should be associated with your company, product or idea.
When it comes to marketing music, it’s essential to keep these four factors in mind – originality, creativity, enthusiasm and sentiment. These factors will determine whether or not a particular song goes viral and catches on with the public. If you want your music to stand out, then it’s a good idea to consider these factors and make sure that your music reflects them. If you want to be able to market your music successfully, then it’s essential to consider these factors and make sure that your music reflects them. If you want to see your music go viral, then you need to make sure that its four critical factors are in place – originality, creativity, enthusiasm and sentiment. And, in order to do this, you need to make sure that your music is, in fact, memorable. So, before we continue, let’s take a look at how Sony promotes music and why it works so well.