It’s worth noting that my colleague is of the baby boomer generation and has industry experience prior to the steep decline of the major labels. In contrast, I’m on the cusp of gen X and Y, and my industry experience has only been of a DIY independent nature.
So, my music industry colleague asked me, “How would you market a new album if I gave you a collection of songs?” He asked this question, and in my mind I think he had an idea of what he thought the answer should be (perhaps I’m presuming too much, but that was my initial thought).
I tried to be thoughtful as I began to answer with ideas of building a buzz online via blogging and social media, utilizing online contests and related offline promotions and live shows, but my ideas kept driving everything back to online tactics that can help quickly build a community around the music, if done correctly.
His response, was, “Yes, but how would you market the album.” Clearly, we had a difference of opinion about what ‘marketing an album’ entails. I was thinking about building relationships with fans surrounding the album vs. interrupting fans with advertising and radio play. On one hand the audience being marketed to has some control regarding how they receive those marketing messages vs. having no control over how they receive marketing messages, with more interruptive tactics (ads and traditional radio play).
These differences illustrate experiential and possibly generational points of view. My question ends up being: Are both routes correct?
I ask that question because one crucial piece of this conversation that we both failed to address was, who is the target audience for this fictitious album we’re trying to market? Because, if my target market is baby boomers who are used to purchasing actual albums (on CD perhaps) then maybe what I perceive are my colleague’s thoughts toward marketing an album are correct. However, if the target audience are from my own generation, more comfortable with blogging and social media, then perhaps I’m right.
My main conclusion is that I don’t think there is a least common denominator for how to market an album to the masses. In fact, I don’t think anyone is marketing albums to the masses anymore in which case addressing your niche audience and catering your marketing specifically to that audience is perfectly acceptable and exactly what you want to do.
Posted by: Nick Venturella
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