Track 1: Intro

Welcome! This blog features the methods in which alternative music labels promote music and communicate with consumers. Each post focuses on a different proponent in the alternative music hierarchy and attempts to show how they use social media in order to engage with their consumers and audiences.

What to Expect

The posts go through the ever-growing music industry by starting at the smallest unit and working up to the press and publications. The first post looks into the impact social media has on individual bands and artists. The second post expands to look at how Indie Labels in particular use social media when expanding their brands and promoting their bands. The third post looks at how channels such as alternative and indie radio use social media to promote the bands. Lastly, the fourth post looks at how music related publications (specifically magazines) feature indie music and utilize social media to get their messages across.

The posts are named as a track number on a CD but are representative of what the article is about. You may notice that the track numbers aren’t in the most traditional order, but in this day and age you can listen to any track in any order you want. In a similar way, the posts are user-friendly and can be read in any order.

By approaching the music industry this way, the final post builds off of previously explored information about the smaller proponents that make up the music industry. With the combination of the constantly evolving social media sphere with endless mediums and the ever-growing music industry with a plethora of genres, the indie or alternative music scene is thriving with media possibilities.

Final Thoughts

This blog shows how the focus with social media has shifted from being just about how many followers you have to what the individual followers really think about you. In the current day and age, communication is no longer one-way, and the audience or consumer view has never mattered more. Social media has provided consumers with a huge way to engage in immediate feedback, and indie music is no exception to this phenomenon.

Track 6: The Last Song

As discussed throughout the previous posts, social media has shaped society as we know it today. As the younger generation becomes more involved in the economic market, the various niche markets have been exploring how they can best take advantage of the opportunities the third and fourth screen have created. As the social media and advertising sphere are changing constantly and at an increasing rate, it’s becoming more and more important for industries to keep in touch with best social media practices.

Best Practice in Action

Specifically, the music industry has found strength in social media for the younger alternative market. The alternative music market in particular has a growing millennial fan-base, so social media marketing is becoming to be a commonplace (and common sense) occurrence. As previously explored, a trickle-down effect has occurred within the music industry in regards to using social media for advertising purposes. While it is incredibly important that the larger names at the top of the music industry chain are using social media to promote the indie bands they sponsor, it’s been shown that even the smallest unit in the chain can thrive on social media. Bands have a good rap for successfully using social media to connect with their fans interpersonally and to humanize themselves, especially on Twitter.

Moving past this, labels use social media to interact with their fans and promote multiple bands at once, effectively taking all that the bands do well and incorporating into the larger scheme of things. While sometimes it seems as if bands are almost more successful using social media on their own, labels are making great strides to using social media to their full potential.

In addition to the label use of interactive media, radio stations will use it to further their promotion of music. Radio stations, as discussed, are still in efforts to find the medium that works best to get their listeners more interactive, but it appears as if Twitter once again might be the winning platform.

Finally, this blog discussed the strides that alternative music media publications have used in regards to external social media. While it may seem redundant or odd for an entity of the media to refer to additional media, it is really just proof of how omnipresent social media has become in this day and age.

The Bigger Picture

Social media has become a necessity for marketers, especially in regards to the growing involvement and influence of the technological age of millennials. While there will always change and room for improvement, it’s important for marketers in any industry to know what their audience needs and anticipate how to best meet it before the next app update.

Track 5: Meet the Press

As bands and artists, labels, and radio stations all use social media in traditional or innovative ways, alternative and mainstream press alike have found ways to talk about it using the very same social media platforms. The traditional news press, especially exemplified in magazines, doesn’t always have the best reputation, but there is reason to believe that the press could have success in the modern world of social media.

The Editorial Effect

Whether or not magazines have had a positive impact on their readers, they very obviously have an effect.Magazines have been reported as being more effective when they have a cross-media presence and have identities on different platforms accessible to their readers. Readers have been known to feel a connected personal identity with the magazines they read, so using social media to help the reader actually embrace and respond with their shared identity has proven to be valuable to both the audience and the magazines.

Just as music has the capacity to influence a large amount of seemingly unrelated people, social media has made it possible for music oriented magazines (and magazines in general) to reach the masses in groundbreaking new ways. Many magazines are starting at a more generalized approach first, calculating who exactly their target audiences are based on the type of music they are promoting. Then, based on their knowledge of who they are as a brand and what they want to accomplish, the publications can find fitting artists and events to promote. This way, the target audience is getting exactly what they want.

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Being Innovative

Arguably, one of the best ways for magazines to get their audiences involved is to do something that’s never been done. By launching apps promoted on existing social media, creating advertising campaigns combining their product with a previously thought unrelated concept, and encouraging audience interaction through social media with things as simple as hashtags, many brands and magazines have been able to  gather a new interest from readers.

Defining how the media use another form of media can be a tricky and ever-evolving topic, but the magazine industry is just starting to take off with social media use. As technology is constantly advancing, magazines and other media publications still have nearly endless opportunities to get their audience from just readers to interacting creators. The press has its own interactive web to work with, especially in the music industry, where every other part of the chain is trying to publicize themselves through social media.

 

Track 4: Tuning In and Twitter

As addressed in past posts, individual bands and artists along with their labels make use of social media to better connect with their fans. Once the music is out and released, many rely on the proper publicity from radio stations to create buzz about their releases. It’s a common misconception that social media is replacing traditional media like television and radio. On the contrary, social media is a new opportunity that radio stations are starting to make the most out of.

Reaching the Publics

The frequently coined “networked publics” that listen to radio break consist of an active audience previously thought of as invisible by radio DJs. Audience members are doing more than tuning in or even calling in: they are interacting.  Tests conducted comparing two radio stations and their audience interaction found that listeners are not only actively following radio social media, they are retweeting and even responding to posts.

The publics don’t just appear out of thin air, though. Radio stations have to both put in and maintain constant effort to be involved with their listeners. Many experts in the field are suggesting pursuing the listeners’ attention through posting more unique forms of multimedia, interacting one-on-one and showing personal connections with individual listeners, and continuing relationships with specific listeners instead of having a vague relationship with the holistic audience.

Facebook tends to be ignored in discussions of radio and social media, with a continued stress on the importance of correct utilization of Twitter. In addition to the use of the popular app and website, it was found that radio multimedia success begins with at home: with the radio website. As the audience is largely involved with the third screen (or cell phone), radio stations have been actively trying to update their websites to make them more mobile friendly and adaptive to different screens. As a result, the user experience is better in general, which can translate on to other forms of social media.

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Room to Grow

As a whole, radio stations still have a long way to go with social media interactivity. Stations are making strides, but their interactions with users is still relatively low compared to the opportunities that Twitter and other social media allow. Through higher posting rates, innovative presentations of multimedia, and more interpersonal and connecting efforts, radio stations have the chance to make the most out of social media and use it to their advantage. In turn, this could further help the bands and labels already reaching out to their audiences.

 

Track 3: Don’t Label Me

As previously explored, individual bands stand to benefit from communicating with their fans on social media outlets such as MySpace Music and Twitter. It doesn’t stop there, though. The record labels that pick up bands and support and manage also utilize social media in the modern society to connect with the audience. As the large majority of alt-music listeners are in the younger demographic, social media really is one of the best ways to reach them.

Knowing the Fans

It’s becoming of growing importance for record labels to acknowledge that, while all fans may have equal weight in whether or not they “like” something, all fans are different. Emotionally dedicated fans, sometimes referred to as tribe members, have been found to spend more money towards an artist or a label when they feel an personal or emotional connection to the artist. Labels are having to focus on what and who their niche audiences are, in regards to their individual bands as well as their own personal brand.

The key factor, labels are realizing, is to make social media about more than just promoting new releases. Prior to the onslaught of social media that is now omnipresent, fans of bands would have to meet in person in some previously-coordinated way to talk about their common interests. Social media have made it easier than ever for strangers and friends alike to virtually meet over common ground, and labels have started to take note. At the very least, by having the bands within the label communicate more effectively and consistently with the target audiences, the brand of the labels themselves seems more authentic and fitting with the “cool” and young listeners.

Indie labels, whether they are just taking off or if they are established and thriving, have had the general tendency to focus on niche audiences more than the large and most-well known record labels tend to. Each label has a genre with a niche audience and even more specific niches developing with each band present in the label. Successful indie labels have been able to capitalize on the capability to collect data on audiences in this digital era, to make sure they are targeting the ideal audience in the optimal way.

A Success Story

One such example of this is Mom & Pop Music, an Indie Label started by a former large-label worker who desired more autonomy in his work. This desire for a maintaining-of-the-self has struck a chord with several big names in the indie music scene, helping Mom & Pop grow to be one of the most successful current Indie Labels. Mom & Pop as a label, as well as the bands it hosts, has a strong Twitter presence where they further their current success by engaging with the fans consistently about music releases in addition to interesting things going on with the bands and the label.

Track 2: I’m With the Band

In today’s ever-expanding music scene, genres and bands outside of the Top 40 have to think outside the box to be noticed and followed. In the similarly constantly expanding social media world, there are more ways than ever for bands to engage with their audiences. MySpace Music, a medium previously thought dead in today’s day and age, has been shown to have a substantial effect on music sales. In addition to this finding, it’s been discovered that this increase in sales is occurring due to not advertising but through personal messages. The effect has been found to be as much as six times as large as the effect of other forms of communication. This has especially been prominent when the artists at hand are disclosing personal statements about what they’re doing outside of MySpace Music.

Raising Their Voice

There is a growing call for bands to take initiative and reach out to their fans, as their fans are the largest factor determining their overall success. In particular, it is becoming a necessity for bands to find their niche audience and target them on the best platform.

Whether it’s done in an effort to increase attention about a new album or to just humanize the individual members of the bands, audiences have generally positive reactions to the notion of being able to communicate with artists in this way. By using Twitter in particular, bands and artists encourage fans and consumers to respond and react in an immediate way.

Artists in Action

Indie singer Amanda Palmer found personal success through Twitter when she took advantage of the hashtag feature to gain increasing amounts of attention to a tweet that eventually got her a gross of $11,000 on Sharpie designed t-shirts she casually made.

On the other end of the spectrum, social media has made it possible for the audience to provide feedback to individual bands in a way never before easily possible. Through outlets like Facebook and Yelp, consumers have an opportunity to create User Generated Content in order to review artist’s albums, however there is no proof of correlation currently between artist-generated content and reciprocated User Generated Content.

Indie, alternative and start-up bands have been able to utilize all that social media, especially MySpace Music and Twitter, have to offer. While this may not seem necessary after bands have found success or a sponsor with a brand, it is evident that many artists and bands have found benefits in continuing to have an active online social media presence.