The New Age of Music Marketing

By: Michael Noce

With the rapidly changing world of technology, businesses of all kinds have been forced to change and adapt to our fast moving world. The music business is no exception, the digital age has been changing the way music is promoted and discovered. Thanks in large part to Apple and iTtunes, the way we find and download music is completely different from just a decade ago. The days of artists going multi-platinum and promoting themselves through the release and sales of new albums are over causing record companies to come up with new strategies to promote their clients. Thanks to our tech-savvy generation, today’s youth have entered the music market and are now competing with big record companies from their own computers. This was made possible with the ability to upload and download music from the internet for free and our you has taken full advantage of this and by doing so is “driving down overall music sales.” With so many music options available on the web for free, its hard for record companies to promote their material in a way that persuades listeners to purchase the music, in turn they are going about promoting music in new ways. This makes me wonder, what new advancement in music will our youth influence next?

One of the main concepts in this new marketing approach has been all about gaining exposure. Record companies and artists must now willingly give away their music for free and hope that in return they will gain new fans that will purchase material later or strike gold with companies willing to market or license their music. This concept is being used by legends like Radiohead, who had their last album available online to download at the price of your choice, and basement DJ’s who use the online commons to give out their samples for free in order to gain recognition. One of the most successful examples of this I came across came from a band called the IdeaLists. This no-named band gained instant popularity by shooting a music video for a new song that contained “dogboarding” and made it available for all to see with no cost.

<p><a href=”″>Dogboarding</a&gt; from <a href=””>DANIELS</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Another method of marketing artist have been using to gain exposure and money is by using big companies in two ways. One is by selling the rights to their songs for use in commercials. The artist sells their song to make money and gain exposure of their music, while the companies agree to it as they hope the public will think of their product that they have linked to the song each time they hear the song wherever it may be. The other way they took a page out of the movie industries book by starting to use product placement within their videos. I can understand why they would take a couple extra bucks to through in a quick clip of the lead singer sipping on a Pepsi, however, when Pepsi goes and uses a song to brand their product, it rubs me the wrong way. When artists, such as Train in the example below, use their tremendous talent to write and compose songs they put their own meanings into the song to send a message to their fans. After Pepsi throws money at them, they steal the song and destroy the meaning the artist meant for the song to have. They do this to make their product look superior to others and in doing so take the song out of context and embed a new meaning into the public’s’ mind. A good example of this is Vampire Weekend’s song Holiday, which was bought out by Honda to be used in multiple commercials during the holiday season. If you look at the lyrics, you can clearly see the song has nothing to do with the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa season as the commercial portrays.

All of these new methods of reaching new audiences and spending money to give away free music in hopes of a greater return leads back to impact our youth has on the music industry. We have the ability to control the content that is available in the online commons. With our knowledge and experience of the online world, we have created a new world of online music that has forced multi-million dollar companies to change the way in which they market their products. Apple has been able to essentially monopolizes the online music downloading scene by keeping up with what we, the youth, wants and providing us with the tools necessary to not only discover new music, but share our own. Which brings up a concern of mine, how democratic is Itunes by taking over the online music scene and forcing us to pay as much as $1.29 for ONE song? This scares record companies and has forced them to dip as low as to try to sell music to our youth through violent and sexual music, that they believe appeals to us. This raises the question to me of how far will we allow record companies and artist to go in terms of the messages they are trying to sell to youth?

In music, sex and violence sells.


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