21st Century Pop Music Promotion: The Times They Are A Changin’Site Admin
Since music went digital the charts haven’t felt the same. No more sitting around waiting to find out who is number one on a Sunday afternoon, finger hovering over the record button on your Casette deck; music grand theft auto of the 90s. Nostalgia aside, things have actually improved and new music could not be more accessible. Not only is it easier and cheaper to consume pop music, the promotional strategies employed by artists have been transformed and with the exploitation of digital media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and even Tinder, commercial acts can release and push their brand in a more instantaneous, creative way, keeping consumers on their toes and forever wondering “what will they do next?”.
In 2013, Beyoncé dropped her eponymous fifth album onto iTunes without a hint of pre-release buzz. Of course, as a fan, I was sent into a state of hysteria and I think my jaw actually did make contact with my desk. This was an exciting and risky move, so she says herself, although it was never going to be a flop strategy was it when you factor in the power of her brand? Without the subsequent share-share-share on Facebook and Twitter, frantic blog write-ups, hysterical fan videos on Instagram and audio snippets sent between friends on Snapchat it would have probably moved more glacially. I can’t imagine such a strategy succeeding utilising only the sales power of HMV and Woolworths (God rest her soul). Social enabled this success story and the marketing evil genius’ behind it knew this well before they did what they did. All they had to do was release and watch the “Beyoncégeddon” (The Guardian) unfold and within 24 hours the album sold 430,000 digital copies. Beyond this, not very much had to be done by the lady herself, except perhaps the arduous task of rolling around naked in a pile of money. To illustrate how important the likes of Twitter were in this campaign look at the below images, showing Twitter activity surrounding “Beyoncé” before and then 10 hours after the surprise release:
The internet did in fact “explode” that day. The element of surprise isn’t always such a success though. U2 popped their latest album onto iTunes, only it was given to all users without their consent. Queue an onslaught of social media channelled abuse and a tidal wave of complaints to Apple from users who were unable to remove the opus from their music library. Poor Bono.
I don’t imagine Tinder is the kind of place you would find a pop star of Beyoncé’s calibre and you’re unlikely to see Rihanna, Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj on there either (for now). You will see Jason Derulo however, only you won’t have the option to ‘match’ with him with a flick to the right on your smartphone screen. The ‘would’ or ‘wouldn’t’ swiping game of love has become the number one accessory in the life of the 21st Century digital dater and it seems it’s becoming a platform for brand promotion too. Singer of songs Jason Derulo recently released his new hit single ‘Want To Want Me’ via the dating app, serving users an ad which would, with a swipe to the right, direct them to the Youtube hosted music video.
A report states that the campaign was a behemoth success, with 1.1 million users swiping right in three days. The company also says that 14% of those that liked the ad bought the single, so that’s 154,000 sales from the flick of a fingertip. This is the first pop release of its kind, but it won’t be the last with once thought alien abductee Hilary Duff (where has she been?!) utilising the same method to push her new single. I don’t envisage this campaign being as successful, considering it isn’t coupled with any other media platforms, and no one cares. Tinder isn’t stopping there as its sister app Next is essentially musical tindering. It gives anyone the opportunity to showcase their musical artistry to users who can give their opinion with a swipe. Tinder co-founder Christopher Gulczynski commented on this new innovation in music promotion, “Next is always going to be a home for the person with a guitar sitting in their bedroom. It’ll never grow away from that.” We’ll see how true that statement is once he has the opportunity to roll about naked in his own money pile.