A few days ago, the unstoppable Bob Baker asked me to write my predictions for marketing your music in 2012. I was included amongst a list of incredible thought leaders and it sparked a conversation here in the Cyber PR Office. So I asked my trustworthy team to share their own predictions for this coming year. Here they are:
Ariel Hyatt – President Ariel Publicity
Founder of Cyber PR®
1. Staying Positive and In Gratitude Will Help Tremendously
Before I make any music marketing trends and predictions for 2012 here’s where to start:
Remember, success in today’s quicksand like music business is HARD and takes WORK, getting into a negative, overwhelmed and angry place will directly effect your success. I’ve seen it now thousands of times in 12 countries. The artists I know who manage to stay positive and who are grateful for the little wins and for the small miracles are happier, more successful and go farther than their counterparts who let it all get the best of them.
2. Music Subscription Sites Will Continue To Takeover
Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Deezer MOG & Slacker.
These subscription based streaming sites are great for music consumers & not so great for artists. To stay ahead of the pack smart artist markers are going to have to come up with clever ways to incorporate their music and sharing on these powerful platforms that have music consumers going gaga. Sadly this will mean less revenue from sales of music but could provide great opportunities for discovery based creative marketers
3. Be Mobile
It’s been on the horizon for a long time but smart phones are getting smarter and apps developers are getting more nimble and options more affordable. Smart Musician marketers will need to have a mobile strategy moving ahead.
4. Get Back To Basics
Lets never forget it all starts with the greatness of your music and live show, from there
Social Media overwhelm, more apps, mobile trends and new fan dangled bright shiny opps will keep cropping up all of the time. The smart and focused musicians should be focused on the basics.
1. Your website – Is it clear and consistently updated?
2. Your mailing list – Is it growing? And are you sending regular communications?
3. Your products – Are you still just offering music? You better not be
5. Direct To Fan
I’ve been blogging my “In Defense of 1,000 True Fans” series for years. I won’t stop because this is the way that you can still achieve your goals. Is it easy? No. Is it fast? No. Does it work – YES! The smartest artists know it’s all about one – on one fan building with authentic engagement every step of the way.
6. Fan Funding / Crowd Funding
I know a lot of artists say it makes them feel like carnival barkers but fan funding is a wonderful way to make money – of course you need to have a loyal base of fans to achieve it (see #5)
Cyber PR Campaign Manager
1. Product Placements in mainstream music… just like in movies and TV I expect to hear pop singers and rappers dropping brands into their lyrics (which they already do) and getting paid for it.
2. More use of the smartphone barcode-scanning technology …. maybe artists and labels will even start tweeting barcodes you scan for exclusive info and deals.
3. Mashups go mainstream…. an innovative genre and internet favorite, I suspect it won’t be long before we hear mash-ups on top 40 radio.
4. Like the concept album of yore, I think there will be more all encompassing concept media packages including music, videos, apps, and who knows…maybe even social network games
5. I think folk and Hip-Hop will continue to blend and gain popularity as its own folk-hop genre. These two styles really compliment each other and at their core, are about the human experience, which I think people crave connecting to in times of hardship (which many of us have been experiencing as of late!)
Cyber PR® Marketing Plan Developer
1. Streaming sites such as Spotify and Rdio will continue to increase in popularity, and while some bands have publicly stated that they will not be making their music available on these sites, I don’t see this trend increasing. For any artist who wants to gain more fans they must take advantage of the power of streaming.
2. To continue on about streaming, as this will be an even hotter topic in 2012, I think Spotify will emerge as the dominant service, and one big reason for this is Apps. Right now there’s a limited amount of Apps you can get on Spotify, but just like with Apple and the iPhone/iPad, the sky is the limit on what these apps will eventually be able to do to aid in the listening experience, and in the artist promotion realm as well. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Pandora eventually transforms in to a Spotify App instead of a stand-alone service.
3. I think you’ll see more artists selling concert tickets direct to fans through mobile phone technology, in an effort to squash scalpers once and for all.
4. Axl Rose will begin work on a follow up album to Chinese Democracy. He’ll try and keep it quite at first to not repeat the past, but the story will get leaked to the media and another 10+ years of anticipation will begin anew, can’t wait!
Director of New Media Maker Relations
1. Album sales will go down (bold prediction, I know). As platforms such as Spotify continue their seemingly unstoppable growth, digital and physical sales of music will see a decline (although, 2011 did see growth over 2010). Streaming music is the future. Gone are they days of storing hundreds of GB’s of music on external hard drives. Gone with these days are the consumers who will buy physical or digital versions of your music. When possible, they will stream.
2. The rising popularity of streaming brings me to my next prediction: bands will lean more on other forms of merchandise to make up for a drop in album sales. Merchandise has always been a vital component for any band, but now that consumers are less likely to purchase your music, it’s becoming even more important to have other products you can offer. Smart bands are being very creative with this and offering custom made goodies that are frequently quite unique and help solidify the bands’ brand.
3. Keeping with my theme, the next thing I see happening is companies taking advantage of both the focus on merch and music streaming services becoming more social. Companies like Spotify, Last.fm and Pandora all track what you listen to and help you find new music with that information. Some new companies, like Shirtify, use this information to offer you merchandise from the bands you listen to most. I’m not sure Shirtify has perfected the model, but I see a lot more of this coming in 2012.
4. Also in 2012, I think we’re going to see streaming concerts really take off. People have been streaming concerts with services like Ustream and Stageit for a little while now. But with the advent of Google+ and their hangouts, I think this will be an increasingly popular option in 2012. Coupled with bands becoming more aware of this option, I believe fans are now more interested then ever before in watching (and maybe even paying for) these online concerts.
Cyber PR® Publicity Director
1. Spotify will continue to gain steam as the leader of the on-demand music market, as their newly released apps platform expands and becomes more powerful. This in turn will increase the importance of services like Last.FM and Songkick.
1a. Continuing this idea of the apps gaining steam, I think we will start to see more blogs getting their own Spotify apps, becoming even more powerful industry tastemakers.
2. Spotify’s new music releases will start to model that of Netflix, as more artists join the bandwagon of artists like Coldplay, Adele and the Black Keys by waiting at least a month to release their new albums through Spotify.
3. Artist Branded Mobile apps started to pick up steam in 2011. I think 2012 will be the year that artists shift away from full-blown websites in exchange for simple, highly user-friendly mobile-ready websites and apps.
4. Tumblr has been growing as a music-friendly blog community over the last year due to its ease of use and incredibly social interactivity, but I think 2012 will be the year that Tumblr surpasses all other blogging platforms as THE platform for emerging musicians. This would make Tumblr as important for all musicians to be represented on as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.