With Teeth: In Praise of the Independent Web

Yesterday John Batelle posted a new article that didn’t so much have me nodding in agreement as leaping up and yelling “Yes! That! Exactly that!!”.

Entitled “Put Your Taproot Into The Independent Web“, John urged companies and brands not to place all their eggs in the Facebook basket, stating that –

“it drives me crazy to see major brands using expensive television time to drive consumers to a Facebook program that lives exclusively inside Facebook. (I imagine the reverse is true when Facebook executives see those same ads). I’m sure it works in the short term – you get folks there, they “like” or “follow” your brand, and they engage in whatever promotion or campaign is currently running. But if that campaign, promotion, or program lives only on Facebook, well, good luck deriving all the value you possibly can from it.”

Go read the article in full – its worth five minutes of your time. Whilst John is talking more in the context of companies and brands, I feel the exact same concepts apply to artists here.

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With Teeth: Three Music Discovery Services That Genuinely Deliver

Music discovery online has always been something of a sticking point for me. Despite innumerable services launching over the years, I’ve always been of the view that nothing came close to the good old days of chatting with the staff at Rough Trade, Beggars or any of the other fine indie stores (most now sadly closed down) in my general vicinity.

Of late though, that situation has changed dramatically and I wanted to highlight three services which I’ve found myself using more and more to discover new music. All three work in slightly different ways and in doing so also reflect other critical changes in the music industry which warrant highlighting as a glimpse of the future.

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With Teeth: This Band Could Be Your Life

Engagement. Conversions. Metrics. All rather overused terms of late in the world of music marketing. I can’t talk – I’ve been as guilty as anyone of rolling them out alongside clangers such as “organic growth”.

It seems like these days digital marketing in music is starting to eat its own tail. We’ve lost sight of what is important and replaced it with any old gimmickry that might bag us some PR.

For any band I am working with the hope is that – with apologies to both the late D.Boon of The Minutemen and author Michael Azzerad – this band could be your life. I could bore you witless with innumerable tales of where I was or what I was doing when I heard or saw a band and had some kind of religious experience. We all forge emotional connections with artists that ensure that for years to come we buy their albums, see them live, grab their merch at gigs and more. They soundtrack the key moments of our existence. They become part of our lives.

So it is with some dismay that I look around and see a lot of campaigns which seem not to have the creation of an emotional connection with fans as their agenda as much as gaming the numbers.

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With Teeth: Some Thoughts on the BPI 2011 Sales Report

Today the BPI published their 2011 sales report. You can read the summary here, but some key headlines were as follows:

CD sales: 86.2m
Digital Album Sales: 28.6m
Digital Single Sales: 175.1m
Vinyl Sales: 337,000

Top 3 Albums of 2011:
Adele – 21
Michael Bublé – Christmas
Bruno Mars – Doo Wops & Hooligans

Top 3 Singles of 2011:
Adele – Someone Like You
Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera – Moves Like Jagger
LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem

I tweeted my intitial thoughts on the stats: that CDs are outselling digital downloads by a factor of 3 to 1, which seems to have had a fair few retweets (my point being that despite talk of digital and percentages CD remains by far the dominant format). But what has been interesting is the comments that have come from this report, so I thought I’d grab a moment to share a few of the issues people have raised via Twitter as food for thought:

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