From unoptimised artwork to borked links, music marketers are making too many simple mistakes, according to Claire Mas, head of digital at Communion Music.
Former Music Ally-er Mas gave a short speech at the NY:LON Connect conference we organised with the Music Business Association in London this week about ‘everyday marketing mistakes’ that she feels can and should be easily rectified.
“Music is a strange place where people sometimes pick up guitars and expect to be stars within two months. The minute they’ve written a song, they expect two million views on YouTube,” said Mas.
“If you started training to be a marathon runner, you wouldn’t expect to be breaking records within a year. But that entitlement trickles down into the labels, and it trickles down into marketing.”
“We believe that because we are marketing the best music ever, everyone should care. And we expect maximum reach: everyone should see everything we’re posting all the the time [about it] without us having to pay for it.”
Mas’ point was that music marketers grumbling about declining organic reach of their posts on platforms like Facebook might have work to do on improving the quality of those posts – and then making intelligent spends to boost their reach.
“Look at how big brands are doing it: people who sell toilet paper and cleaning detergents. They know their product sucks, so they spend great effort on marketing,” she said.
“We tend to be like ‘Hey, you know the poster we used that’s supposed to be A2-size on a wall. We’re going to take it down to this small and use it on all digital platforms Facebook has been around 10 years, and 90% of promoters have never changed the tour poster!”
Mas returned to the debate about organic versus paid reach on Facebook. “If you’re good at social media, you get a lot of free views,” she said.
“If you’re bad at social media, you have to pay for them. Of course you do. Facebook is not an NGO. Somehow there’s this arrogance about us.”
Mas said too many music marketers have not spent enough time focusing on the user experience of their campaigns, testing every angle to ensure they work, let alone that they appeal to fans.
“The number of times i have been sent a draft email where the links don’t work. People complain about ‘there’s no money in music’. Have you tried clicking on your links on your phone? I can’t buy your tickets!” she said.
“Or look at the number of big artists’ websites that do not work on a phone. Big major labels, million-dollar brands in those artists, where their website just does not work on the phone.”
Mas said that music marketing campaigns benefit from going back to the drawing board for their simplest nuts and bolts.
“What you really need to do is step back and go: ‘For every single point of our communication, what is the best format?” she said.
“Is it a photo, is it a GIF, is it a video, what length is the video? People just do not do that: they do not start from scratch. They say ‘This is the poster we’ve got, we have this press image that’s six months old’.”
“If you use the same press picture for your entire campaign, fans are just bored. Put your user experience first and think about your fans. And do not be selfish and do exclusives…”
Mas’ final point focused on those exclusives, where music is available on one streaming service but not the others. As you may have guessed, she is unimpressed by the trend – which admittedly seemed to run out of steam as 2016 went on.
“Honestly, we spend so much time trying to tell people that [subscription] streaming is better than free because you can listen to everything you want to hear now… and people are just ruining it for the entire industry,” she said.
“If you want to listen to the top ten albums of last year in one place, there isn’t one place you can do that. That’s just a terrible user experience. And we’re all pushing one another down: when people have a bad user experience in music, it hurts all of us.”
The NY:LON Connect conference was co-organised by Music Ally and the Music Business Association, in association with Armonia.