Musicians Lead by Example with Innovative Social Media Strategies

14 07 2009

I have been reading a lot of blogs and articles recently about large, well-known corporations who have undertaken social media strategies with really no idea how to utilize social tools to generate, what they consider, a profitable investment. I blame this on a sense of apathy for innovation in exchange for other tried and true business practices such as utilizing mass media and the traditional push marketing strategies. But what happens when an industry is turned upside down, not by choice, but by disruptive technology.

The Crowded Musisphere

Enter Napster of 1999, the iTunes of 2001, and now the almost unlimited number of sources for digital music distribution existing today. With the traditional business model of physical unit sales and terrestrial radio promotion dying, artists and labels are hanging on by adopting digital distribution models, social media strategies, and direct artist-to-fan connections.

Music now thrives on digital and many musicians have led the way with some excellent social media strategies. This shift from mega-distribution to do-it-yourself, has given independent musicians an opportunity to find creative ways to promote themselves as individuals and their music. It is very important for social media marketers to keep an eye on musicians and the music industry — after all we did force them to become early adopters.

Here is a short list of musicians to watch who have used and are currently using some pretty innovative strategies to sell their music:

Umprhey’s McGee:

Using Twitter For a Festival Scavenger Hunt
Innovative CD Release – Word of Mouth Genius

Amanda Palmer:

Using Twitter to Gross 19,000 in 19 hours

Zoe Keating:

Indie Cellist Explodes on Twitter

Josh Freese

$20,000 for Mini-Golf With Rock Stars – Now That’s Engagement

Anyone else to add to the list??

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Virgin & Universal Reduce Piracy…Yeah Right

15 06 2009



While Virgin Media & Universal Music hash out their new subscription service, a model which I thoroughly support, I still have to stop and laugh about the new partnership’s adamant goal to reduce the role of online piracy.  According to HypeBot:

 “the two companies will also be “working together to protect Universal Music’s intellectual property and drive a material reduction in the unauthorized distribution of its repertoire”.  This will involve implementing a range of strategies to “educate file sharers about online piracy” and “raise awareness of legal alternatives.”

While they are not threatening to punish the offenders of their policies, I believe that their outright condemnation of file-sharing will actually reduce the attractiveness of their music package.   Major labels must realize that since the dawn of Napster, music consumers have had unlimited access to free music with ease.   Fast forward to the present, and file-sharing is bigger than ever.   Not only that, but file-sharing “pirates” are one step ahead of the labels.

Enter BitBlinder, a new open-source project which serves to cloak torrents, hide browsing and bypass filters.   How will Virgin Media and Universal reduce the unauthorized distribution now?   I don’t think they ever will.  File-sharing must  be embraced and utilized in order to gain traction with some of the biggest music consumers (or pirates) of today.   Will it ever happen or will the majors become the Big Brother of the digital age?

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Will Digital Turn Physical?

15 06 2009

Across the music industry, physical sales are on a fast decline while the demand for digital media is steadily growing.  Music executives have struggled with the format change, searching and hoping for a new physical product that will deliver similar profit margins to the now ill-fated compact disk. But what if there is hope for a new type of physical product that embraces interactive technology? 

Siftables are cookie-sized, interactive computerized tiles that can be stacked or shuffled with your hands. These interactive mini-computers can do math, play music, display video, teach language, talk, etc.  

As traditional media products continue to lose their luster,  it is now time to embrace digital technologies with innovative physical products.  MIT grad student David Merrill demoed this new kind of computer interface at the TED Conference 2009.

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Social Media: The New iTunes?

12 06 2009



For almost close to a decade, Apple has dominated the digital music realm with the introduction of the iPod, iTunes, and now the iPhone 3GS.  Just as digital music and MP3 players replaced the CD, (which replaced the cassette, which then replaced the… get the idea) new music formats and distribution models  of the future are beginning to take shape, which will soon make a service like iTunes obsolete.  

While the iTunes Genius might be a pretty cool way to find new music, I think most would agree that a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend is a much more credible way to hear about the hottest new band.  This leaves musicians with a tremendous opportunity to engage in social networks, the hotbed of WOM,  and find creative ways to sell their music.  


Recently I came across a new music platform that allows anyone to send and receive audio files via a drop box widget to social networks such as MySpace and Facebook.  It’s called SoundCloud.  The cool thing about this distribution platform is that it acts as a music sharing network in which friends can send each other audio tracks, with ease, through their existing social media profiles. This unique integration eliminates the hassle of signing up for other networks such as or iLike to find new music. 


Services like SoundCloud that enable individuals to freely share files through their existing social media profiles may now be positioned to become the next iTunes because of their accesable and convenient music sharing platform. While consumers continue to look for ways to simplify the mass electronic information, social media resources are becoming the primary means to sift through the murky waters.  In that case, SoundCloud and services like it, may very well be the main vehicle for music exploration.  So forget the days of burning CD’s for your friends or file swapping parties, now all it takes is a click of a button to tell your friends about the coolest band you’ve ever heard.


Check out SoundCloud





10 06 2009

My name is Chris Terschluse and I want to welcome you to my blog!  

The purpose of this blog is 3-fold:

  • Discuss social media practices, trends, ideas, and strategies as they pertain world of marketing, advertising, and music. 
  • Entertain thought about the digital music industry, where its been and where it’s going. 
  • Interact with fellow marketers, biz professionals, music lovers, digital media guru’s, musicians, web designers, artists….really anyone that wants to talk.

Hope you enjoy!