Isn’t it time for the music industry to figure it out?

I’m about to write a blog that is not likely to win me friends in high places. Then again, I’ve never been one to shy away from a challenge.

Yesterday, Marvel did something that ultimately endeared them to movie fans, particularly superhero movie fans, but movie fans nonetheless, worldwide. They announced a series of movies, nine of them actually, to a house packed with media and fans alike.  Marvel had sent invites, super “secret” invites to a mysterious announcement type event, and then turned around and invited fans in the Los Angeles area as well, making sure that audience was completely filled.

Those that couldn’t make it weren’t left in the cold. Marvel live blogged the event, and encouraged those in attendance to tweet using a specific hashtag. That way, as the announcement of the next nine movies that Marvel is working to release was made and events unfolded, fans around the world were included in on that excitement. Marvel had set up an entire team of social media to cover the event, knowing that in order for this announcement to go over huge – which is exactly what they wanted and needed – they had to win fans over and create that same sense of excitement whether or not you were in the venue, reading about it on Twitter, or even seeing news of the event in the following days. You see, fans run the show. They are who buy the movie tickets and the merchandise, and they are who shout from the rooftops about the things they are excited enough about to share. They just need to know what to yell.  Marvel gave them exactly that, and more.

Now, this event wasn’t just a static announcement of movies, dates, celebrities and so forth. It was a celebration. Actors were invited out onto the stage, logos were shown, dates were announced, and immediately following the event – new accounts for individual  superheroes hit Twitter.

My friends, THIS IS PR IN THE YEAR 2014. This is using social media the way it is intended to be used, and this is what it means to utilize the power of fans. Getting the power of fans behind a project matters FAR more than the old, tired retweeting what another celebrity said in passing about a 20-year old album or video. Fans post and tweet about what they like. Fans TALK about what they like – and that reach can be huge if given the encouraging environment in which it can grow.

On the other hand, Warner Bros. announced a series of eleven new superhero movies earlier in the month. At a investors conference. No fans were in the seats cheering. Nothing was mentioned about it on social media until a press release made it’s way across the web. The news was basically bookended with announcements of three new Harry Potter spinoffs and another Lego movie. In order to see the movies they were announcing, you had to scour the article…which wasn’t necessarily effective PR.

Don’t get me wrong, the news of more Harry Potter is exciting. If you’re into Legos then I’m sure that news is certainly welcome as well, and the rest of the movies mentioned will definitely interest people as well. I have no doubt that fans will go to see the movies once they appear in theaters….but what I am more interested in at this point is the LEGS that the news had (or lack thereof). Is it getting chatted up in the same way the Marvel announcement from yesterday seems? I’d argue no. Absolutely not. Let’s face it, Marvel knew that they needed to grab the attention (and loyalty) from fans. This isn’t about just sending out a boring PR announcement, this is about shaking the trees and getting Marvel’s voice heard above all else. It’s about using the power and passion that fans have, harnessing it and making it do a good portion of the work. It’s about investing a little to get a huge return…one that goes on beyond the announcement event itself, and it works. I highly doubt a single person who came out of that Marvel announcement didn’t at least send a single tweet, photo, make a Facebook announcement, or comment to someone about the event itself. I know I saw hashtags about it all over Twitter yesterday, and more on Facebook today.

From my point of view, there is much to be learned from this single example. You can release an album that you’ve been working on for a couple of years with a bunch of promo appearances and let the media do the work – because well, isn’t that the job of the media?! A few fans will show up at these appearances, they’ll tweet here and there and hopefully, radio will kick in and maybe something will get some play.  The more interesting alternative; however, is to do something completely out of the box, get fans to the event and excite them so much so that they turn around and shout that news out to as wide an audience as possible, and so on.  Something like that, has real legs. Talking about the event will go on for many days AFTER the event, and that’s what you want as a PR person. Go ahead, do the promo appearances. Use the media….but don’t forget the biggest built-in publicity tool you’ve got. The FANS. Movies and TV are doing it with great success, using announcements similar to Marvel, events like comic-con and others…isn’t it time the music industry caught up?

-R

 

 

4 thoughts on “Isn’t it time for the music industry to figure it out?”

  1. The band needs to do something like this. Let’s face it, the media is only partially interested & radio (at least in the US) isn’t 100% interested beyond getting them to play their promo events. Creating a fan event could really help create a groundswell of activity that would make media, etc pay attention. I really think the industry doesn’t understand that Duran has fans who aren’t just interested in the hits. Maybe it’s time we really roar. We just need the band to help us make it happen.

    1. I completely agree with you Christina and I really hope & wish the band (and their management) would see the potential in something like this. I know they’ve got two people willing to go the distance to make it happen. -R

  2. I blogged about this too, a couple of weeks ago, when I spoke about fan power on the net.
    To summarize for you what I posted, I wrote that musicians first have to learn to conquer a fan base thru the social media, where they get their reviews, feedback, reactions, comments. Later they can get ready to launch events, they can record new stuff and promote it.
    The fans aren’t radio listeners, today they’re mostly cybernauts, who spend their time browsing and chatting on FB and on Twitter: they tweet and post their feelings on those big virtual places, they share with others.
    Something similar to the Marvel event is just what happened to the indie pop band The Gravity Drive, I virtually “bumped into” off the 3 Taylors’ circle (the band members are friends of Rog’s and Andy’s, but also JT “found” and tweeted about them, not long ago). They quietly found their fans on the social media, announced us the realization of their debut album and ,who wanted it, could send them 15 pounds to have home their CD, featuring our names on the artwork, otherwhise fans would have to wait until 10th november when the debut album is officially scheduled for release on ITunes.
    Now, they’re getting massive on the radio, thanks to our tweets.
    I’m reviewing their album on the DDM Forum, soon.

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