Tag Archives: Direct to Fan

Social media can still be good – let’s work together!

“The random aspects of our lives
Come together once in a while
So blinding and decidedly”

I have a love/really dislike relationship with Twitter these days. There’s a whole lot of anger out there, my friends. Much of it completely justified, but it is a lot for any one person to digest, and I take it in very tiny doses as result. However, I still see the good in social media. It’s well-hidden, but when it works, it is golden.

Yesterday, I wrote about my completely unexpected exchange with Ian Little, the co-producer of Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Many other fans have had similar responses, saying that they too sent an email to musiceel@gmail.com  and received something back directly from Ian. It is wonderful to see someone connecting directly with the fan base.

The fact is, you and I know there are thousands of other Duran Duran fans out there. We compete with one another for tickets every single time the band announces a gig pre-sale! Duran Duran is able to routinely sell-out shows around the world, in arenas that seat thousands. But how to reach those people?

Nick once commented that the internet is a fat pipe of information. It is impossible to see it all. Amanda and I talk to fans nearly every single day who tell us they didn’t see our website or blog until “just a few weeks ago”. We’ve been writing for nearly eight years now. Yes, eight years! You’d think we’d have gotten the word out by now, but we still haven’t. We try, but it’s impossible unless you’ve got a lot of money and time to run ad campaign after ad campaign. We have neither, so we rely on word of mouth, or in this case…fast and furious typing!

It comes down to you and me, my friends. You and me. I have written about the Direct to Fan marketing platform in the past, but as a quick refresher—basically YOU are the ad campaign. Instead of hiring some slick PR company or ad company to get the word out, bands use the greatest “bang for their buck” they’ve got: their fans.  They market directly to their own fan base, and then harness their seemingly endless energy to go out and spread the word to their friends, and so on. In just a few tweets that are retweeted by others, and retweeted again (and again!), millions of eyes can be reached in just a matter of a few clicks. This campaign is exactly everything that Direct to Fan is about, and here is the time we can prove to everyone—from Ian Little to Duran Duran—that it really works.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to broadcast the news about Ian Little’s e-book based on his experience co-producing and living with the band for about a year during the writing and production of Seven and the Ragged Tiger.  Tell your friends to email musiceel@gmail.com  with DD Project in the subject so that they can be added to the list of real fans who are excited to support the project.  If you haven’t taken the one-minute to send the email yourself, get on it!  Then, tweet out the news, post it on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and anywhere else you frequent.

Why not also tweet the news directly to relevant social media influencers? 80s radio DJ’s, MTV personalities, maybe even authors of books on 80s music, just to name a few categories of people to start from. If we can get just a couple of those people to be interested enough to tweet this out, we might just get this social media engine working!

If I still haven’t quite convinced someone to email Ian yet, let me share a small anecdote he sent me about the making of my favorite Duran Duran song ever: “Is There Something I Should Know” (Ian refers to this as “Please, Please Tell Me Now”)

I am very proud of PPTMN because it was the first time I’d been present all through the writing process with a band. As you know PPTMN was my 1st outing with the band, I’ll let you into a little secret. As you can tell the song is built around Andy’s Beatlesesq guitar rift and originally the song started with that rift and the rest of the band. 

I said I felt it sounded too generic and that it needed a more distinct intro so that the second time someone heard it they’d know it was the new DD single. So I suggested using the drum intro from “Leader Of The Pack”, the Motown classic. So Roger played the beat – bam, boom-boom Bang! bam, boom-boom Bang! and Simon sang “Please Please Tell Me Now” over the top and we had a memorable intro!”
Isn’t that a cool little story?? It is something that not many people knew – and the book he is writing will be jam-packed with anecdotes like that, written just for fans.
I told Ian yesterday that SATRT changed everything I thought I knew about music, at the ripe old age of 13. It really did. This album took Duran Duran’s sound, which already felt multi-dimensional, and made it even deeper. More  layers, more sounds, it was amazing. The Beatles accomplished something similar when they wrote and recorded Sgt. Pepper’s or The White Album. Music was forever changed by those albums and the way they were written and recorded. History will say the same about Duran Duran. They changed music with albums like SATRT. Not just video, but music, too.
I hope that everyone who reads this blog and follows us on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media will take a minute to email Ian with their support, and then encourage their friends to do the same!

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

 

 

I Know You’re Watching Me Every Minute of the Day

I haven’t blogged about Direct to Fan marketing lately since the band is still in the studio (quiet as can be)…but I ran across something today in my mail that intrigued me enough to throw it out here on the blog, just in case anyone is reading!

We all watch videos on YouTube. In this day and age, I don’t really see how one can escape YouTube – we go there to listen to songs, see clips from various shows and TV, and yes, even the occasional music video.  There’s a whole royalty payout system that goes on (or doesn’t go on, depending upon who you talk to), over there that I don’t really understand the full mechanics of – but in any case, it prompted a few folks to come up with a platform they call Audiam.  Ultimately, Audiam seeks to help artists receive royalties from YouTube, as well as introduce new methods for exposure.

One such way they want to increase exposure for bands is by having the band encourage fans to take their music and create their own videos.  The way it works is the band chooses one song and tells their fan base to make videos for it.  That seems, well…like something that has been done before, but what’s different is that this time, the fan gets paid.  *blinks* Wait a second, why on earth would a band want their fans to get paid for using THEIR music?!?  Good question.

Here’s the scenario: Duran Duran comes out with their new album. They want videos for their music – so maybe the band decides to do a video of one of their songs,  but there’s another song that they’d really love to use in order to gain more exposure.  So they announce that they want fans to create their own video to the song.  Granted, fans are going to get paid for these videos being viewed, but for the band – it’s about exposure.  Maybe 10 fans who wouldn’t normally use Duran’s music decide that they want to create a video.  They each upload that video and it gets viewed 1000 times. That’s 10,000 views the band didn’t have before, and if the band does it right, they can even have the fans direct viewers back to the original piece of music or another video of theirs from the fan-made video.  It’s about numbers, and it’s very similar to doing an ad-campaign.  For free.

The band has done a similar thing before when they did the Genero video contest for AYNIN, and TV Mania even allowed fans to create franchises and then submit videos and music in a contest.  (Hey, did that contest ever end?!) This is simply another version of the same sort of promotion, once again creating a sort of “We’re all in this together” feel.

While I’m not at all sure of the economic viability in such a platform – for the artists or the company itself, it does seem that more and more these days, fans are being put in the drivers seat as opposed to being the passive passenger…or purchaser.   There are still any number of annoying obstacles in the way for bands these days, as they stumble to figure out how to use many of these new platforms to benefit their bottom line and increase their exposure.  I don’t envy those who make their living trying to figure out the answer to getting paid (from streaming, YouTube, etc.) or learning how to maximize the possible benefits to social networking.  I see enough on SEO as it is – being told that we need links everywhere and so forth.  My personal opinion is that while all of this is fine and good, the personal connection has to be there. People are far more willing to go out of their way for people/bands they like and who they feel respect them in return. The ONE thing I learned in sales was that people buy from people that they know, like and trust. It is just not possible for one band to know every single one of their fans…but they can certainly put themselves out there to try once in a while.  It’s a good system for the people who are smart enough and sincere enough to put the time in to make it work.

-R