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This is a guest post from Jeremy Phillips, COO of MidemNet Blog’s intelligence partner, StrategyEye.

As you may have spotted in the MIDEM fortnightly newsletter, StrategyEye and Reed MIDEM have been surveying the music industry for current opinions on the best uses of social media. Our results are in, with respondents from right across the industry – it’s an interesting “state of the nation” snapshot. Here are a few of our key findings:

How important are social networks to the music industry…

Well, clearly pretty important!:

100% of our respondents see social networks as an important channel for promotion and marketing (over 85% said “very important”)

– Over 80% see value in social networks as a direct retail outlet

– .. and over 60% see social networks as a channel to source investment

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Mainstream social network or niche community?

– 58% said that there was more value in choosing a mainstream social network, 42% said that music-focussed communities offered more value. The jury is still out.

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Which strategies are most effective for marketing through social networks?

Artist-branded channels came out top (76% rated them very effective), significantly higher than label-branded channels

Viral marketing campaigns, unsurprisingly, were also highly rated (very effective according to 68%)

Direct advertising is less of a draw, though still reasonably well supported (37% rating very effective)

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Who will get the most financial benefit from social networks over the next 12 months?

– A strong response here – the social network site operators are expected to benefit most, by quite a margin! (81% saying they will see a major benefit).

– As for the rest – in descending order – artists, online retailers and labels are expected to see some financial benefit.

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What tools are you going to use in your digital marketing strategy in the next 12 months?

– We’re seeing a pretty broad usage of different online tools already – online social networks, general purpose search engines, music-related search engines, music recommendation sites, fan blogs etc are all used already by the large majority of respondents.

– So far, our respondents are focussing on online services – mobile promotional services’ time is still to come. Only 23% use mobile social networks currently, though a further 53% say they intend to build them into their plans over the coming year.

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Is mashup content a threat, an infringement or a marketing tool?

– By a long margin – a marketing tool! Over 85% see mashup content as an opportunity to reinforce relationships with the audience, with only a few voices regarding mashup content primarily as a threat or copyright infringement

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What content should be distributed for free through social networks? Is this free content a threat to existing revenues or an opportunity to drive more revenues?

– A pretty clear picture here – our respondents thought that excerpts from original tracks, excerpts from original videos and user-generated videos using original content should all be largely distributed for free – and that all of this distribution is an opportunity to drive additional revenues

– Most interestingly, even user-generated content using copyright tracks or video without permission is seen overwhelmingly (87%) as an opportunity to drive additional revenues! So let’s let the fans mix it up and not worry about it …

I’ll be discussing this and more in my session at MidemNet on “The Power of Social Media” (11am on the Sunday morning, well worth getting up for!) – look forward to seeing you there.


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