Music

If You Don’t Know. Now You Do.

The Legendary Mobb Deep at the WOW Hall 4/19/14

The Legendary Mobb Deep at the WOW Hall 4/19/14

Here is the scenario.
I work at the UO Cultural Forum as the regional music coordinator. I have a concert booked with the infamous hip-hop group Mobb Deep coming to the W.O.W. Hall Saturday April 19th. As I think about ways to promote this event I can’t ignore the fact that posters around the school and community is a must. However, my generation gobbles up social media like starving families on Thanksgiving. That makes social media a must too. Then I read these.

How Could Snapchat Make Money?
Creating a Social Media Strategy for Your Event
6 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Instagram for Fundraising

After reading these three articles, I’ve come to the conclusion one of the best ways to raise awareness about this event is to create a social media marketing campaign. Even though we might not be there just yet, these three articles make me believe that it is possible to promote an event solely on social media sites. By using the poster created above with a hashtag and with a large enough network, I could potentially share the above poster on Instagram and Snapchat. Creating “Insta-awareness” and “Snap-awareness.” After being exposed to the event and with a hashtag to utilize, people can then talk about the event on Twitter and Facebook with other interested publics. This in turn will create further buzz and awareness. The ultimate objective is for word of mouth to help spread the campaign, but also for people to post, comment, and re-tweet the poster.

Like any good PR campaign, you want to be able to measure the success and see how many people it made impressions on. This is somewhat difficult to do except for clicking on the hashtag and seeing who is actually talking about the event.

The only way to know how successful a campaign like this can be is how it affects the bottom line. That is, if people actually buy tickets. Is there enough “call to action” in this campaign? Only the day after the show I will know, because I’m pursuing it.

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All Conscious Radio Music Station

On The Air- Creative Commons

On The Air- Creative Commons

Music Industry News Network recently reported the launch of an all conscious radio music station. The idea of an all conscious radio music station is new and refreshing. The music played will vary and be as open as a meadow field. Music will range from rock, world music, electronic, and yoga. The key is to promote artists that have a message of positivity. In addition, instead of news breaks their will be positive affirmations.

Like any music station there will be artist interviews. In this case, the host will try to find out about the artist on a personal level, not just interview them because they are the next hot commodity.

From a music PR standpoint this has niche market written all over it. The target audience is indie fans that want to listen to indie artists that would not normally be played on a commercial radio station. Because of these facts, “Soul Traveller Radio” will have success, but not reach the “popular” audience, which seems like how they want to keep it. Even though this is a niche market, it is music stations like this that upcoming artists must try and conquer. They will be your biggest allies to taking that next step of success.

The really cool part of “Soul Traveller Radio” is that it will feature music that goes along with each time of the day. For example, as you are waking up you are listening to songs that are mellow, or singing about topics such as waking up, cooking breakfast, getting ready to take on the day type of moods. As the day progresses you will hear positive, uplifting songs that could help keep you in a good mood to help you power through your day.

What a radio station like this proves is that there is music made for all types of sitations and occasions. You could make an argument that there is a song for every emotion one could possibly feel during a day- and “Soul Traveller Radio” plans to capture that.

Led Zeppelin Infographic

Led Zeppelin Infographic

Led Zeppelin Infographic

For a recent PR class assignment, I decided to create an infographic of one of my favorite all time bands, the legendary rock gods Led Zeppelin.

Infographics are valuable because they tell a story using minimal text. They are a fun, creative way to spice up a topic and help the reader visualize data. For instance, I could easily tell you that Led Zeppelin is one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. Then I could spend an entire paragraph on an information dump with statistics on why and how they are so successful. With an infographic, I don’t need to TELL you, I can SHOW you. And that, my friends, is the power of the infographic.

Before I share some personal tips with you, here is a great article on how to create a fruitful infographic.

1. Know your audience
-Who is this infographic for? Who are you trying to reach and what are you trying to say? Basic, but oh so very important.

2.Search google
-Go on google and look for infographics. Pick one you like and try and follow it.

3. Draw the infographic on paper before you start using any software.
-Not only will this help you visualize your data better, but it will also help you realize what you are really trying to show in your infographic.

4. Make sure the images that represent data on your infographic tell a story and correlate.
-I used record looking pie charts in white and grey to symbolize a platinum album. Match your word to a picture to symbolize an object.

5. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)
-Don’t go over the top and try to do something outrageous thinking you are super creative. Everything will be overwhelming to the viewer. The best infographics are clean, color coordinated, that use classic fonts, and empty space well.

Getting Noticed. Outside The Box.

EA Sports- Creative Commons

EA Sports- Creative Commons

What if you thought you were a great musician and you just needed to find a way to get your music out there? There are different paths to get your music noticed, so let’s stay opened minded and think outside the box. Sometimes you have to get creative to become noticed.

Artists may want the glory of knowing they slowly built up their notoriety over time. Starting at the local bar, moving up to the local venue, then making it to the regional, national, and international level. After reading this article, I’m convinced you can, but through the video game platform.

With video games you can make the same kind of impact on a person’s life without you or your audience ever leaving the comfort of a home couch. The business model is an easy thought process. You make it into the video game and a gamer buys the game, easy distribution. After spending multiple hours, days, and months playing the game, the gamer gets your song stuck in their head, easy awareness. By ingraining your song into another person’s head you willingly and unwillingly made them a fan.

Any previous or current video game addict can recall soundtracks from the Tony Hawk series getting stuck in their head. Today, the equivalent is Madden, FIFA, or Grand Theft Auto.

This is thinking outside the box, but if an artists is spending a lot of time at the record agency trying to get a deal, maybe they are better served spending that time at a game designing company. Music agencies are always looking for the next best sound. Gaming companies have the exact same job, but they are looking for the next best sound to fit a particular video game.

Then hey, once your song is in the game you can put that on your musical resume and bring it to the record agency that wasn’t willing to listen to you earlier.

Hip-hop and EDM. The New Way to Combine Fans.

Hip-hop and electronic dance music are slowly coming together. Is it a fad or is it something that is going to stay? It is still a little too early to tell but one thing is for certain. It is here and it is roaring like an angry lion. XXL magazine recently wrote an article after interviews with artists of each genre on how combining hip-hop and EDM is equivalent to musical gold.

From a PR perspective, this makes PR gold too. Hip-hop has been been popular since the 80s. It has had a built-in audience for the better part of the past three decades. Today’s EDM, on the other hand, is still a fairly new sound, but it has caught on like a wild fire. Intertwining the two genres helps both artists cross audiences and reach even more people. This ultimately gives their name even more exposure.

The idea of bringing these two genres together isn’t as far fetched as some people might think it to be. They both are considered party music and rely on sampling past artists and recreating their music to make their own sound. The only real difference is that EDM doesn’t use vocals on their tracks like hip-hop does. That is where these two genres found a niche for each other.

Take a hip-hop artists like Danny Brown. Danny Brown is 32 and has been in the underground Detroit hip-hop scene for the past decade. Yet, nobody really knew who he was until 2013 when he signed with EDM producer A-Trak’s label Fool’s Gold and changed his sound from rapping over hip-hop beats to rapping over EDM beats. His “debut” album Old is one of the first albums that is half hip-hop beats, half EDM beats. Meaning, he is appealing to twice as many fans. Going from relative obscurity, to now, a more successful artist, Danny Brown is one of the artists that is at the forefront of intertwining hip-hop and EDM.

A Perfect PR Match

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEyKdpsHKy0
Super group U2 did something that not many artists have thought of doing. By breaking the concept of the starving artist, they took money out of their own pockets and gave it to people that are in far greater need, in this case, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.

The band hasn’t released an album in five years. So, obviously, the best way to promote their new material is to use the Super Bowl, which is considered an unofficial holiday to most Americans.

It is reported through Billboard that U2 raised $3 million from their Super Bowl ad. In unison with Bank of America and (Red), they bought an advertising spot during the Super Bowl and performed their new hit single “Invisible.” At the end of the ad it stated that all downloads from iTunes before midnight would go towards the fund. Three million people listened and downloaded. The single is available today but costs $1.29. The proceeds still go to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS.

This PR achievement bodes well for all parties involved. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS gets the money that is needed to fund more research. (Red) further establishes itself as a leader of AIDS awareness. Bank of America proves that corporations think about not only profits, but that happy people make a happy planet. U2 aligns their brand as a supporter of AIDS research. Together, they all prove this alliance was a perfect match.

Nothing speaks more volumes than the three million dollars raised because it is a measurable number. In PR, the consistent question asked is, “Is it measurable?” If something is measurable you can keep your job for another day. If not, you might be looking at the back of a person’s head in the unemployment line.

It’s A Rap

Sketch of a Courtroom- Creative Commons

Sketch of a Courtroom- Creative Commons

“It’s a rap” is a common phrase used when something is finished. “It’s a rap song” is my take on a recent New York Times opinion article that claims rap lyrics can be used on trail to convince a jury a man is guilty. The article talks about how some courts in the US have been using rap lyrics as evidence of a crime to prosecute rappers. Lawyers claim rap songs are confessions, especially when an artist talks about doing something like shooting someone then actually does it.

Something tells me there is a first amendment freedom of speech issue here. Can courts really do this?

Well, they have, and unfortunately there are a lot of misconceptions about rap. Some artists use an aggressive tone of voice and use language that they don’t always mean literally. Sometimes they use a choice word figuratively because it is another way of finishing a rhyming clause. That is a beauty and downfall of rap, utilizing figure of speech, word play, and synonyms.

These rapping tactics, however, also expose raps flaws. As a PR representative their is almost no way to truly defend your artist if they talk about brutal and gruesome scenes of violence other than saying, “chill, it’s just song.”

One of the best traits artists can have is to be transparent with their audience and fans. To a certain extent, when an artist sells his or her music it is because they sell their self well too.

If the artist is a company and the music they make is a product, you will only buy the product if you trust the company that manufactures it. In this case, if an artist has a PR representative and your artist decides to talk about killing someone, then that is the product your artist is selling and today it could potentially get your artist in major trouble with the US court of law. Then, it will be a rap for your artists career.

Measuring Streaming Products Value To Consumers and Artists

Spotify- Creative Commons

Spotify- Creative Commons

Pandora- Creative Common

Pandora- Creative Common

A couple weeks ago, Circa, the iPhone app news source reported a story about iTunes sales decreasing. This is news, but if you have been playing attention to the technological world around you, it won’t come as a shock to say that music streaming sites like Spotify are taking over.

Most people I talk to now use an app like Pandora or Spotify. It is the easiest and most economical way to obtain a boat load of legal music instantly. Instead of people having to buy or illegally download their music off the internet, they can just pay $10 a month and have almost any song they want within seconds.

The advantages of this are obvious. To buy an album on iTunes costs roughly $10. If you listen to a brand new album in a month the service basically pays for itself. If you listen to two new albums, you have already saved $10. It’s a great plan and something that is working well. iTunes has realized that streaming music is now the future of distributing music to the public and has released its own streaming service called iTunes Radio. Heck there is even chatter of Beats By Dre creating its own streaming service. PR wise, these two companies are staying current with the times and keeping an eye on their competitors.

The disadvantages of steaming really only affect people like me who at times can be a “music snob.” I love the fact that I have a huge music library. It has been a hobby of mine to collect music since iTunes first arrived. With streaming, personal music libraries don’t really mean anything anymore. Nothing is personal about streaming. If fully embraced, gone will be the days where you could look through somebody’s iTunes and see what kind of music they really listen to. By looking through their music library, you were looking into their soul. You knew that they either paid for that music or at least took the time to download it- not just search for it through a streaming website.
Another disadvantage of steaming music is that music on these services must be granted by the service owners. If you just saw a live show of the sickest new local artist, you won’t be able to show your friends on a streaming website because that artists might be too new. These streaming websites regulate consumers to listen to already successful artists.

What can artists learn from the latest tactic to distribute their music? When measuring your level of success, you will know you have been marginally successful once your name has been featured on one of these streaming sites. Once you are on their you can see how many people you have reached.

Why The Super Bowl Halftime Show Is A Super PR Disaster.

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show- Heavy.com

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVIII Halftime Show- Heavy.com

Unless you were a Seahawks fan, the Super Bowl was one of, if not the most, boring Super Bowls in all of football history to watch because of the blow out. I was pleading for halftime to start so I could get my dosage of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and oh yeah…some guy named Bruno Mars that girls seem to really dig.

Bruno Mars did a great job. I’m not a huge fan of his music but I understood exactly what the producers of the halftime show were thinking when they booked him. The audience he attracts is mostly female. The audience the Super Bowl attracts is mostly male. Put one and one together and you have complementary acts on the same stage- something everyone can enjoy.

Then, the Red Hot Chili Peppers came on stage for one song and brought the energy to an all time performance high. Awesome right? No. Here is the real bummer. During their throw-back, kick-ass performance, the bass, guitar and drums were not plugged in. Yet, oddly enough, the Chili Peppers kept performing with their usual red hot flame. At the time of the performance nobody really noticed. However, these past couple days have seen a plethora of pictures from the halftime performance circulating around the internet showing the bands equipment not plugged in. Finally, Flea, the bassist of the RHCP, decided to talk about the issue in Rolling Stone magazine today. He admitted the only live sounds were the vocals and admitted the NFL said they couldn’t afford a botched halftime show.

You saw that right. The National Football League told the Red Hot Chili Peppers to play a recorded set. Let that sink in.

This isn’t the first time the NFL has had a Super Bowl halftime preconceived disaster. I was just starting to forget about the 2004 Super Bowl halftime “Bra-ha-ha” performance with Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake. (Skip to 4:oo)

In the end, the Super Bowl halftime show seems like great exposure for an artist. Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday in America. Television ratings are through the roof. In reality the halftime show is actually a super PR disaster for artists when the NFL makes the performers do something they normally wouldn’t do.

Net Neutrality And What It Means For Artists

Net Neutrality- Creative Commons

Net Neutrality- Creative Commons

Last week the Colbert Report brought up the impact of net neutrality, in other words, the future rules of the internet. It is serious news that can constrict and change the internet as we know it. Sadly, not enough people know what this means. Nothing is official yet but the Federal Communications Commission is using all its power to get the regulations in effect. In addition, the Huffington Post wrote an article on net neutrality recently too. Net neutrality brings up is the idea of freedom of speech and the first amendment, or lack there of. With net neutrality people won’t be able to voice their opinion on blogs, like mine (gulp). And, they won’t be able to access certain sites that the FCC deems unnecessary.

For music PR, this. is. HUGE! This creates an issue for artists that post their music on the internet for free consumption and self promotion. Currently, artists don’t have many ways to advertise their product for free when they do no have representation such as a publicist, agent, or manager. The internet is a tool that helps remedy that problem for up and coming artists- it gets them out there, into the speakers of music downloaders.

Electronic dance music artists utilizes this free system to promote their music and become better known. It is one of the major reasons why electronic artists without initial representation have become a huge success. Once an artist finishes a song, he or she can post it to a free audio site such as Soundcloud. Fans then listen and download the song for free. This creates instant feedback from the fan to the artist and is a crucial way for artists and their fans to connect.

With net neutrality, however, this whole experience will be part of the past. Our generation will be the generation that sounds like our grandparents. I can hear it now, “Back in my day, when I was your age, the internet was free from rules!”

Most importantly , however, it’s about the artists and the music they produce. If net neutrality takes effect, it will be increasingly difficult to find the next best upcoming artists. At this point, all we can do is stay tuned.