Have you noticed how easy it is to hear/buy your favorite music these days...?

Napster just switched to a 'free' business model, they will let you listen to any song in their catalog online, free for 5 plays. After that you have to buy it if you want to hear it again.
Tower Records will officially launch TowerPod next month, allowing podcasters to create their own podcasts using music from selected artists. Tower Records will insert ads in the podcasts, and give the podcasters a share of the ad revenue generated from the podcasts.
The Washington Post had an article a few days ago about how record labels are selling pre-release singles for new CDs as ringtones. And an even more intriguing application of music distribution via cellphones comes from Pass-Along Networks, who has launched a new service that allows users to send text messages that contain links that allow the recepient to sample or buy music selections online.
Notice that we aren't talking about how the labels are involving the blogosphere in their promotional plans for their artists?
I've been blogging/ranting for months on both my blogs wondering why music labels are ignoring a community of bloggers that are music fans who are literally WANTING to promote their artists, but can't because the labels won't let them. I started talking about the idea of giving '100 CDs to 100 bloggers'.
Let's say that The Donnas have a new CD coming out on June 27th. So the girls datamine their fan email lists, their forums, etc, and get a list together of 100 fans of their music that also have a blog.
The band emails the 100 bloggers, explains that they will send them a copy of their upcoming CD, if the bloggers will agree to review it on their blog after they hear it. Of course the 100 fans of The Donnas would be thrilled that the band reached out to them to even review the CD, and would be elated that they'd get the CD before it even hit the stores! After getting the addresses together, The Donnas add a BIG bonus, they take an hour or so to sign and inscribe all the CDs.
What's going to happen when 100 fans, thrilled when they see that their free CD from their favorite band has arrived in the mail, open it and ALSO see that it's been personally signed and inscribed to them? My guess is there would be around 100 glowing reviews of the CD and this promotion, within hours throughout the blogosphere.
But as with so many unconventional ideas in business, the potential results need to be quantified before the 'right people' will pay attention. Fine, let me attempt to do that then. Let's assume that of the 100 bloggers that would be contacted, that the average number of readers they get in any day on their blog is 50. So for 100 blogs at 50 readers a day, that would mean that 5,000 readers a day will be exposed to this promotion and the reviews of the new CD by The Donnas.
But the thing to keep in mind is, a blog's readership is loyal, and the blogger has a good deal of influence over them. This isn't like 5,000 random people will be exposed to this promotion per day, but rather 5,000 people that will be heavily influenced to check out The Donnas, because the 100 bloggers are suggesting they do so.
But then we have the ancillary affects. If 100 music fans blog about this promotion, it's only a matter of time before blogs covering news in the music industry catch up to the story, and blog about it. Then you go from 50 or so visitors a day, to 10 even 20 or 30 times that.
And when one industry blog sees it, the other blogs will be right behind, and then the snowball is in a freefall downhill. The 5,000 readers that were originally exposed to this promotion could easily balloon to 50,000 or 100,000 readers, with a few of the right links from a few of the right blogs. Per day. And keep in mind that we are still talking about 100 fans of The Donnas. These people have a VESTED interest in leaving their blogs and doing everything they can to help get the word out about their favorite band on other blogs, message boards, everywhere.
And let's be honest, the first label to do something as gutsy as this is going to get MAJOR positive pub in the blogosphere. Which makes such a story bigtime linkbait, which means even more people hear about the promotion, and The Donnas.
So for the cost of 100 CDs, and the time it takes for The Donnas to sign/inscribe 100 CDs, and ship them, the band could have tens if not hundreds of thousands of bloggers be exposed to their music.
Seems like a no-brainer to me, but then again I'm just a dumb blogger. And as most labels will tell you, no one listens to dumb bloggers.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier