billboard_twitter_logo_650What’s Happening?

On March 27, 2014, Billboard announced its partnership with Twitter to create Twitter Real-Time Charts, which will monitor music conversations. These charts will be published on Billboard’s Twitter feed beginning in early May. Because music is the most discussed topic on Twitter, and the top 10 Twitter accounts belong to musicians, it only makes sense that Twitter would want to focus their efforts on bringing conversations about music to the fans.

Didn’t Twitter Already Try That?

Sort of. Last April, Twitter launched a music application for iOS users only which would identify the artists you follow on Twitter and automatically generate playlists by those artists, then allowing you to access them through the app. The application would also allow you to hear what your friends are listening to and check out trending artists. After only six months, however, the app was pulled from the market because it ultimately could not compete with sites such as Spotify that allowed access to full songs on demand.

Why is it different this time?

These Real-Time charts will monitor conversations about popular artists, as well as the most popular and shared songs by new artists. The negative mentions will be filtered, however, to keep the charts updated with popular content. Guggenheim Media’s John Amato discusses the launch of the Real-Time Charts in this video. Bob Moczydlowsky, head of Twitter’s  music, ultimately wants the partnership to “make Twitter the universal signal of real-time music measurement,” and wants “music business decisions to be based on Twitter data.” 

Twitter wants artists to engage with their fans, creating buzz visible by the top music industry executives. This would help new artists to gain popularity with Twitter followers and catch the eyes of record labels.

According to Axel Bruns and Stefan Stieglitz, Twitter is one of the most important platforms to generate discussion about shared interests; in this case, the most popular artists at the very moment that followers are talking about them. Hashtags are a great way to monitor metrics because they gather conversations on one central theme; music. Twitter Application Programming Interface can gather tweets with the same hashtags and similar keywords to keep the chart constantly updated in real-time.

What do you think? Will the launch of the Twitter Real-Time Charts be a success or will it fail like their music app? Stay tuned to find out.


Googoo for Gaga

lady_gaga_applause_1Lady Gaga is a social media queen. With 41.2 million followers on Twitter, and 64,325,012 likes on Facebook, how could she not be considered a social media guru? Lady Gaga prides herself on using social media to connect and engage directly with her fans, or “little monsters.”

In 2012, Gaga created a new social networking site for her most devoted fans called LittleMonsters.com. The website is invite-only, allowing you to sign up through Facebook, Twitter, or email.  The site allows fans to buy concert tickets, download her music, and most importantly, communicate with other fans and even Gaga herself.  According to Melissa A. Click, Hyunji Lee, and Holly Willson Holladay, Gaga engages with her little monsters by sharing their creative work, such as their own art and music, provides links to fan photos, and can even be seen wearing fan-designed fashion.

Mitchell Osak states that Lady Gaga employs a social media strategy called “mass intimacy,” which is an approach that builds on an emotional connection between fans by providing original, exclusive, and updated content.

We see this “mass intimacy” strategy in Gaga’s website.  Through LittleMonsters.com, she establishes relationships with her fans by being completely transparent and authentic. She encourages self-expression and positive self-esteem in her little monsters.

Fans create a new world through this website. While this is an imaginary world, little monsters get the chance to develop a relationship with Lady Gaga. Click et al. mention the idea that this is a “parasocial” relationship, which  means that fans are experiencing the illusion of a face-to-face relationship.

One tactic Gaga used to embrace her fan base was by encouraging fans to upload videos of themselves singing and dancing to her songs, which were then compiled and shown during one of her performances on Saturday Night Live. Lady Gaga also engages fans on her social media platforms by providing them with new updates, contests to win prizes, and encouraging them to ask questions.

Although Gaga only uses social media as a platform to form relationships with her fans and not to promote her albums, ultimately her ability to engage and connect with fans is the factor that will prompt her little monsters to go buy her albums and stay loyal to her brand. Like Click et al. mention, “fan-celebrity relationships are important vehicles for self-reflection with the potential to exert great influence on fans’ attitudes and behaviors.”

Here’s a word from Lady Gaga’s Marketing Director:

The Good, the Bad, and the Spotify

spotify-logo-primary-vertical-light-background-rgbFree music is great, right? So what if you have to endure repetitive commercials about going to beauty school? You can listen to practically any song without having to pay for it!

Hard-working recording artists don’t see it this way, however. Let’s back up.

So what exactly is Spotify?

The Good:

Spotify is an online music-streaming network that allows you to listen to music for free. Users sign up through Facebook and can follow friends and favorite artists, and can even send songs to friends. Spotify currently has 20,000,000 songs in its online catalogue available for free play. From the beginning of online music streaming, the industry has seen a decline in online piracy. Although this is a step in the right direction, musicians see the downside in Spotify.


The Bad:

Before the Internet, artists were able to live solely off of record sales and touring, but with the digitization of music, it is becoming a challenge for artists to turn much of a profit. When a track is purchased, an artist makes $0.07-$0.10 per song. However, songs streamed through Spotify only generate $0.004 per stream. Because music is now readily available for free streaming, the industry is seeing a decline in music sales. Some artists have spoken out about their qualms with the low royalties, including: Amanda Palmer, Will.I.Am, Taylor Swift, Nigel Godrich, Zoe Keating, David Lowery, Beck, David Byrne, The Black Keys, Aimee Mann, Pink Floyd, Anssi Kela, Blake Morgan, and Easty Bay Ray.

Thom Yorke , frontman of bands Radiohead and Atoms for Peace, has perhaps caused the most controversy surrounding artists’ discontentment with Spotify. Yorke is pulling his own music from Spotify, stating: “We don’t need you to do it. No artists needs you to do it. We can build the shit ourselves, so fuck off. But because they’re using old music, because they’re using the majors… the majors are all over it because they see a way of re-selling all their old stuff for free, make a fortune, and not die.”

Yorke also tweeted his opinions about Spotify being bad for new artists.

Image Image


The Spotify:

Because of artists’ growing resentment, Spotify is trying to improve their relationship. The company now allows musicians to sell their merchandise on their profile pages for free. Musicians can sell any merch including t-shirts, posters, concert tickets and more. Spotify is hoping that the launch of this innovation will attract new artists and mend its relationship with existing ones.

The process is simple.

Just create a Topspin Artistlink Account, choose artists you would like to manage, then Topspin will verify your affiliation with the artist by connecting one of the artist’s social media accounts. Once you’ve been verified, you can begin to post your merchandise!

So Spotify is popular among consumers, but will this new endeavor help them get in the good graces of artists?

Pharrell is Happy, and so are Online Users.

Pharrell_Williams_-_HappyMusician Pharrell Williams and the United Nations took advantage of internet users’ affinity for participation and created a new philanthropy campaign. According to Amy Hubbard of The Los Angeles TimesPharrell Williams partnered with The United Nations Foundation in honor of the second annual International Day of Happiness on March 20th. The campaign’s goal was to raise donations for the United Nation’s Central Emergency Response Fund.

Pharrell encouraged fan participation through social media platforms, urging them to upload their own content. User-generated content is original, and creative content uploaded by community members. Content communities like YouTube allow users to upload this original content, share links, and follow conversations.

Artists like marketing through SNS like Twitter because it allows them to share information and participate in two-way communication, which is why users also like Twitter.

According to Jari Salo, Mikko Lankinen, and Matti Mantymaki, user-generated content and two-way interaction between users and companies is the basis of social media. Salo et al. have theorized why users participate in social networks:

  • Participants feel an affinity for other members and want to form an emotional bond.
  • To reinforce the idea of a “social identity,” or being apart of a social community.
  • Users want to participate and express opinions.
  • Users appreciate two-way interaction between themselves and the artist.

Pharrell took advantage of theses reasons and used them to support a great cause.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 7.00.23 PM

Pharrell encouraged fans on Twitter and Instagram to create their own YouTube videos of themselves dancing to his popular song, “Happy” and submit them using the hashtag “#HAPPYDAY.” Pharrell handpicked his favorite submissions to be featured on the 24 Hours of Happiness website at noon in every time zone.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 6.59.09 PMThe aspiration behind the campaign was to dedicate an entire day to recognizing the importance of happiness. Referring to the campaign, a UN Secretary-General , Ban Ki-Moon, stated that “The pursuit of happiness lies at the core of human endeavors. People around the world aspire to lead happy and fulfilling lives free from fear and want…”

Here is a compilation of Pharrell’s favorite user-generated videos:

56th Grammy Awards: Music Unleashes Us

Grammy-2014-thumbThe 56th Annual Grammy Awards aired on January 26th, 2014. This year, The Recording Academy used visual storytelling on social media platforms to generate buzz surrounding the awards. Promotions began with Instagram videos that announced nominations in several different categories.

Next, the Recording Academy focused on an Instagram and Tumblr campaign, called “Music Unleashes Us.” The campaign encapsulated the idea that humans have uncontrollable reactions to music, and featured videos of fans dancing and being “unleashed” by the music. Fans could also upload their own videos of friends or strangers dancing to music, with the tag “#MusicUnleashes.”

The “Music Unleashes Us” campaign also featured a backlashed media film, featuring Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, which reveals hidden footage when played backwards.

Joan Mancuso and Karen Stuth report the importance of cross-channel media consumption. People now use their smartphones while they watch television, becoming an important fact for marketers. Out of 500 households, 48%  paused a show to surf their phone. The level of engagement among users who use smartphones and computers at the same time is rising, and The Recording Academy has taken that into account with one of their social media tactics.

The Academy recorded live GIFs of the most memorable Grammy moments, then immediately uploaded them to their Tumblr account so viewers could watch the Grammy’s while surfing the internet at the same time.

Stuart Elliot of The New York Times quotes Evan Greene, the chief marketing officer of the Recording Academy:  “I do believe strongly that social media has been additive to television, especially event television. You don’t want to experience it after the fact, because there’s something special, and fleeting, about the live experience. It’s the same reason that concerts and live music are popular.”

According to Grammy.com, the Grammy’s generated 15. 7 million mentions on Twitter, 13.5 million Facebook interactions, and the official Grammy website saw visits rise 15% from the previous year.


99 Problems, And Promotion Is One.

Like his wife, Beyoncé, Hip Hop star Jay-Z did things differently with the release of his album “Magna Carta Holy Grail.” According to Hannah Karp of the Wall Street Journal, Jay-Z partnered with Samsung  to promote the release of his album, which aided in the promotion of the Samsung Galaxy smartphone as well.

Samsung bought 1 million copies of “Magna Carta Holy Grail” for $5 a piece, giving Jay a $5 million advance (much more of an advance than he would have received without the deal). The album dropped on July 4th, 2013, but for Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners, the album would automatically download to their smartphones for free a whole 72 hours before the release date.

ImageThe promotion first began when Jay-Z tweeted a picture of a Samsung Galaxy with the words “NBA Finals Game Five. Tune in. Turn up the volume,” hinting to followers that there would be some surprise in store.

During the NBA Finals game, a three minute commercial aired of Jay-Z working in the studio. In the video, he states that “the Internet is like the wild, wild west. We need new rules” and this album is about “giving it to the whole world and letting them share it. ”

At the end of the commercial, viewers were directed to www.magnacartaholygrail.com which explained the promotion.

According to James Mckinley Jr., fans took to Twitter to express their opinions that Jay-Z was selling out. This makes sense according to studies by Jordan Gamble and Audrey Gilmore, who address co-creational marketing in the music industry, which allows the user to participate in the marketing process. Jay-Z’s promotion falls under one of their five categories of co-creational marketing, called Viral Marketing, which is low on the consumer involvement and control spectrum. This could be the reason fans were not happy; instead of being a part of the marketing process, they were being marketed at.

After the album release, Jay-Z took to Twitter to answer questions from followers directly.


While Jay-Z’s idea for a different release was innovative, fans just wanted to hear the music without feeling like they needed to go buy a Samsung Galaxy. So what do you think: Is Jay-Z a sell- out?

Miley Wrecks Twitter Records

What’s so great about Twitter?

Twitter is a great form of social media for celebrities to use, rather than websites like Myspace or Facebook, because it allows them to connect with their fans on a personal level without having to supply any private information. Not only is Twitter popular among celebrities, but one in five Internet users is now on Twitter. Twitter is a great platform for celebrities to connect with big fan audiences.

What is so different about Twitter in the eyes of a celebrity?

Fans can send direct messages to their favorite entertainment artists without being granted access to a personal page. The entertainer doesn’t need to have a formal connection with the follower and can choose to respond. Twitter is a safe site for celebrities to form bonds with their fans and allows for better artist promotion because followers can read tweets right away and can be instantly informed about a new song or album release.

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - ShowComing in like a wrecking ball:

According to the Twitter Counter, Miley Cyrus has 17,133,167 followers on Twitter and is hashtagged most for her album, “Bangerz.” Molly Blodgett reports that Miley used Twitter as her main campaign to promote her first single, “We Can’t Stop” and accredits Twitter for her single shooting straight to #1 on iTunes the same day she released it. Miley personally likes Twitter because it is the only form of social media that she can control by herself.

The night of Miley’s VMA performance, she had 300,000 Twitter mentions per second, stomping the previous record of the 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

Though Miley may stir up controversy with her personal tweets and questionable photos, she is drawing in more followers with her strategy. The more followers she has, the more users she can promote to.

Who Run the (social media) World? Beyoncé.

It’s no secret that social media has taken a toll on music sales, but it’s the clever artists that create ways to use social media to spike their record sales. According to Sanjeev Dewan and Jui Ramaprasad, the decline of record sales can be linked to peer-to-peer sharing through social media blogs. While raving about a great new song or album on social media may seem like a good thing for the artist, this can lead to illegal downloads. The more popular the music is, the more information will surface, which creates a buzz causing users to supply and download free music. Peer-to-peer sharing reduces the likelihood that users will purchase music by 30%, which has cost the recording industry $55 billion in revenue over the last decade.

Rock in Rio 2013Cue Beyoncé.

Sidestepping the opportunity for album leaks and illegal downloads, Beyoncé  did something revolutionary. She dropped her new album, “Beyoncé,” with no promotion. Instead, she posted a short video on Instagram, with the caption, “Surprise!” and immediately after, her 14 songs and 17 videos appeared for sale on iTunes.

View her Instagram post here

According to Ben Sisario of The New York Times, the album sold 365,000 units within the first day in the United States.

Beyoncé’s direct connection with her fans caused the news to spread rapidly through social media. Within 12 hours, her Instagram post generated 1.2 million tweets.

Another smart marketing move by Beyoncé included her decision to not allow fans to purchase singles from the album; consumers were only allowed to purchase the full album for $15.99. By creating so much hype around her album, the fans wanted to pay for the full experience.  Columbia, her record label, prevented leaks by releasing the hard copy of the CD-DVD only after the iTunes exclusive release.

Beyoncé  is a prime example of how the music industry can overcome the challenges that social media can present to record sales and thrive from all of the advantages that social media provides.

Oops, She Did It Again: Britney Goes Viral

ASPqBFaCAAIgldlYou can’t just make a campaign go viral, however, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of that happening. Britney Spears’s 2011 Femme Fetale campaign is a great example of how social media can aid in the virality of a campaign.

So how did Britney go Viral?

David Murdico shares some tips you can take to help your video or campaign spread. Let’s see how Britney did it.

1.) Make your content worth sharing

Before the premiere of “Hold it Against Me,” Britney released 14 teasers on YouTube each day, calling it “14 Days, 14 Teasers, 1 World Premiere.” The teasers grabbed her fans’ attention and prompted them to watch and share. Each teaser produced 1-5 million views.

2.) Have a social media strategy

Social media allowed her to be in direct contact with her fans and to interact with them on a daily basis. Instead of giving interviews to the media, she only communicated her important messages through her webpage, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Because her fans received this information right away, it allowed them to feel a sense of entitlement.

3.) Don’t market too much

You need to be aware when you cross the line from entertaining content to boring advertisements. While Britney promoted her products, she did it in an entertaining way. Britney posted a link to her Facebook page which lead viewers to an application related to an advertisement for her Radiance perfume. The app presented a fortune teller and then showed users’ Facebook pictures in a crystal ball. The link to this post received 1,052 replies, 666 re-tweets on Twitter, and had a total of 43,000 viewers who launched the app.

4.) Pay for media support

Obviously, Britney Spears has enough fans and followers that this step isn’t relevant to her. She did, however, use product placement to generate more revenue and buzz. Because of the decreasing number of record sales, the economics of the music industry is transforming. Artists now make money by working product placement into their acts. The music video for “Hold it Against Me” used product placement to advertise for her Radiance perfume, The Makeup Forever company, Sony electronics, and the online dating site “PlentyOfFish.com.” Spears made a total of $500,000 dollars from this product placement. Although journalists and critics generated negative comments about this, fans did not mind because the products were all chosen with a clear connection to Britney. Can you catch the product placement in her video?

5.) Make users aware of why they should share it

Four days before Britney’s release of her single, “Hold it Against Me,” her demo tape was leaked on YouTube. After, she took to Twitter saying, “Heard an early demo of my new single leaked. If u think that’s good, wait til you hear the real one Tuesday. ~Brit”

This post created buzz about her single before it even premiered.

In response to the leaking of her demo tape, fans posted remixes to her song. Britney even posted links to some of the videos on BritneySpears.com. Because of the buzz from the user-generated content, “Hold it Against Me” earned the title of most successful debut of a single by a leading woman artist.