Marketing Music Through Non-Linear Communication

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* Bachelor's Thesis: The Answer Is The Ecosystem. Marketing Music Through Non-Linear Communication. Thesis by Bas Grasmayer (@spartz) in 2011



Bas Grasmayer:

"The purpose of this study was to develop an effective approach for 2AM (Bulgarian indie house music labor) to market music to their fans using the web. 2AM is a small independent record label, publisher and music production house based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Their main product at the start of this study was Star Tattooed, a vocal house music project. 2AM's management wanted a better understanding of how the internet was changing the music business and how 2AM should deal with this from a marketing communication perspective. The study was commissioned by 2AM.

The research carried out for this study was both qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative desk research, interviews and participation in discussion groups was used to provide a theoretical framework for the quantitative research. The quantitative data was gathered through an online survey which delivered 362 valid cases.

The research revealed that convenience is one of the most important factors for music consumption. Due to the fact that the music industry has lost control over the distribution of their content, this desire for convenience has resulted in piracy. Meanwhile, consumers are replacing traditional media with new media with the percentage of respondents who have never bought a physical CD increasing per generation. People have different expectations as to what price is reasonable for different products. An important trend being that people enjoy consumption that feels like free, which has made that which is easily copied cheaper and that which can't be copied more expensive. Although consumers like 'free', even consumers that frequently pirate music often regularly spend money on music.

As a solution to these challenges, the author recommends that 2AM starts integrating the concept of the ecosystem into their communication strategy. The ecosystem is an active fanbase which is interconnected through non-linear communication. This means producing a story worth telling to turn the internet's non-linear communication and loss of control over distribution into an opportunity to get discovered. The second step is retaining the attention by connecting with listeners and connecting them to each other like the host of a party would with guests. Turning the ecosystem into a fun party helps energize the fanbase and amplifies the aforementioned story worth telling. Marketing opportunities come from listening to the ecosystem and releasing the products they want, as opposed to the classic approach of pushing the product that you want them to buy. Internet-enabled concepts such as pre-ordering and digital releases allow 2AM to offer the ecosystem abundant choice to play into all the different expectations regarding price and product characteristics. This most likely will involve a mix of (feels like) free and publishing products or services that are better than free."