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Marketing Drivers: What We Need, When

calendarSo, your biggest priority of the year is approaching: a new album from the most prominent artist on your roster. You’re feeling organised; with 3 months to go before release date, the album is mastered and in production for physical. The digital is uploaded and ready to submit. Press and online teams are hired and have begun their campaigns. You’re releasing a single 2 weeks before street and have a radio plugger on board for that, along with a completed video. A 20-date tour is booked starting release week. Lovely. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, hopefully nothing at all. But as a label manager, one thing that still surprises me is that I am sometimes not made aware of all this activity, or I am told when it is too late for me to effectively utilize. Digital stores plan the layout of their storefronts ahead of release date; they work to deadlines just like everyone else. So getting them the information they require on time is essential.

In days gone by, I used to call up buyers at shops and sell in records. Healthy sales were dependent on a plot, being able to tell buyers what they needed to know about the release, why their punters would be buying it, who’s playing it on radio, which publications would be reviewing it. Collectively we can refer to these selling points as “marketing drivers.”

Additionally, understanding what a shop sold, their market, a buyer’s tastes and knowledge and more generally nurturing great relationships all helped the process and allowed me to sell all kinds of releases, even if they were niche records without much in the way of marketing behind them.

The digital world is a different beast, but all of the above still applies. However, while there were 1000s of shops all with their own niche, in the digital space there are far fewer players, so I would argue that marketing drivers are even more important than they used to be. Essentially, if a service is going to give your release visibility on their store, they need to know it will sell. So, I thought I’d give you a brief rundown of what you need to send to your label manager and when, to give your priority releases their best chance at digital retail. You’ve gone to all the effort of marketing your artist and giving their new release all the support it needs, why stumble at the final hurdle?

Depending on the scale of your release, some of the below may not apply but some of it must.

What We Need

A listening link. Sounds obvious I know, but it’s important. The people who make these editorial decisions want to be able hear what they’re going to be recommending to their customers. And make it easy for them, it needs to be a streaming link. Links to downloads no thank you.

A press release or one sheet

Sales history and predictions. How well have previous releases from the same artist done? Have they charted? What are your predictions for first week sales, digital and, if relevant, physical?

Have you set up a pre-order and how’s it performing? Anything specific to particular stores (exclusives, bonus content etc)?

Artist assets. Links to your artist’s online assets and social profiles: their website, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram, Songkick, etc. with stats where relevant.

Press & Publicity. The name of the artist’s publicist and the PR company running the release campaign — print and online. Provide details for all territories where there is activity. Send clear and concise breakdowns of print coverage, online, perhaps even TV! Is it a review, a feature, perhaps a front page spread? This should include items that have already run, things that are confirmed and also TBC.

Radio. Have you hired a radio company or plugger (if not, try iPluggers)? Which stations and shows have been playing your music? Are these spot plays or playlists?

Video(s). Are there any videos associated with the release? If so, have you secured support with an editorial partner?

Advertising. Are you running any print or digital advertising? If so, what publications? What’s the budget for digital and what platforms are you targeting?

Live. Is the artist / band touring? If so, where and when?

Where? Territory focus. Let your label manager know where your release will sell, where there’s a plot — whether that be local PR, tour dates, radio promos, and so on.

Is your artist happy to post pre-order links and buy links during release week? (Note: never link to multiple services in the same post.)

Definitely include anything else you feel pertinent and any key selling points not already covered, like details of contributing or featuring artists.

When We Need It

The all important question. It goes without saying there should be an ongoing dialogue between you and your label manager for all your priority releases. Make them aware of your release from day one and keep them in the loop with all developments.

As a rule of thumb, the further in advance the better. Ideally you’d be supplying your label manager with a list of marketing drivers 6 weeks before release date. This won’t always be practical, but at the very least it should be 4 weeks in the US and 3 weeks ROW. Leaving this short lead time should be the exception rather than the rule. 4-6 weeks is what you should aim for. This will allow your label manager enough time to process what you’ve sent them and communicate to The Orchard’s various retail marketing teams around the world.

In addition, chase up your PR companies so that you can send your label manager one final update exactly 2 weeks before release date ROW, 3 weeks in the US. Your client manager wants that in their inbox first thing Monday morning.

Of course, there are occasional genuine last minute priorities that pop up and in these instances we do our best to work around tight deadlines. For the rest, it is often a simple lack of communication. We know you’re not doing everything 2 weeks before release date, so just keep your client manager informed. Cool? Cool.

The Marketplace Presents: iPluggers

December 11, 2012 Client Tool, Featured News 9 Comments

iPluggersPlugging — it’s a word we often hear in relation to promoting something, recommending it, giving it your stamp of approval. iPluggers does just that for your music, and it does it all around the world.

With a 100% airplay guarantee (or your money back), iPluggers provides the platform for you to pitch your music to more than 30,000 radio stations of all genres and all types, including AM, FM, satellite, internet, and more. You can create an artist profile (or online airplay kit) on which to share and promote your tunes in minutes by following the steps below:

  • Install iPluggers through the Marketplace on the artist of your choice, and select a profile name for your iPluggers page (typically the name of your artist or band). Enter a contact email address on which you can be reached and click Submit.
  • On the next page, select “add a new release for worldwide plugging.”
  • This is where it gets interesting. First, choose what kind of release you’ll be plugging (Single, EP or Album). Then, choose a release cover from the pre-populated drop-down menu or upload a new one. Select the title of the release, confirm the artist name and add any featuring artists if needed. Choose the tracks you’d like to promote and click Next.
  • Once your tracks have been imported, you can choose up to three genres you’d like to target. You also have the option to carve out territories you don’t want to plug your music to. Optionally fill out release information to give radio stations some more background on why they should plug your release and click Next.
  • The last step before submission is completing your track information. While The Orchard provides a handful of iPluggers’s required metadata, there will still be missing fields. To fill them out, click on Edit Track Details and go through the fields to confirm pre-populated metadata and fill out what’s missing, such as Composers/Writers, Publisher and Song Genres. Click Submit.

Now iPluggers will review your release before approving it to plug. This can take up to 5 business days, and you’ll get a notification as soon as they’ve given it the green light. Once your release has gone through iPluggers’s system, you’ll get to set a plugging date, after which all radio stations subscribed to the genre you chose to plug will receive your release. To increase the likelihood of your release getting picked up, we also recommend that you complete your Artist Profile. Many fields will already be completed thanks to the app’s integration with our API, but you’ll need to tweak it to make it just right for iPluggers.

Track your releases by clicking on the Results menu and download reports for your plugged tracks by clicking on the corresponding link. You’ll be able to track the artist, song, radio station and country as well as when said radio station downloaded your track. While iPluggers can’t track if a specific radio station has actually played the song, the likelihood is high once the song has been downloaded (because stations can preview the song on your artist profile, it’s unlikely they would download it unless they intended to play it). Furthermore, all plays will be tracked via the usual SoundExchange/CMJ/MediaBase channels.

As Next Big Sound shared recently, and against popular belief, radio spins continue to positively impact track sales. Now that you have it all laid out in simple steps, there’s no reason you shouldn’t take advantage of that extra push to bump up your sales!

See below for a more in-depth demo on how to get your music heard around the globe:

iPluggers is available via The Marketplace. Find out more about them, including special pricing for The Orchard’s clients, on their One-Sheet.

Board the CMJ “Pirate!” Ship

October 11, 2012 Industry Trends No Comments

Pirate!It’s Fall and we know what that means for the industry: the CMJ Music Marathon.  CMJ will host a series of events from October 16th to 20th in NYC. These events will bring everyone from music reps and artists to college radios, college students, and professional radio (basically everyone) together.

Amid all this excitement, Pirate! will be broadcasting LIVE from Fontana’s on October 17th, starting at 12PM all the way through to 6PM. What is Pirate! you ask? Pirate! (I really like saying that) is an independent marketing and management agency from Boston that promotes music to radio stations, college students and websites in North America. Pirate! has promoted artists such as Matt & Kim, The Temper Trap, Wilco, Silversun Pickups, Tegan & Sara, Tom Waits, The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Mates of State. They work with labels such as Barsuk, RCA, Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Roadrunner, TKO, Warner Brothers and TVT [cough The Orchard]. Pirate! has also marketed products and events to tastemakers such as HBO, Target, Levi’s and provides the service to alert radio stations about ongoing tours while promoting ticket giveaways, interviews for emerging artists.

Next week, Pirate! will be broadcasting live music from the likes of Conveyor, Sean Rowe, Pretty & Nice, Mean Creek, Generationals, and Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes. In between artists, various speakers from CMJ, students from colleges and other radio professionals will be promoting music, talking about music, and radio and interviewing the featured artists live on the airwaves. It’s a great way for people to get together and talk about what everyone seems to have in common: their passion for the music industry.

See ya there!

The “Kiss Me” Duo is Back in Action

August 1, 2012 Artist News No Comments

Remember that song “Kiss Me” that seemed like it was in every chick flick? Well the chart-topping group responsible for it, Sixpence None The Richer, is back after their decade-long recording hiatus.

The band will celebrate the release of their new LP Lost In Transition with a performance at Mercury Lounge on August 7th. This will be the band’s first NYC show since 2008.

While their standout track “Sooner Than Later” may not be as upbeat as “Kiss Me,” the song is definitely memorable and strikes a chord. Singer Leigh Nash tells Billboard that the song, which you can stream here, is about her father who passed away in 2007:

“That’s a relationship and something I don’t mind at all baring for the world to see. The pain of losing a parent, a lot of people can connect with that,” she says.

Another album highlight, “Radio,” was championed by Perez Hilton as a “jewel of a track.” Perez has also just featured the music video for “Sooner Than Later” on his site and shared his unbridled excitement at the band jamming together again. After that kind of review from the celeb blogger, we can only expect more silver screen attention…

The event details for the Mercury Lounge concert are posted below.

Who: Sixpence None the Richer
Where: Mercury Lounge — 217 East Houston Street Manhattan, NY 10002
When: Tuesday, August 7th — Doors: 6:30PM/Set time: 7:30PM
Tickets: here!

Freeloader Friday: Sixpence None the Richer, Crocodiles, Eternal Summers, Ramona Falls, Antibalas and Menomena

Happy Friday, Freeloaders! This week we have a lot of free stuff for you, so get excited! You can stream tracks by Sixpence None The Richer and Menomena. You can also listen to Eternal Summers‘ entire album and watch videos from Antibalas, Crocodiles, and Ramona Falls.

Fridays don’t get much better than this one!

Enjoy!

Sixpence None The Richer: “Sooner Than Later” via Billboard and “Radio” via Perez Hilton
Lost in Transition out August 7 on Sixpence LLC

Crocodiles: “Endless Flowers” music video via Noisey
Endless Flowers out now on Frenchkiss Records

Eternal Summers: Correct Behavior via Hype Machine
Correct Behavior out July 24th on Kanine Records

Ramona Falls: “Fingerhold” music video via YouTube
Prophet out now on Barsuk Records

Antibalas: “Dirty Money” music video via Spin
Antibalas out August 7th on Daptone Records

Menomena: “Heavy Is As Heavy Does” via Pitchfork
Moms out September 18th on Barsuk Records

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