I mention beer as a great example of merch below - you can buy both Slayer and Iron Maiden beer in Luxembourg (Auchan), and Motorhead, plus some other branded wine/spirits if I recall correctly. That this is now a common strategy, especially in heavy metal, can be seen from a simple google ('heavy metal beer'). See this Pinterest for a gallery (pic, right comes from it):
A salutary lesson - I'd tapped out a lengthy post on a smartphone using the Android app ... only to see every word blink and disappear (possibly because the broadband connection flicked off). If using this very useful tool, its worth saving a few times to avoid the risk of this...
NB: As the article link contains a filter-unfriendly term, its below the read more line; the videos featured in the article contain uncensored strong language.
|Multi-editionalising has become the norm, certainly for rock/Indie acts|
Here's a new example of a converged, web 2.0 promo package featuring a digipak, vinyl and download options, a range of videos/vodcasts, and even an expensive, limited edition figurine (which clearly anchors the core target audience as being male, and a significant chunk of this being older males, more likely to be able to afford such items!).
The Metal Eagle Edition of Repentless is also available. Made of aluminum alloy, measuring 15” X 17” X 3” and weighing in at a hefty 7.8 pounds, the Metal Eagle Edition will house a deluxe digipak of the new Repentless CD plus bonus material detailed below. The limited (only 3,000 copies worldwide) and numbered Metal Eagle Edition will be a direct-to-consumer item and available exclusively via the Nuclear Blast mailorder online stores.
You really should take note of this - regardless of how simple your brief might be, your ads should reflect not just a digipak but the wider range of options we expect to see today, and you could usefully (and very simply) spin off digipak designs into vinyl editions - after all, the digipak is in large part mimicking vinyl sleeves.
Thrash metal icons Slayer are signed to an Indie label, Nuclear Blast, who astutely exploit the potential of online tools to engage with the existing fanbase and target a new audience for their acts.
The range of behind the scenes videos/vodcasts are professionally shot (a two-camera setup on singer Tom Araya for example - I'm assuming the close-ups aren't a third camera but actually a software-produced zoom, a useful means of squeezing extra 'shot variety' from potentially limited footage), but crucially foster a sense of barrier-free, direct engagement with the audience.
The uses and gratifications audience theory would describe this as utilising a 'personal relationship'. No matter what the genre/s, this has long been a crucial strand of marketing and brand building. In days of yore, this was fairly limited; the 'behind-the-scenes', seemingly (but not!) unposed scenes from the recording studio, guitarist Slash relaxing in his hotel room, engineers setting up the set and camera equipment featured in 1980s videos for Guns n'Roses' Paradise City, Sweet Child O' Mine and Patience are all good examples, but you can see this in any number of videos.
What is also intriguing is to see an Indie label, Nuclear Blast, making good use of web 2.0 tools to market their acts without recourse to huge budgets. This is also a fully converged campaign, spanning social media (I encountered this article on Facebook), e-zines, their own YouTube channel and, of course, music!
|Facebook don't impose the censorship that mainstream media do, the record label can use swear words in their headline|
Furthermore, this is notable as Nuclear Blast have side-stepped the censorship issues of mainstream TV and radio. The broadcast media would bleep much of this content, if not during a post-watershed broadcast then (almost) certainly on their websites. Retaining the swearing is part of the branding and sense of audience engagement here, generating authenticity or verisimilitude that is especially important for rock and Indie acts, but that we have also seen with pop icons - Madonna's In Bed With Madonna movie is a good example.
One last thing, another example of how music act branding is evolving (albeit the likes of KISS took branding to extremes decades ago!), the web page with this article carries an ad in the frame borders for an Iron Maiden beer:
|(The image is cropped on the web page)|