Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

WEBSITE WIX tools for music sites

As seen from our sampling of websites, you can expect to find a range of online digital music outlets directly linked/embedded, as well as links to physical media (especially boxsets) resellers (sometimes self-distributed). Amazon Music, Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify ... there are lots of smaller platforms too. SoundCloud is increasingly commonly seen, for podcasts, remixes, samples, live audio, and simply for publishing tracks (for some unsigned/Indie acts). Like Vimeo and YouTube it includes purchase options, not just streaming.
Amazon includes a sample clip option - and so can you. You could avoid copyright issues by recording audio of you stating something like - don't just use my 'script'
hi, apologies as you're aware this isn't actually the track by [artist] you were hoping to hear. This website is a student coursework production and whilst we wanted to demonstrate our grasp of technology and industry conventions, we didn't want to contravene the artist's copyright. You can, however, find links to the actual artist page on various streaming and digital retail sites on this site!

Here's Amazon's Skrillex page, for example, with playable clips:

Wix provides a tool for creating a similar experience on your own website:

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

WEBSITE some home pages and banners compared

You have a few fundamental decisions to make early in the construction and design of your site:
  • BANNER this should tie in with icons/banners for all social media, and will often change to reflect the latest album release or tour
  • TOP LINKS any decent website has clear, specific top-links, accessible on every page for quick navigation through the site. 4 or 5 (sometimes 6) is the norm. Some will include dropdown menus with sub-pages. 'Contact' or 'social media' shouldn't be one of these as those icons should also be on every page AND their content featured heavily throughout
  • COLOURSCHEME/OVERALL LOOK there should be a clear feel throughout the site. That doesn't necessarily mean the same background colour/image, but there should some clear feel of consistency
Here are a few homepages/banners to consider:

He started out as a late 70s punk, but became one of the biggest selling 80s pop artists, and a key pioneer of the epic MTV music video, and continues to record and tour today. He has TWO official sites, one for the US and one primarily for the UK.
The US site has 6 top links, and a poorly designed banner - odd for an artist famed for tightly controlling and self-designing so much of his own artwork over the years. The forum is in heavy use - 0.5m posts, including recent additions. Note the emphasis on merchandise and live dates, a clear reflection of how artists tend to monetise their work these days. 'Features' is an odd mish-mash of many things; this could do with a dropdown sub-menu. There actually is a mouse hover submenu, but its a graphic only, and disappears when you move the mouse or click on Features. I also note that clicking through to merchandise prices appear in euros but there is a separate banner for a US store on the homepage for that separate site.

VIRAL the sick slickness of me-too memes

The idea of a “viral hit” long ago stopped being something that just happened to a song and became, through contrivance and orchestration, a core part of the marketing plot. We can see this today, the air thick with the tang of desperation, as tracks are propelled by endless videos and vloggers shamelessly bankrolling themselves with “promoted content”. Songs are announced as viral hits on launch, semantically bulldozing through what “viral” actually means. (Mannequin challenge, Rae Sremmurd and the meme-powered viral hit)
The quote comes from a good overview, and critique, of the viral video concept by Eamonn Forde:

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

INDUSTRY 360 deals rip off or service?

Since Napster and its successors ate away at the CD cash-cow, the music industry has aggressively sought to develop fresh sources of income.

An exemplar of this is the now common 360 deal, wherein an artist signs over a percentage of rights to every money-making activity to their label - in return (in theory) for support from the label. It is a controversial practice from an industry historically mired in controversy over its treatment and exploitation of artists.

Excerpt from an interview featured on ezine Blabbermouth with the Staind frontman, & (above) Indie innovator Alan McGee (Creation Records) pulls no punches!
BELOW: a definition + research tips/examples

Saturday, 5 November 2016

RETROMANIA New life on Mars for 1973 Bowie promo

Student videos often tap into the possibility of promo campaigns targeting a new, younger audience. Some of the re-formed Pixies videos, such as Bagboy, are a good example of this approach in practice by established artists.

Bowie is not the first to get either a new video (there have been several posthumous videos for Elvis, Biggie, Tupac and more, not to mention the hologram live appearances by Ronnie Dio, Michael Jackson and more) or a re-edit, but the news that a 1973 promo clip is being revisited by its director and editor could inspire more such work.

This could offer buying incentives to repackaged best of albums, and at minimum is a cheap means of gaining free media publicity through media coverage. Video plays are monetised, even if the payment levels are controversially low per online view, and video collections remain a useful means of monetising through DVD sales (eg, I've pre-ordered a new Depeche Mode DVD collecting their video work, a November release that should sell well in the gap between album releases and tours).

Thursday, 3 November 2016


a branded campaign
As good an example as any, they're highly active across multiple platforms, and even managed to persuade me to lash out on a vinyl copy of their comeback single Bagboy and EP after spotting a promo tweet. Like many who ordered this I don't currently have a record player - the package also came with download codes for high bitrate (quality) MP3s.

Old-school email is a tool they use very effectively - always integrating their other platforms when doing so. These screenshots largely speak for themselves:

  • using staggered video releases to push new releases and tours alike
  • they've recorded videos for every album (2) and EP track since re-forming, a growing trend (not least as YouTube plays themselves generate revenue)
  • the range of videos work to both please their existing, ageing fanbase (the band date back to the late 80s and were a key influence on Nirvana) and to target a new, younger audience too (for sheer inspiration, I highly recommend viewing a batch of these and/or Depeche Mode videos)
  • they offer exclusives to various online ezines; an advantage of multiple videos is that they can offer this to a variety of sites over time
  • they highlight Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (plus their website), currently the big 3 of social media (surely users will tire of Twitter eventually?!)
  • look carefully at the followers/likes numbers, and you'll get a good example of which platforms are most/least significant for a primarily mature adult fanbase
  • the emails are not excessive, but often enough to keep prompting fans into potential purchase of recordings, merchandise or tickets, or at worst to view their video/s or visit their online platforms
  • the branding is clear: the P in a circle at the bottom of the email; the banner/masthead across their online platforms pushing the latest album, and a consistent image for their user icons
  • recordings are offered in multiple formats, including vinyl and boxsets
  • there is also a link for streaming
  • this is tied into multiple streaming platforms
Skip to 1:43 for 2nd question in this interview in which they discuss social media...(part of my extensive Pixies playlist)

a few of the emails The Pixies (... the marketing agency they've hired!) have sent me.
Details of the latest, plus screenshots from their platforms, are below the read more line

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Kill 'Em All - Metallica latest to do video for every track

Videos, expensive beasts, are for singles. Simples.

But passé.

The Pixies did it, Bjork has done it, and many, many others - including, imminently, kings of thrash metal (sales wise at least...) Metallica.

Yes, the music video remains primarily a vehicle for promoting a single, but, reflecting wider industry changes through digital disruption, now the video is commonly part of a track by track album promo.