Facebook, Twitter oust Myspace

2011-01-25 16:33

Cannes, France - Facebook and Twitter have ousted Myspace as the hot new spaces for fans to connect with their favourite artists and acts, industry insiders say.

They are also providing a major new way to publicise concerts and persuade increasingly youthful fans to buy their music.

While 16-24 year-olds prefer to rip and burn CDs without paying for them, twelve-to-fifteen year-olds are the digital natives of today and tomorrow, influential market survey group Forrester's vice president of research Mark Mulligan told the music industry's annual MIDEM get-together in Cannes.

Though a mere 15% of this young group download peer-to-peer music and just 12% buy tracks, 56% listen to music on their mobiles and 53% watch videos on the Internet.

"Twelve-to-fifteen year olds, who represent the consumers of tomorrow and have grown up with the Internet, want rich immersive music experiences in which they can watch, listen and share," Mulligan told a conference here.

Social media is key

An increasing number of musicians have tuned in to this shift and are trying a variety of creative approaches to reach out to their fans in order to boost their popularity and their sales of music.

"Knowing how to use social media to connect with fans is key," Adrian Pope, director of digital and business development at PIAS Entertainment, told a conference entitled "Marketing to Fans - the new mix".

But fans want much more than just information about their favourite bands' upcoming concerts and the release date of a new track or CD, said Jeremy Welt of Warner Bros Records.

Canadian rock band Arcade Fire, for example, used Google maps to give fans an interactive and immersive video experience to help sales of their last album.

Their Wilderness Downtown video takes fans back to the street they grew up by allowing them to enter the address on a website, which then sends them a personalised video clip that includes images of their first home.

Imogen Heap

Grammy-winning singer and multi-instrumentalist, Imogen Heap, and lead singer for the Chicago-based rock band OK Go, Damian Kulash, are two examples of how artists are now connecting with their fans in a variety of ways.

Kulash said not being tied to a record label has helped him get in touch directly with his fan base through blogs and Twitter. And this has helped fuel his creativity, Kulash said at MIDEM.

Britain's Imogen Heap, who has been "tweeting" on micro blog site Twitter for a number of years, regularly gets her fans involved in helping her write new songs.

Fans also sent in around 1 000 video clips of nature recently to enable Heap to make a short film that was projected during her Albert Hall concert in London last year and also viewed by 482 000 people online.

But whilst social networks play an important role in helping artists build a high profile with fans, it is still not clear whether this really boosts sales of their music.

"We are trying to be social to get paid," Eric Garland, CEO of media tracking and technology company BigChampagne, said at MIDEM.

"But there often is no correlation between an artist's popularity on the Internet and their sales of music," Garland added.

Heap however revealed here that when she recently travelled to Jakarta in Indonesia to give a concert, thousands turned up at the gig to her great surprise.

How had word got around about the concert? Because of her blogs and tweets, she said.