Marketing/Publicity

The Smith Street Band!

April 16, 2017


Congrats x a million to The Smith Street Band for scoring a top 3 ARIA chart debut with their new album! Such an incredible feat, and wonderful to know that indie music fans in Australia really still do buy music and support local talent.

I was so lucky to work on the album at Bolster via Remote Control and their management agency Little Giant (who, coincidentally, are “desk neighbours” in our office building). I’ll leave you with the following little video because CONFETTI CANNON:

Awkward, You Didn’t Check The Date

April 2, 2017

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Yesterday the Bolster crew pulled an April Fool’s PR prank that, um, didn’t work. We put up social media posts and a blog post about starting a new arm of the business… specifically a doggo club in Collingwood, by the name of WALKIES.

bolster_walkies_club-1024x1024

I thought our pun-filled blog post made it pretty clear that this was a pisstake. Come on, ‘Courtney Barknett’? Apparently not.

A whole bunch of mates and clients messaged us to tell us how utterly excited they were. Sorry guys. It’s not real.

But not all of the blog post is wrong. We are moving office very soon, and the Collingwood converted warehouse in that pic is where we’ll be setting up shop very soon (albeit minus the Photoshopped WALKIES branding). Update on new office digs shortly!

The Austin Buzz

March 10, 2017

17190785_424477197886000_8362145740898808931_n

SXSW is almost upon us! While I’m not headed over to the States for the music/tech/film conference, Bolster is still in on the action with another ‘buzz’ site.

This time round, the Bolster Creative team have created The Austin Buzz, an unofficial social media hype site. If it looks familiar, it’s because it’s the same technology we used for last year’s BIGSOUND Buzz app.

The Austin Buzz pulls together social media data around all the music acts trying their hand at South By this year, with info being drawn from public Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts. User mentions/tags are also weighted according to the authority of the social media post’s author. In other words, a Pitchfork mention has more gravity than your mum on Twitter, sorry… There’s a nice little write up on The Music Network if you want to read what Alex Zacca had to say about it.

Kudos to the design team for their top notch graphic design work, which you can check out on this very monochromatic Instagram channel.

Side note – very pleased to see some amazing Aussies musos representing our fine country in Texas this week, including the likes of Kučka, C.W. Stoneking and Alex Lahey.

2016 Year In Review

December 27, 2016

2016 was a very weird year for everyone involved. Hey there, Brexit/Trump/Bowie/Snape/Malcolm Turnbull! On a more personal level, I had some shit things happen to me too (i.e. having my flu misdiagnosed as meningococcal and getting sent to the ER) but otherwise, some pretty sweet things happened to, including:

  • Celebrating an entire decade of calling the world’s most liveable city home.
  • Running a BIGSOUND Conference workshop with Alex for Bolster that ended up being the most popular workshop at the whole conference by far.
  • Getting to play five shows at Canadian Music Week with Darts, and successfully navigating LAX with 22kg of music gear.
  • Back on home soil, getting the chance to play some amazing Darts gigs this year, including opening for Tiny Little Houses, Bully, Bleached and Polish Club, plus playing Volumes Fests in Syd.
  • Finding a FREE HAT.
  • Figuring out what I sound awful why I try to sing. (It’s to do with my breathing, apparently.)
  • Heading over to Singapore in November and eating all the foods.
  • Successfully doing a webinar on digital advertising.
  • Speaking at the 8 Percent conference panel around the place of record labels in the current music climate.
  • Watching The Cure play Splendour In The Grass.
  • Completing a 100-day healthy challenge where I had to eat cleanly for 100 days. I accidentally found out that not eating processed food for over 3 months cures adult acne. The more you know.
  • Learning to knit!
  • Getting the chance to work with some absolutely phenomenal clients at Bolster, including Iggy Pop, Adele, Flume and more.
  • Finishing an online course in best practices for copywriting for web and learning some new things too.
  • Travelling more than I ever have in my entire life, with a record of 22 flights over 12 months. No flights booked for 2017 though and that makes me so happy.
  • Learning that I will never be satisfied with whatever headphones I own. (Currently on the Aiaiai TMA-2 Studio Presets which are okay, but HMU if you know something better.)

Happy New Year, guys!

The 8 Percent Festival, and The Role of Record Labels

November 12, 2016

14642410_1513279318700785_8884217436477960852_n

Thanks to The 8 Percent Festival for having me at their music panel! Yes, that’s me wearing a headset. I promise there were no cone bras on that stage. The sound guys just ran out of less-mental lapel mics. Also on the panel was Art Alexakis (Everclear), Joel De Ross (FMIN), and Luca Lucchesi (The Vaudeville Smash).

The panel was on the topic of music and the future of the industry, from the perspective of bands and record labels. The question that was put forward to me before the conference to think about was:

In your view, what are the main benefits an artist receives from signing to a label, whether they be big or small?

…this is something I can talk about for days. I know it’s really easy to shit on labels because there’s a weird consensus with some that: a) major labels fuck over artists and take all their royalties, and b) indie labels don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, and still take a lot of the royalties.

Maybe accurate for some artists/label relationships, which is unfortunate, but definitely not true for all. Here’s how I view labels:

  • The record label as an investor. I think some bands forget that the reason why they might not see royalties for a while is because their sales are covering marketing/manufacturing/PR costs around the album release, which the label covers initially and (sometimes depending on the deal) recoups off royalties. The labels have to make calculated guesses at the best initial spend on these activities for the best outcome (sell a shit load of records, make a band famous, etc.) without overspending. There’s a point where more advertising costs do not equal sales in a proportionate amount… Also, you have no idea how hard it is to figure out how many physical copies of an album to make for a band with no sales history. Too little = you miss out on sales and it’s harder for retailers to have a healthy amount of stock across all stores on release day. Too many and you’ve wasted money on manufacturing and are overstocked. (Also royalties take time to actually be processed by iTunes, Spotify and physical retailers. That delay isn’t all from the label side of things.)
  • The record label as a curator. This applies a lot more to indie labels than majors that sign anything from a largely commercial/sales point of view (although maybe rings true for imprint labels), but there are a few record labels that I love, and will give anything signed to their label a chance because I trust their A&R skills.
  • The record label as the expert. Artists signed to a label get a whole team behind them who look after distribution, manufacturing, royalties, marketing/advertising, retail/trade pitching and the like as a full time job. They’re been doing it for a while and they know what works and doesn’t work, and can often borrow ideas from other successful release campaigns.
  • The record label as the connection. Working with a record label also means that you get to be aligned with all their previous good working relationships with manufacturing plants (read: bulk  discounts), radio (easier radio adds), DSPs (think iTunes features and Spotify playlisting), retail (trade marketing and distribution) and media (more coverage). Label backing also helps tremendously when artists try to break other countries.

Not that a label deal is the only way to release music – it definitely depends on the artist and the label (and even further, the actual release). I just think labels do a hell of lot that people don’t realise. There. I’ve said it. ^_^

Not sure if the panel was filmed, but if it was I’ll link it up here soon so you can laugh at my headset action.

Talking To Ourselves

October 9, 2016

As I mentioned the other day, Alex and I did a webinar on digital advertising last week! Here’s a link to the Crowdcast – I know you can definitely watch the replay if you RSVPed… Not sure if you didn’t RSVP ahead of time but try and see what happens ^__^

It was the first time I’ve ever done a webinar or talked to a web cam without someone talking back a la Google Hangouts or Skype. A bit weird at first but after Alex and I finished and turned to each other and said, “Well, that was actually fun.” Definitely helped having someone else there to chat through our curriculum – it would have been harder to be peppy and engaging solo. Also awesome to have people live streaming us from around Australia and asking us great questions.

P.S. While we’re on the topic of talking to large groups of people about what I do for work, I’m speaking on a panel at The 8 Percent in Melbourne on Monday. Updates on that next week!

@azac89 and I did an internet thing tonight 🤗 mid-@blstr.co-webinar selfie.

A photo posted by Paige X. Cho 🌘🌠 (@tigerburning) on

Masterclass, Round 2!

October 1, 2016

Alex Zaccaria and I are running a free webinar on digital advertising for music (specifically for music releases, tours, festivals and venues) next Wednesday evening. RSVP here! If you can’t make it, definitely RSVP anyway so you can be emailed the learning materials plus watch it post-event.

Alex and I actually hosted a Bolster masterclass at BIGSOUND last month (read more about that here) but it ended up being the first workshop at the conference to be fully booked out (talk about pressure). We had so many emails asking for a second workshop that we’ve decided to do it again!

BRB going to find some Madonna-style headset for this biz. P.S. Here’s me probably talking about Google Display Network banners (based on how bored Nicky & Alex look haha) at BIGSOUND.

14264016_10153258224382706_3264455639786747244_n

BIGSOUND 2016 Report

September 25, 2016

I could write an essay about BIGSOUND… but who has time for that ^__^ Here’s how this year’s trip went in a bunch of dot points:

  • Awesome to meet the QMusic team in person, after months of talking to them on the phone.
  • Sadly missed Kim Gordon’s keynote speech (plus most of the other conference sessions I had earmarked) because I was doing urgent campaign work from our apartment. But did manage to catch an interesting panel around A&R and marketing, and also hear one of the Pandora guys talk very candidly and honestly about streaming (and how they can do it better).
  • Also watched a session where a panelist criticised a recent advertising campaign I ran because it listed the national tour dates instead of just ticketing details for Sydney, his hometown. Did go up and have a chat to him afterwards because we did that strategically during the announce phase to highlight how large the national tour was/how big the band has become, and I think he died a little on the inside. (He was a really nice dude and had no idea I worked on the campaign… I just really needed to tell him haha.)
  • Our digital advertising workshop was apparently the most popular of the whole conference and was completely booked out. Also it ran perfectly on time… WINNING.
  • Serviced apartment with a full kitchen + near Woollies = best outcome for a girl who struggles to eat healthy/cheap when not in Melbourne.
  • BIGSOUND Buzz really freaked out band managers.
  • Showcase highlights: Jarrow, Alex Lahey, Vera Blue, Fractures, Teeth & Tongue and Olympia.
  • Espresso martinis at the Bolster party was a great idea. Side note – I ended up spontaneously doing door bitch duties (which is 100% fine) but a couple of industry people treated me like a lowlife, so that’s a great way to filter out jerks. (Never assume door people are only door people.)
  • After party toilet lines = best place for conversations.
  • Post BIGSOUND flu is a thing, and I’m still sick :(

Getting ready to spice things up at our Digital Advertising workshop 🌶🌶 #BIGSOUND16 #blstrLIFE

A photo posted by Bolster (@blstr.co) on

😍😍😍 #BIGSOUND16

A photo posted by Bolster (@blstr.co) on

Nerd Alert: Writing For Web

September 3, 2016

I recently decided to take a short course in writing for web via Open2Study, the free sister program of Open Universities. Seems pretty weird considering that I’ve been paid to write content for web contexts for almost a decade… but it was free, I haven’t actually studied writing/comms in a formal setting, and I am an ultimate nerd. (And yep, I passed.)

I  stumbled upon the course from a careers blog, and it definitely had immediate takeaways that I could apply to my current job in digital advertising. A lot of what I know about writing for online environments has been largely through experimenting, accidentally learning things on the go and seeing how other writers play with words (both good and bad). While I don’t think there was anything revolutionary in the course, it was a great way to turn my random hunches about web writing into a neat little list of best practices.

In terms of takeaways specific to music:

  • The end user and channel is pretty important, which is why a press release doesn’t need to be the same as a band bio. And should rarely be the same as social media content.
  • Context of use is often overlooked. Some of our festival clients have horrendous sites that make it hard for mobile users to purchase a ticket (i.e. try filling out 40 fields with an iPhone keyboard) even though most of their traffic is via mobile devices. Or I often see other advertisers push iTunes links to my Android device.
  • Copy needs to be relevant to the audience that is getting it. Half the time I get advertising for bands that I don’t follow with extremely basic copy (e.g. “NAME-OF-BAND-I’VE-NEVER-HEARD-OF’s new album out now on iTunes.”). This doesn’t sell the product to me because I have no idea what you’re about and there’s no story to entice me.
  • Consistency across channels is pretty important. I think many music brands (e.g. festivals, bands, labels) are great at being consistent across one channel (e.g. just Facebook, just Instagram, just their blog) but not so much between channels (i.e. is the tone of voice the same between their EDM, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Triple J Unearthed profile?). Big brands have style guides and a developed TOV, but most music brands don’t because the content is much more organic and/or channels may be split up between band members.

There was also a heap of content more focused around blogs and websites too, so here’s the course in case any of you want to ride nerdy with me.

BIGSOUND Buzz

August 31, 2016

WARNING: THIS SITE IS FUCKING BEAUTIFUL.

Screen Shot 2016-09-18 at 4.17.26 pm

Bolster (well, Mike & Nicky) built a social analytics site called BIGSOUND Buzz to accompany BIGSOUND. It ranks all 160 bands from the festival lineup according to who is the most talked about on Facebook and Twitter, over windows of the last 6 hours, 12 hours, day, 2 days and a week. Neat little summary around it on The Music.

Did notice a couple of grumpy peeps rag on this saying you can’t rank bands objectively because taste is subjective… which is TRUE. We’re not trying to rank the best bands of BIGSOUND, just trying to make all the noise a bit neater and see which bands people are writing the most about! Two different things. Also you’ll thank us at 10.30pm on day three when you don’t know which band to see next and your brain is fried ;)

Enjoy x

P.S. Here’s another bzzzz I like quite a lot.

Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie