Music

Post-Splendour Report

July 29, 2016

Current feels:

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Not complaining though… Splendour was a great chance to meet a bunch of Bolster clients in person (especially those based in Sydney), plus check out some of the bands we look after.

When I told Violent Soho‘s manager that the last time I saw them was at Ding Dong (guess how long ago that was), he laughed and assured me that their stage production had improved a tiny bit. He was correct:

SOHO SO GOOD πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ @violentsoho4122 side of stage at #sitg2016

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

Other highlights were Flume, who we’re working on both via his label and for touring:

@flumemusic = βœ¨πŸŒ πŸŽ† #SITG2016

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

And The Cure, who we don’t work on but I have just obsessed over since I was an overly romantic teenager:

The moment my heart exploded with happiness 😍😍😍 The Cure at #SITG2016

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

Also all hail the weather gods for not bringing us any rain, just lovely sunshine.

🌴🌴🌴🌊🌊🌊

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

This Is Why I Can’t Have Pets

July 2, 2016

So happy to announce that Darts will be heading over to Sydney next month for Volumes Festival. Looking forward to watching Nicholas Allbrook, Royal Blackouts, Rainbow Chan and Terrible Truths.

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And from there, my year will be Splendour In The Grass (yes, hello, come at me), BIGSOUND in September, and then Queensland again in summer. This is why I can’t have nice (furry) things (with names and feelings and expensive vet bills).

If you’re also flying to the east coast for SITG or BIGSOUND, hit me up so we can share a coconut water and secrets. Or just coconut water.

Types Of Music Consumers

May 22, 2016

Was reading through the April/May issue of ad rag B&T and came across this little consumer-themed DIY paper fortune teller:

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Nice touch, hey? I remember doing these in primary school but can’t actually remember what we wrote on this inside. Especially since I spent all eleven years of school in single sex institutions, so there was no crushing on boys for me!

The B&T paper fortune teller was not about high school heart throbs, but rather types of consumers. These were the possible choices:

  • The Troll – a.k.a. every brand’s worst nightmare, a.k.a. dicks, a.k.a. arseholes with too much time
  • The Researcher – weirdos like me who watch YouTube videos of people using stuff before I buy it
  • The Social Crusader – charity/brand partnerships were made for these kinds of folks
  • The Bargain Hunter – zombies you see lining up outside MYER at 4am on Boxing Day
  • The Pragmatist – sensible people
  • The Anti-Consumer – ad blockers are like water to these peeps (read: 100% necessary)
  • The Shopaholic – new stuff now, all day, err’day
  • The Loyalist – hardcore brand advocates (or maybe too lazy to stray)
  • (Side note – I think this is also missing a new type of consumer… Users who purchase/use items for prestige and how it’ll make them look on social media. You have no idea how many times I’ve been at brunch and my fellow diners order certain food because it’ll Instagram better. But I get there’s only space for 8 consumers. And also this is a joke thing they printed in their magazine and I’m probably the only person who actually cut it out. Okay, byeee.)

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Cute gimmick, but made me think about how marketing music as a product is so different to other industries. (NB when I say music as a product, I’m referring to an experience like recorded music and live music, whether it’s a music video, album on vinyl, Spotify stream, festival or concert. Not so much things like purchasing guitars, mixing software, piano lessons or rehearsal studios.)

You can’t apply these consumer stereotypes when it comes to something so subjective and wildly personal as experiencing music. There’s no such thing as a Bargain Hunter, unless you maybe count jerks who illegally download music. The Researcher doesn’t really exist with music, because you can read a thousand reviews about an album, but you physically need to listen to it to decide if it floats your boat.

When I think about the different music consumers I’m trying to target for a campaign, I imagine them less as archetypes and more as varied individuals who sit on different points along three different spectra. And where a single music fan is on these scales depends on what the music product is (e.g. a guy who goes to Meredith without fail but needs at least three bands he likes to consider Splendour, but will Instagram the shit out of both festivals if he’s there). These are:

Fans ←→ Not Invested

Fans are the folk we all love… Those gorgeous people who frantically refresh the ticketing page of their favourite festival when tickets go on sale (regardless of lineup), or folk who pre-order an album three months before it’s released. Not invested people aren’t haters, they just need a lot more than a name to get them to commit to a music product. Fans generally give us higher CTRs and lower CPCs. Not invested people can sometimes eat up advertising budgets because they need so much convincing.

Trendsetters ←→ Slow Burners

Think of music nerds who love discovering new music via Paul Lester or Indie Shuffle, compared to peeps who need to hear a song on Triple J daily for two months before they like it, or need all their friends to be going to a festival before they land a ticket for themselves as well. I think social media advertising works better on slow burners than publisher advertising because they can see if their mates are interacting with a band/festival on that platform. Stats-wise for slow burners, think targeting groups that clock up high frequency scores.

Vocal ←→ Silent

Regardless of where consumers sit on the above two scales is unrelated to how vocal they are about music. Some people will tweet about new albums (even if they hate it, or maybe especially if they hate it), tag themselves at music festivals and Instagram pictures of what’s spinning on their record player that moment. Silent characters just go about their music consumption without involving other people. Dollars from both types of consumers are great, but vocal consumers are more likely to act as brand advocates and take part in activations. Silent consumers also tend to just click on website links on Facebook advertising without also liking or commenting on the post.

Maybe I’m just thinking about things too much, but I definitely find it useful to figure out who I’m trying to reach and at what times. For example, no point targeting hardcore fans during week three of a campaign because they’ve probably already dropped some cash on whatever it is I’m trying to get them to look at.

Shoot me an email if you know how I can put three scales on a paper fortune teller ;)

Two Years Ago, Same Story?

May 14, 2016

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Life goes around in circles. Yesterday’s ON THIS DAY feature on Facebook reminded me that two years ago, the music industry was concerned about how community radio would hold up with potential funding cuts that never (fully) eventuated.

Yet here we are again, two federal budgets down the road with the same fears. I woke up this morning to an email from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia with the subject line “Urgent Action Tonight!” (More about their #KeepCommunityRadio petition here.) All week, my Facebook news feed was flooded with angry posts from band manager friends about Sounds Australia not getting funding (more from ABC News here on that) and then some slight relief about a funding update they posted on their Facebook page:

I am by no means an expert on federal budgets or politics. But I am a musician and I do work in the music industry, with most of my friends also getting their paychecks from this line of work. This threat to jobs and opportunities gives me lots of feels regarding the government, and they aren’t warm or fuzzy. (This isn’t even including how I feel about the government’s lack of investment in science since the Liberal party took over. But that’s a whole other story.)

As The Conversation wrote: “It’s hardly ‘the most exciting time’ to be in an Australia run by a government that is deliberately dumbing down its people.” Full post where that quote came from here, plus another piece on The Conversation here, both with thoughts from arts academics on what these cuts mean (although more skewed to theatre, art and photography rather than music). More music-specific piece on Tone Deaf here, and Catalyst from The Guardian here.

There is a particular Winston Churchill anecdote that my mind keeps circling back to. The British PM was famously asked about cutting money to the arts to fund the war effort (accuracy, debatable), to which he replied, “Then what are we fighting for?”

13 Things I Learnt In Canada

May 10, 2016

Just landed back in Melbourne after a phenomenal 29 hours of travelling back home after 10 days in Canada with Darts. Here are a few things I learnt while being in the land of the Canucks for Canadian Music Week.

Canada, byeeeee πŸπŸπŸπŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹πŸ‘‹ #DartsInCanada

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

1. Canadian Music Week was an awesome experience, and everyone we met was incredible. Thanks to everyone who came to one of our showcase gigs.

Thank you, @thegreathall ✊✊✊ #CMW #DartsInCanada

A photo posted by We are DARTS. (@dartsmusic) on

2. If you’re a vegetarian, United will just serve you reheated curry, bread and butter regardless of what meal it is. Everyone else got pancakes or omelettes for brekkie but I got curry, curry and more curry. Curry. I love Indian food but fuck, I don’t think I can touch curry for at least a month now.

3. Dilly Dally are incredible live.

4. Black Lips are also incredible live. Heart eyes for days.

5. Playing three Darts showcases gigs in one day = lots of taxis and eating tiny meals at weird times.

6. Canadian museums are glorious. Managed to get to the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, plus The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Nerding out 🐚🐚🐚

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

7. Men in Toronto and Melbourne dress completely differently. (Hint: skinny leg jeans.)

8. TSA love smashing locks.

9. Montreal is a city after my heart.

Vieux-Montréal 😍😍😍 am totally in love with Montreal.

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


10. Canadians are really, really, really good at making French toast.

11. Dirty, melting spring snow is still super exciting to an Australian.

SNOW! ❄❄❄ This is what Spring in Canada looks like.

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

12. Customs officers will laugh when you declare a food list that contains: maple syrup, maple tea, maple bacon fudge, maple popcorn and maple cookies. This happened to me in Australia and the States.

I think this is a Canadian OREO? πŸπŸπŸπŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ #DartsInCanada

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

13. The Los Angeles > Melbourne flight is the 23rd longest non-stop commercial passenger route currently in use in the world. This made me feel better for feeling like a whiny person trying to sleep on a plane. But at least the Dreamliner plane is not the worst place to spend 15 hours on.

All #CMW shows done. G’night 🌜 #DartsInCanada

A photo posted by We are DARTS. (@dartsmusic) on

Canada: Getting Real

April 21, 2016

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Can’t believe I’ll be in Canada NEXT WEEK. It’s getting real. Details for our Canadian Music Week showcases above. Come hang out, watch me do my resting bitch face thing in a whole new country. Stoked!

UPDATE: Our set at The Great Hall is now at 8pm!

How Australian consumers do… stuff

April 10, 2016

Recently stumbled across Google’s Consumer Barometer Tool, and its Graph Builder. Essentially you pick some filters:

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And then check out the questions to get data for your audience! Annoyingly there are a few issues with the MUSIC filter… It doesn’t explain what counts as a MUSIC product purchase (not mentioned in their methodology but I’m guessing anything from a $0.99 iTunes single to a $400+ SITG ticket, but does it include things like instrument apps, metronome apps, instruments from eBay, sheet music etc.?) and that some questions don’t have enough responses from MUSIC users to have any data!

That aside, it’s a pretty cool insights tool, and probably works a dream if you’re in the US or a clothing retailer in Australia. Check it out here, and below are a few things I found interesting if you are too lazy to have a dig around:

  • Music was the second most watched video genre watched by users in their last session, with 28% of all Aussies (note: without the MUSIC filter) surveyed saying yes to this. Comedy was king at 29%, and TV shows sat at 23%. Everything else including beauty & fashion, health/fitness/exercise, how to videos and the like trailed far behind.
  • Users were more likely to watch videos in the evening regardless of the day of the week… Definitely something to note when advertising video content or with YouTube advertising on a limited budget.
  • Australians who purchased music last were slightly more likely to have heard of the product through advertising (14%) compared to all Australian purchases regardless of type (12%).
  • The MUSIC filter also worked on the question, ‘On what type of website did people make their online purchase?’ Stats below… I’m assuming download portal means iTunes, Bandcamp and the like. What really surprised me was that more of the users purchased from the record label over a record shop, but it should be noted that the survey pool on this Q was a measly 200 users. Hardly accurate for consumer behaviour of all Aussies but interesting nonetheless.

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April 5, 2016

All the stars aligned over the last week and I ended up having mad whisky-fulled chats about the music industry with a bunch of former Shock Records peeps, a British A&R guy and an American tour manager about the general shape of the music industry. Interestingly the Brit and the Yank both mentioned how supportive and healthy the music industry is down under, particularly the wealth of grants and scholarships on offer in this fine country. They both also mentioned how talented our bands are because OF COURSE THEY ARE (the name Kevin Parker always gets said).

It’s perfect timing then for Music Australia’s new stats around the music industry in Aus and its positive impact on the nation’s economy (gotta love them numbers). More importantly, Music Australia also had a look at the potential of our local music sector and what it could achieve with a bit more government support.

Things that stuck out to me:

  • 36 of the top 100 ARIA albums of 2014 were by Australian acts. Would be interesting to see similar stats for other countries and see how other nations compare (apart from the UK and the US where locals probably dominate sales).
  • 263 homegrown bands showcased internationally through Sounds Australia (Darts to be in that figure somewhere in a couple of years *self-conscious cough*).
  • More Australians attend music-related events that sports.
  • Every gold coin put into the local music business circulates $3 back into the Aussie economy. (I don’t know how that sorcery works but fucking sounds good.)

Also the results show that I am one of 37, 652 full-timers in Australia’s music sector. Pretty neat, huh? For some reason I thought there only about 10K of us.

Full report here and Music Australia’s blog post breakdown about what this all means here (including why we need to protect our fantastic live music scene since incomes are heavily skewed towards live vs. recorded music).

Pandora, Pause Fest & Being Single

February 20, 2016

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Had the pleasure of working on the digital advertising side of things for Pause Fest this year through Bolster Digital, and ducked out of the office to check out a few sessions too on the Friday (cheeky face + pass above).

If you’ve never heard of PF (?!) it’s the premier creative tech conference/expo/festival in Australia. Think seven days of workshops, talks, networking, expos, masterclasses, screenings, interactive events and more across technology, digital, creative, innovation and business in Melbourne.

I went down to check out the start up expo (bumped into a few ex-Collabforge buddies promoting their startup!) as well as listen to a few of the Business Day talks. The most interesting talk was Pandora’s Jane Huxley discussing music streaming in the creative economy. Here are some interesting tidbits I picked up from Jane’s talk:

  • Pandora is essentially a data company. The company uses the music genome project to describe/classify/group any piece of music using over 450 music genes. Pandora also uses insights from plays, similar acts, geographic location of listeners who ‘thumb up’ tracks etc. to help artists/labels make important decisions (the same could be said about Spotify insights, iTunes Connect data, mailing list info and Facebook audience insights too… which most bands sadly don’t use to their advantage).
  • There’s a huge difference between having music obsessives (ahem, me) and non-music fans as the end consumer. Pandora has never hugely appealed to me because I’m psycho when it comes to what I listen to… Like all music nerds, I have a few rituals such as listening to at least two new albums each Friday and putting songs on playlists depending on what colour scheme I hear when I listen to it. The crowded on demand streaming market includes the likes of Spotify, Deezer, formerly Rdio, the soon-to-be-gone JB Hi-Fi Now, the maybe-soon-to-be-gone Tidal, and Rhapsody. All geared for types like me. Pandora, on the other hand, are for people who enjoy music and want it playing for whatever reason (workouts, in the office, for dinner parties) but are passive listeners. These users want their chosen platform to pick music for them, and that’s where the music genome project comes in handy. Pandora uses mathematical algorithms to queue up songs that have a similar musical fingerprint to the song that just preceded it. This is like next level ‘related artists‘, hey?
  • Pandora work with three types of users. (Users is probably the wrong word but hear me out.) 1. BANDS who can use insights to push their music out to fans (see: next dot point on list). 2. FANS who use Pandora to discover new music they may dig thanks to the magic that is the music genome project. 3. Non-music BRANDS who can use bands as a way to find new consumers.
  • “Recorded music is the business card of the musician.” Direct quote from Jane, but pretty sure I’ve said similar things less eloquently in the past. Jane used Odesza as a recent example, with the band using Pandora to promote a Pandora-specific presale (Pandora blog post about it here).

You can follow Jane on Twitter here. And… I don’t have Pandora but I am a huge Spotify advocate so feel free to follow my many bizarro playlists here.

P.S. For a festival that ran over Valentine’s Day weekend, I feel like my one-day pass for the Business conference was very fitting as a single lady.

Oh, Canada!

January 11, 2016

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So excited that I finally announce that Darts are going to Canada to play at Canadian Music Week in May!

I went to Canada very briefly (about 24 hours) when I was an awkward fourteen-year-old, so my only memories of Canada are: being moist at Niagara Falls, getting stranded because Buffalo Airport and… South Park. Pic of us sound checking at Howler by Timothy Casten.

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