Photography

BIGSOUND 2020

October 12, 2020

BIGSOUND may not have happened in September, and I’m still not allowed to go to Queensland… but I’m super stoked to announce that I’ll be doing not one but two sessions at the virtual BIGSOUND next week with Bolster.

The first session is a Digital Music Marketing Foundations masterclass on Wed. It’s a 60-minute webinar where I’ll investigate how and why audiences discover, engage, spend money and time on music. The session will also review common social media channels, and how to best use these for an effective marketing campaign. I’ve created this particular webinar to be useful for artists, managers, festival/label marketing managers and SMB owners looking to market to music audiences online for the first time. No prior knowledge needed.

The second sessions is a fun A-Z Of Future Music Marketing webinar that I’ll be co-hosting with my Bolster colleague Carl Redwood. We’ll whiz through trends and future tech that we think the music industry should take note of.

More info about my sessions here. Catch ya in the BIGSOUND livestreaming portal next week!

Campaign Thoughts: All Time Low

October 4, 2020

American pop punk band All Time Low just announced a series of live streamed concerts. Almost a year into a pandemic, not that surprising and definitely not innovative. But how they’re rolling it out? *kisses fingers like I’ve just eaten pizza*

The Basement Noise Concert series is ON SALE NOW!Not being able to play shows for you all this year has been…

Posted by All Time Low on Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The band will be performing five live streamed concerts on Saturdays from October to December. The first live stream will be ATL performing their latest album Wake Up, Sunshine in full, and each subsequent concert will be a curated set list from a different band member. Tickets are sold per stream, but fans can also purchase a 5-stream concert pass that gives them a discount and access to special merch.

Here’s why it’s bloody brilliant:

  • Partnering with a different concert promoter in each territory is smart. Just like they would with an IRL concert, working with a promoter allows the band to tap into their resources (e.g. on ground publicist, social media, past purchaser databases, local connections) while also leveraging the cultural equity of the promoter. That last point is especially important. The Aus promoter in this case is Destroy All Lines, a well-loved tour promoter in the metal/punk/hardcore scene with an established following.
  • Rolling out a series of events creates the same excitement and hype as a normal tour. Marketing can use activity and content from the first stream to sell tickets to subsequent nights.
  • Having more than one night also makes it easier for fans to find a time that suits them.
  • The 5-stream concert pass is clever because hardcore fans can and will purchase it to make sure they don’t miss anything cool. The exclusive merch only available to these users is also an ingenious way to incentivise the pass, and fans will definitely use it as a badge of honour to show their level of love. (What? You only got the merch for Rian’s October 24 concert? Check out my merch that I got because I love them enough to watch every single one.)
  • Spreading the 5 dates by two or three weekends apart also means that fans won’t get super bored. If they crammed it into a couple of weekends like an actual tour (e.g. Friday, Saturday and Sunday across two weekends), it’s less likely that people would have tuned in to watch them in succession.
  • Having one show dedicated to playing the whole album from start to finish is a great way to promote the album again. It’s what we would call “PR-able”, and a lot of media coverage for this series has focused on that angle.
  • It’s also a great way to give legs to an album off cycle. Wake Up, Sunshine will definitely see a boost in downloads and streams from this activity.
  • Focusing on individual band members leverages the type of fandom that pop punk audiences tend to have (e.g. forum discussions about which member is your fave) and unlocks many member-specific content opportunities.
  • They’ve listed the streaming series as a tour across sites like Songkick, tapping into those platforms as another marketing touch point.
  • The $20ish price point per stream feels right. It doesn’t devalue their music by giving it away for free, and sits okay considering GA tickets to their 2017 Melbourne concert was at the $100 price point.

Not every artist will be able to roll out a multi-market live stream series, but here are my thought starters for other musicians:

  • Do you really need to undertake your live stream efforts solo? Or can you partner with your label, a trusted promoter (especially outside of your home territory), media partner or venue? You’ll need to split the profits, but will you generate more ticket sales by doing this?
  • Can you run a series? Could you split it up to have themes (perhaps one concert per album or per member, or with themes like Christmas, Halloween and New Year’s)?
  • If your audience size is big enough or you have access to on demand merch production, can you offer special merch items only to attendees?
  • If you’re running a series, are you being realistic about how often they should run? Are they far apart enough that the same users will come back, but regular enough to keep momentum and excitement up?
  • Can you add a PR angle into your message? (E.g. recent album in full, anniversary gig.)
  • Can you offer discounts or merch incentives to attend more than one?
  • Are you using all the marketing avenues you would use to promote an IRL concert (e.g. Facebook events, Songkick)? It’s important to note that almost all of these IRL concert listing sites have pivoted to include virtual events.
  • Do you have a pricing strategy? How do you virtual concert ticket prices sit against your average IRL concert ticket? If it’s more, what extra value are you providing (e.g. pre-concert access, behind-the-scenes previews, interviews, special views) and have you clearly communicated this? If it’s free or less, have you made sure it doesn’t devalue your music?

I have to admit that I was a live stream skeptic in April and May, and didn’t see the point of seeing a shoddy free stream of an artist back then if I could just wait a few more months. But as we find ourselves a year deep into the COVID-19, more elegantly executed live streams really hit that spot 💅

BIGSOUND 2019

September 8, 2019

Another year, another BIGSOUND, another post-BIGSOUND cold 😷 Here’s my annual list of highlights and discoveries in Brisbane with my Bolster fam.

  • Cloudland 1, Paige 0. I smacked myself pretty hard by walking face first into their full length toilet mirrors. (I do this every 👏🏼 single 👏🏼 year.)
  • Johnny Hunter were so excellent that I saw them twice. Thanks to Taylor at Bolster for that suggestion.
  • My BIGSOUND WTF session on how ads are targeted went well. Cloudland is definitely the swankiest place I’ve ever spoken at. Everyone is still convinced that Facebook is illegally listening to their phone conversations to target them. (I might swallow my words if some scandal comes out about them doing this, but no, Facebook does not do this.)
  • Boy Azooga were the only band on my must-see list, and they did not disappoint. Please someone book them for a festival so they can come to Australia again.
  • Other musical highlights: The Dianas, Ainsley Farrel, Stellie, Mojo Juju, Upside Down Head, Electric Fields
  • Espresso martinis are not for me. (Please remind me next time I reach for one.)

Here’s to (an espresso martini-free) BIGSOUND next year!

One Of One

June 24, 2018

One of One is an incredible music blog started by three Melbourne women, with the purpose of shining a spotlight on the wonderful women in the music industry. I’ve been a reader for the past couple of years because it’s absolutely inspirational to see women in the music business kicking goals, especially those that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the past decade.

Sarah Hamilton (ahem, one of those said ladies I’ve had the pleasure of working with) interviewed me for the site last week. Have a read, laugh at my OTT Virgo method of dealing with stress and maybe find out a bit more about what I do all day at Bolster. Someone said my answer to the karaoke question was a cop out. 😏

(If the name One of One sounds familiar, I also went to their absolutely beautiful and empowering International Women’s Day Breakfast earlier this year. Read more about that here.)

YouTube Music

June 23, 2018

YouTube Music has been in Australia for a little while now, but Google just announced a whole revamped music platform recently. Bolster is actually working on a small part of the roll out marketing campaign on local soil, so Nicky (Bolster’s Creative Director) and I went to their YouTube Music launch party in Sydney earlier this week.

The new version of the streaming app is designed to put music discovery at the forefront, playing into the breadth of YouTube Music’s catalogue. More info on YTM here.

(Funny story. Our plane was super delayed so we only ended up being at the actual party for about an hour, but we still managed to say hi to some familiar faces plus watch Amy Shark and Vera Blue. *Shakes fist at Virgin.*)

Happy International Synth Day!

May 23, 2018

Happy International Synth Day from the Bolster team! P.S. Promise I did real work too.

Censorship? Or doing the right thing?

May 16, 2018

Spotify made world news last week with the announcement of their new Hate Content & Hateful Conduct policy:

We love that our platform is home to so much diversity because we believe in openness, tolerance, respect, and freedom of expression, and we want to promote those values through music on our platform.

However, we do not tolerate hate content on Spotify – content that expressly and principally promotes, advocates, or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability.

The Swedish streaming platform has copped some serious heat over this. Surprising to me at first, but I can also see how.

Firstly, it’s truly wonderful to see a big multinational taking a stand and not celebrating shit stains. It absolutely sickens me that Chris Brown still has a career, and that popular convicted women haters are still held on a pedestal in the entertainment business. So many companies and businesses are too scared about the bottom line to be the first to make a stand on controversial issues. (But, of course, okay to do so after others have and are pat on the back. See: American big businesses revoking their NRA discounts, but only after the first few were applauded on social media.)

It feels like a huge victory to see Spotify removing content that incites violence, and not using their promotional tools like daily mixes and RapCaviar to further the careers of these ‘hateful’ individuals. This feels like a middle finger to a system that has failed so many of us, women like my friends and me who have tried to get help for sexual assault and misconduct IRL but seen absolutely zero action. But it also brings up so many questions:

  • Is it the place of the content provider to be the censor? Is that a job for curators and media outlets (e.g. the triple js and NMEs of the world)? Or does Spotify’s features (custom daily mixes, playlists with giant followings, similar artists suggestions) almost turn the DSP into a curator as well? And how is Spotify facing heat over this, when book publisher Simon & Schuster got good press for cancelling their deal with the very racist, lesbian-hating Milo Yiannopoulos?
  • And regardless of who is doing the censorship… where do we draw the line? Do we say holding women against their will in a cult-like sex dungeon is bad (R. Kelly) but flashing your genitals to a fellow performer is okay (Louis C.K.)? Or does it depend on how outraged Twitter is?
  • It just so happens that this policy matches my political views… what happens if a different content provider swings the other way? Say if a pro-NRA eBook service decides to remove all literature around gun control? Is that okay?
  • Should we, and can we even, separate art from the artist? (I’d say no. Author-centred view, anyone?)
  • No man is an island, and most pieces of musical work are not recorded and put up by a single person. Is it fair to remove Lostprophets’ music from Spotify because of Ian Watkins’ truly atrocious crimes? Even though the rest of the band have publicly denounced him and Watkins has been sentenced to 30 odd years behind bars?
  • What about official channels of punishment? If a person (famous or otherwise) commits a hate crime, should we leave this with the authorities to convict and sentence as appropriate? Why is it up to content providers to take action?
  • When does this become trial (or Spotify censorship) by media? The #MuteRKelly campaign definitely gave this a helping hand, in the same way that Weinstein being fired from his own company was very much because of the traction that the #MeToo movement had.
  • What about reform? If an artist commits a heinous crime, serves out the sentence, grows up, learns the errors of their ways… can they never ever release music again? Is this an old school and barbaric way of thinking?

They’ve rolled out the reporting button already (check it out below) and have removed R. Kelly’s music from all their curated playlists. A slew of suggestions for other ‘hateful’ individuals have been rolling in and it’ll be interesting to see where they go from here.

As Spotify themselves noted:

These are complicated issues… We’ll make some mistakes, we’ll learn from them.

 

Screenshot_20180516-221506_Spotify

Past Paige Advice & CHANGES

May 15, 2018

Googled myself today (yes, truly) to find out what year I was on a panel for Face The Music, and came across this blast-from-the-past article that the wonderful Mel Lewis wrote for FasterLouder.

It’s a little breakdown of the advice that Jaymz Clements (my former Beat Mag editor), Rebekah Campbell, Alicia Moreau, Dylan Liddy and dished out, including:

When Cho receives a press release, she wants to see a “call to action” and an effort on the bands part to make the publicist’s job easier. Clear indication of contact details, links to concise collections of information and media (photographs, music etc), the offer to forward better pics, more albums, posters, what have you, all go a long way. Communication about your event should be tailored into two streams: direct communication (to your existing fanbase getting them on board to support the event) and indirect communication (aimed at media outlets who you are hoping to secure publicity support from). She added that bands constantly leave marketing to the last minute, or don’t factor it in at all.

Eight years later and this advice still completely makes sense! And so many artists, promoters and festivals still get this wrong.

On the topic of Face The Music… very excited to be working on The Push‘s new music industry event, CHANGES. The Bolster team have been working hard on the shit hot website and gorgeous video assets, and I’m working on the digital advertising side of things. See you in July!

F8 Announcements

May 10, 2018

Facebook introduced some pretty swanky new features at its ninth F8 conference last week. Watch Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote below, or torture yourself with hours of other official event footage here.

Or just Google ‘Facebook F8 announcements’ to see what media outlets are saying, because we all know brevity is not one of Facebook’s strengths.

Here are some random thoughts about just a handful of this year’s announcements.

FACEBOOK MESSENGER TRANSLATIONS

This is actually pretty incredible. Facebook is rolling out chat translations in its messenger app. We can literally chat to anyone in the world (who has Facebook Messenger, a charged phone, an internet connection, thumbs to write something inane etc. etc.).

I’m actually surprised this is the first time a big tech company has done this. I also wonder if Zuckerberg has heard about the Tower of Babel.

SMARTER BOTS

Facebook has also promised to improve its messenger bots by integrating its NLP (natural language processing) into the app to help bots understand what us mere humans are trying to ask.

Should have seen me try to unsuccessfully schedule in reminders on Blink the Bee a few weeks ago. For the love of god, JUST REMIND ME TO CALL MY GRANDMOTHER ON WEEKENDS.

INSTAGRAM VIDEO CHATS

Right now you can actually send a short video message via Instagram Stories directly to someone. But it’s kind of weird. Do this to me and you will only ever get a text reply back.

Anyway, Instagram is encroaching on Snapchat’s territory even further by rolling out vid chats on their platform too.  Sliding into someone’s DMs just got a hell of a lot riskier. 😏

3D PHOTOS

Not sure how this will actually play out, but this feature will mash up 2D photos with Facebook’s VR and 3D photo technology to integrate your old photos into real life. I think.

Facebook’s take on people superimposing or photographing iconic album covers with their original locations?

SHARING NEW CONTENT ONTO INSTA STORIES

This one has me pretty excited. You can share content from Spotify (read: all the hot songs I’m enjoying rn), GoPro and Soundcloud straight into Instagram stories.

Screenshot_20180510-222812_Instagram

CLEAR HISTORY

Facebook also announced a ‘clear history‘ feature, its equivalent of deleting your history on a web browser. This was definitely a proactive step in light of its data woes, and it’ll be interesting to see the average consumer’s take on this. Better content and advertising on your news feed vs. privacy. You pick.

FACEBOOK DATING

And finally, can we talk about Facebook’s dating feature? It’ll let you be ‘open’ to connecting friends of friends. My friends have attractive friends who are not yet my friends. Keen.

Industry Connect Masterclass For QMusic

May 3, 2018

Next stop… Toowoomba!

Headed to the Queensland in July to host a QMusic masterclass on social media and digital marketing for musicians. Here’s what I’ll be making some pretty PowerPoint slides to:

A transforming music industry landscape, hand in hand with a social revolution, has made the role of content and brand crucial. In an overcrowded and distracted social space how do you build an authentic brand across multiple social media platforms during and outside of release cycles? Click Here will provide you with the know-how to build your online presence and be visible in a saturated market.

Nirkio McLure (GM of Wonder Music Co.) will also be running a masterclass on the day, unlocking the secrets of the often misunderstood album release cycle.

Read more, RSVP and laugh at my weird press shot here.

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