It’s no surprise that consumers are listening to music differently these days. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (via eMarketer), “Industry revenues from digital music formats grew 14 percent in 2012 from the previous year. RIAA notes that the bulk of digital revenue came from access models – services in which users have access to a music library catalog, rather than purchase individual songs or albums.”
This begs the question: if the music fan is moving from a “music ownership” state of mind to a desire for all out music access 24/7, how do brands fit in or even engage with such listeners?
Here are five considerations for brands to remember when looking to engage with today’s music fan:
1. Fish where the fish are
In a fragmented music market, it’s essential that brands meet consumers in their native music-listening environments. For the fourth quarter of 2012, The NPD Group reports: “Pandora and other subscription-based and free Internet radio services accounted for nearly one quarter (23 percent) of the average weekly music listening time among consumers between the ages of 13 and 35.” Other forms of music consumption include AM/FM radio, digital files, on-demand, CDs and more. And don’t forget about NPD’s reported 56 percent of U.S. smartphone owners who listen to music via mobile. Although opportunities for brands to engage music listeners are vast, brand-plays on music streaming services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and Spotify are ripe for consideration.
2. Do some sensory research
Although brands must first ensure that targeting music fans makes sense for business, we’re also talking literal “senses” too. Music is not just about entertainment value, it’s an emotional experience that can be a point of pride and even self-expression. Brands need to research what their target music listeners want, and how they best receive their musical fix. Forget pushing products right out of the gate and get a feel for the target market’s passion, listen to their playlists, go see a live show, taste (and smell) the festival food. Perhaps the brand will even discover its own music identity in the process.
3. Gain listeners for the long haul
Music fans are just like you and I; they’re shower singing, toe tapping individuals who put their pants on one leg at a time (most days). Engagement with them is as simple as finding a common musical interest and committing to staying in touch. They love discovering and sharing music, so brands shouldn’t hesitate to let fans know they value their musical tastes.
4. Add a “wow” factor
The music scene can be loud in more ways than one, and getting a brand to stand out among the crowd can seem like quite a hurdle. Don’t be discouraged! The next best thing could be right under your nose. Creatively leveraging sponsorships, partners and social media can do wonders.
5. Practice what you preach
If your brand is looking to communicate with music fans, keep an arsenal of knowledge about the music industry in your back pocket. There’s nothing worse than a big talker. Stay up to speed on what’s happening in the music industry, participate in conversations on social and attend a plethora of shows of course!