there was a time back in the noughties when loads of people had gigs in the music industry in traditional areas like product management, sales, and publicity. these days, due to a combination of the recession (which we’ve been told is over despite unemployment still being sky high in places like the u.s. and spain) and the evaporation of the cd market and the disappearance of the music store, most of the people from these departments have been left for dead. but they’ve mostly been pretty adept at reinventing themselves as internet gurus.
can you break an artist on the internet? can you break a film, musician, author on the internet? the answer is still out on this front. in terms of music, the answer is probably ‘no.’
bands and singers need fans. and in order to get the kind of fans who will follow you around the country and pay 50 euros for a frickin t-shirt, you need to find time to get out there and play gigs.
for authors. it’s possible. the answer is ‘maybe.’ stephenie (twilight) meyer initially connected directly with fans through her now defunct myspace page. at its inception, she was great about speaking directly with fans and built strong relationships with her early readers. but she also did readings and book tours. and since music is such an intrical part of her writing her publisher would set up readings in which bands would open. i’m sure these concepts were more about making money for meyers and the publishers rather than placating the fans. but the fans were placated. and meyers presumably got her cut of the door and sold more books.
for a film i think the answer is ‘yes, sometimes.’ films can be discovered online. but marketers (as opposed to marketeers, which would imply that this info is merely for disney schmos) should be cognizant of the phase ‘quality is better than quantity.’ it’s better to have 500 really enthusastic followers on twitter than 2M lax ones like ashton kutcher does. if each follower has 100 fans you have a reach of 50,000. and if each of these people has 100 followers your audience rises exponentially. you are in tweet heaven.
but there’s also such a thing as overkill. which films like ‘snakes on a plane’ suffered from. you can actually build an excellent award-worthy viral marketing campaign and nobody turn up for your film. but it’s the same in the offline world. one of the best marketing campaigns of the 90s was for godzillia. the campaign alone got loads of people out to the theatre opening day. but since the film sucked, WOM immediately killed its boxoffice. but not before roland emmerich made out like a bandit.