Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Facebook Analytics Tools - Not Good Enough

Before I begin, let me just go on the record and say that I am a big fan of Facebook, and in particular, the potential that Facebook has unlocked for brands online. Years ago, companies would kill for the sort of interaction and engagement that a Facebook fanpage offers. And this is why I'm so annoyed with them at the moment. Because they give with one hand, and stifle with another.

Sure, you can now measure post impressions and engagement per post (although there are still doubts over it's effectiveness) - but what good is this data if the original insights reports you give us are soooo slow?

The brand that I work for require weekly reports. At the moment, I am waiting for Facebook to even get started on crunching last week's data. That is over seven days, and that in my opinion is not acceptable.

If Facebook want to hive off user information, and prevent other companies from exploiting them, then that's fair enough (I'd hate to think that my every utterance was being tracked and marketed to). BUT like it or not, brands have big presence on Facebook, and they deserve proper analytics tools that work. And it should be their priority, rather than pissing off their millions of users.
So in short: FACEBOOK - Give us some tools we can use.

Add to this another misfiring analytics tool (which I won't name at this moment), and we have the ingriedients for a very pissed-off Social Media Coordinator. And whilst we're on this subject - anybody got a better name for somebody who works in Social Media? It's starting to get really overblown and pretentious, and I want something that doesn't use the words Social Networking or Media. Any ideas?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The A&R Man

What is this closer to - reality or fiction?

A little from column A, and a little from column B I think...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Backyard Recordings - Realising The Value of Free Content.

An interesting email dropped into my inbox on Thursday from a PR company. I'm pretty used to them, as I have been writing about music for quite a few years now, but this one was different to the other ones that send links to albums, singles and suchlike. It was not only offering me a copy of the single to review ('Love Harder' by Ali Love), but also to share with the readers of my blog, free of charge.

That's right - the lead track from the release. Totally free.

It's an interesting, bold and applaudable approach from the record label in question (Backyard Recordings). Being media-savvy, they realise that by looking on the blogosphere that building a buzz on an artist doesn't necessarily mean just soundless, preachy and frequently badly-written reviews of the single. That in my (and their) opinion doesn't constitute best use of social media/blog platforms.

Rather, they understand the best way to build buzz is to let people share and enjoy the artist's music. They will be repaid in purchases of gig tickets, of the various remixes on offer, and the best form of reviewing in this tech-savvy world - people commenting on how much they like a track.

Online music journalism the likes of Drowned in Sound and Pitchfork specialise in are a dying breed - outdated, faceless and self - important. People want to have a recommendation, then make up their own mind. Good music will always out.

Speaking of which, here is the single and download. Enjoy!

Sunday, 3 January 2010


If 2009 was the year that companies of all shapes and sizes started playing around with social media. 2010 is the year where things get serious.

The biggest challenge by far facing anybody in the music industry is how we can make best use of the social networking tools available to us. In the past, it has been a great promotional tool, and more recently it has been harnessed to take customer service to the next level - I use my companies Facebook and Twitter pages to not only talk to fans about upcoming releases, features and sharing user-generated content, but also to gauge response and deal with any queries and issues they may have. It's stating the obvious, and many people have said this before, but I'd much rather have people having a moan on our official pages than going elsewhere.

But with Dell making a ridiculous amount of money through their Twitter account, the CEO's of music industry will be looking to these companies, and then looking at their own online operations, and asking 'Why aren't we making that much?'. It's a valid question, but not one that is easy to answer.

The campaign to get Rage Against The Machine to number one at Christmas was a real eye-opener (whatever you may think of it) on how social media can be harnessed to directly drive record sales. But that was a one-off campaign - can this formula be applied to a four, maybe five single + album campaign without pissing off your audience?

Setting up a revenue stream though social networks has to be the priority for 2010, and not just in a BUY ME! Sense. We need to be intuitive, and find out what our fans are willing to pay for, and what they are not willing to pay for. This may prove to be uncomfortable reading, but maybe we just need that punch in the face verified, so both parties can move on and find new ways of doing business (a dirty word, I know).

The punch in the face in question? The world saying 'We don't want to pay for digital downloads anymore'.

The solution? Well, if you've read this blog before you know my thoughts on the subject (people don't want to pay for music anymore, but they will pay for premium experiences and product), but let's see what the rest of the industry comes up with in the coming months.

Happy 2010!