The New Rhythm of Music PR
Posted: March 16, 2015, 10:10 a.m.
by Mackensie Henderson.
After years of plummeting sales numbers, the music industry has taken to its key players to amass more publicity. Between Justin Timberlake’s success in bringing back vinyl records and Beyoncé’s innovative method of releasing an album, the music industry is attempting to increase its sales through groundbreaking public relations efforts.
Retrograding — don’t believe me, just listen.
Who isn’t busting a move to Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk”? The music industry has gone retro in the past few years; it couldn’t have been a better stratagem. Justin Timberlake is one pop singer who has incorporated the ’20s big-band sound into his music and created a PR campaign out of it. In 2013, Timberlake successfully publicized the sale of vinyl records by hiding signed records of his “20/20 Experience” album throughout various cities in the U.S. Fans scavenged all over the country to find the prized possessions. This PR initiative — along with record labels giving consumers the option to purchase the musician’s album in vinyl form — assisted in generating a 52 percent rise in vinyl record sales.
Let the beat drop
Beyoncé’s secret album drop was a revolutionary PR move. For decades the procedure of promoting an album has been monotonous. Labels promote the album via interviews, spread the word on social media and tease the public with singles on iTunes. Leave it to Queen B to drop her “Beyoncé” album at midnight on Friday, Dec. 13 — without hinting to the public of the release — and break the record for one-week sales on iTunes. She accumulated 617,000 downloads in only three days. Only Beyoncé would have such luck on the unluckiest day of the year. Pair this move with her and husband Jay-Z’s 2014 “On the Run” tour, which grossed more than $100 million, and it’s evident that her PR team is the best in the business.
This strategy has been a trend for a while in the music industry, but recently stars have partnered with refreshment-related companies. Katy Perry has had a long-standing partnership with Pepsi; in 2013, Perry partnered with Pepsi and the MTV Video Music Awards to generate a “tweet-to unlock” campaign. The latest gig included Perry performing the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime show. Other examples of prominent partnerships in the music industry are Taylor Swift’s partnership with Diet Coke and Maroon 5 teaming up with Vita Coco for the 2015 “V” tour.
Though 2014 brought an all-time low in album sales since 1991, one thing remains positive: streaming music accrued more than 78 billion audio streams, and 85.3 billion videos were viewed. It’s safe to assume that the music industry is going to focus its attention on the digital realm in the coming years; online streaming and videos will impact the music industry significantly. With this digital revolution, music industry PR specialists need to come up with cutting-edge campaigns to generate even the slightest spike in sales for 2015.