Online Marketing is dead, and Web 2.0 killed it.
Who cares if an album is a featured artist on AOL or Launch or MSN anymore? The pendulum is in the process of swinging so that what ends up getting music in front of people is whether pitchfork or largeheartedboy or buzzgrinder likes it, and whether they have a MySpace page that you can add to profess your love (something I like to call the EgoWeb – the space that people have online that says ‘look at me, this is what I like, arent I so cool?’)
I’m not saying we’ve hit critical mass yet; certainly more people use LiveJournal to gripe about their lives or post naked pictures of themselves, but we’re headed to a place that’s scary for companies that want to have some sort of influence over how their media is presented to the world, and where it can be seen, especially for those specializing in products that aren’t necessarily that blogger-friendly (i.e. Classical music to name one totally random example)
Being on both sides of the fence (as both a blogger and a marketer) it’s a difficult thing to mesh. On one hand, as a consumer I’d put more faith in having someone whose tastes I know mesh with mine recommend something, however on the other hand, there is ever-increasing number of blogs and other individual points-of-presence and no easy way for companies itching to spread their content around to be as relevantly ubiquitous as possible to communicate on a broad scale. This leads to the ‘marketing’ being run by people with no particular interest in bridging the knowledge gap that inevitably will appear when there isn’t an effective way to get new music to people who aren’t lucky enough to get every release a label puts out and so won’t necessarily know when something they might like will appear.
I guess I just wish I had more faith in the populist approach it seems the web is turning slowly toward. As they say, when everything is important, then nothing is important, and the chance of any one thing to rise above the noise gets lower and lower as the number of myspacers and bloggers approaches infinity.
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[Update: talking to mrg led me to this addendum]:
Sure there are influencers, the *coff* Ultragrrls and such, those who always seem to have a handle on the Next Big Thing a year before everyone else, and though those people will always force themselves to get a seat at the table, where is there room for content providers at that pre-posting level anymore? Or is there. Everyone loves to vilify labels, but if you’re a local band from Arkansas who would have been good enough to get signed to the mighty Columbia bulldozer of publicity who would have gotten you on the cover of Spin, does having a MySpace page and getting mentioned on Coolfer really end up having the equivalent impact?
I’m hardly an industry apologist (spend 5 minutes with me talking about how we’re treating our consumers and you can figure that out), but…I think you guys are gonna miss us if we leave.