Lynne d Johnson



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02.08.06 11:39 PM

how to market a music artist in the now

last month i was supposed to attend MIDEM in Cannes to sit on a panel in the Electronic & Urban Workshop called "Get a Buzz Started - Reach your Community!"

The description of the panel was: "A release is no longer enough. Working on building a community has become a great launching pad. By developing a tribe and creating a unique visual identity to illustrate specific values, an artist can appeal to a specific audience. Find out how to reach small communities, create and manage a network. Alongside more traditional community spaces such as clubs, unconventional community tools have sprouted: weblogs and virtual communities can now help conquer a community."

Unfortunately due to unforseen circumstances I could need attend. But had I attended, I would have definitely used Lupe Fiasco as an example. The marketing that has been put into motion for his release is awesome. He's on the cover of Fader and listed as a Vibe Next artist, mainly on the strength of his Kanye West and Jay-Z affiliations.

Yet what I think is more impressive than the crew he runs with are the web marketing efforts put into play for his release. The guerilla street team-like approach to marketing this artist and his mixtapes works are of the community building aspect, and I think it's definitely going to be a win. He's already garnered quite a following over at lastfm.

There's no final album yet, and Atlantic has basically put up a site that is nothing more than an audio player, serving as a test marketing tool for the artist. The site has a big push for community, prompting users to become his friend through his myspace page. On his site there's even an audio message from Lupe and a big play at developing message board fanaticism, with threads started by Lupe himself (or more likely an intern posing as Lupe).

Of course we're not downplaying the 3-part mixtape series Fahrenheit 1/15 and what a mixtape push can do for the marketability of an artist before an album is released (50 showed us the blueprint for that one), but nowadays mixtapes, crew affiliations, and releases with simple marketing plans just don't make the cut. We've seen how the blogging community can often aid the making or breaking of an artist's career, but it's just now that the labels are catching on to this. They're retaining these web marketing gurus to hit up bloggers directly with mixtapes and mp3 samples, as part of their overall marketing plan.

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