Warner Brothers Records met with mixed, but generally positive results, when it became the first major record label to ask MP3 blogs to play its music. An article in the New York Times says that Warner Brothers Records hit a sour note in a campaign to promote the band, Secret Machines, to MP3 bloggers. Writer David Gallagher noted “Many bloggers found Warner’s campaign to be clumsy at best, and sneaky at worst.”
But, looking at the posts and message boards in several MP3 blogs, I don’t agree.
Basically, Warner’s PR people made the same pitching mistakes PR people make in general: 1) not bothering to read the medium they are pitching; 2) not forming a relationship with writers they pitch; 3) sending the same pitch to everyone; 4) sending material the blogs don’t cover (see point 1.).
Nonetheless, the majority of the MP3 bloggers were relatively generous toward Warner’s efforts, calling it “pretty good strategy,” and noting that the label has done “cool things” in its marketing.
Related article: PR Lessons of a Clueless Blog Pitch
Anders Pearson of thraxil a popular MP3 blog, said in a post, “I suspect that the WB guy is just testing the waters. In an organization that large, there have got to be at least a couple clued in folks who realize that blogs are a way to get music out to certain demographics that they might not reach otherwise. With a band like the secret machines, it’s a pretty good strategy.
As long as everyone stays honest I don’t have any problem with it. … If you post garbage because the labels are paying you, readers will figure it out and go elsewhere.”
Mark Willett, a contributor to Music for Robots wrote, “We have no idea where this is heading, but it’s nice to have the support of the major labels (take that RIAA!) and to know that we’re not operating in constant fear of being shut down (not that we were).
The label has done cool things with the marketing (like linking directly to iTunes from the artist’s home page, giving away a sampler cd and special cd-r with the download, etc).
We’re glad that mp3 blogs are being recognized as a next step in the marketing ladder. This is also exciting because big labels like this don’t commonly post mp3s — they sometimes have streams, but rarely downloadable content. So this is a new thing for everybody, and it’s pretty exciting.
Matthew Perpetua, who publishes Fluxblog wrote, “I don’t really have any problem with labels sending music to mp3 blogs, and I’ve been getting a lot of records sent to me for a while now, though it seems that less than 10% of it ever actually makes it to the blog.
I applaud the label for embracing the internet and being creative with its marketing, though I do think it was tremendously lame for them to send the song to blogs which have nothing to do with indie/prog rock and to (apparently) post fake praise in the MFR comments box.
If labels seriously want to embrace mp3 blogs as a way of marketing records, then I suggest that they develop relationships with individual blogs rather than treating the lot of us as though we are some kind of monolithic entity
I try to keep this blog focused on my own experience with music, posting music which I am interested in on a day to day basis. The way I see it, finding music that excites me on a record sent to me by a label or artist is just as valid as discovering it via tv/radio/the press, so it’s not a big deal to me.
“You can’t just dive headfirst into a subculture and expect it to bend over backwards to cater to your lame attempt at free advertising,” said Andrew Nosnitsky, a senior at George Washington University who writes about hip-hop on his blog at Cocaine Blunts. Mr. Nosnitsky also mocked Warner for sending a rock track to a hip-hop site.