So as you may know we’ve been pretty busy attending a few conferences these days. This year we were lucky enough to be sponsored by A2IM’s Trade Mission Program to go to MIDEM in Cannes, France. The trade show, which is billed as the leading international business event for the music ecosystem, has been held since 1967. Several thousand musicians, producers, agents, managers, lawyers, executives, entrepreneurs and journalists from around the globe regularly attend the event, which is usually held at the end of January or early February. This year we where glad to have met the charming and witty, Claire Mas, Head of Digital for Communion Music Group, in her the panel “Looking Ahead: Exploring New Digital Trends and their Accompanying Tools.”
In our new Music Biz 101 interview series, we’ll be connecting with key industry professionals to get the best tips and knowledge allowing you to grow your brand and learn the in’s and outs from the experts. As the Head of Digital for Communion, Claire Mas, brings great insight on how to develop new acts and learning how artists should develop their brands with the tools in our in current digital landscape.
In your opinion, what are vital elements to developing a brand’s social voice?
I think bands and artists need to get comfortable in their skin and their opinions and have a long sit-down with their manager and have that conversation. Something not quite as cheesy a brand bible but a list of what you want to stand for and how you articulate and communicate that to the world. Sometimes it’s easier starting with what you don’t want to stand for and then through a process of elimination you get closer to what you like. If it’s a band it’s good to decide who is the personality of the band or what is the joint personality everyone is comfortable with and who will be communicating it.
The easiest artist to market are the ones that stand for something really defined. It makes everyone’s life a lot easier.
In your opinion, what’s the key to garnering passionate fans? Hopefully kick ass music. I think you either have to have mind blowing, game changing, critical acclaimed, taste maker approved music and you can do whatever you like. Or you have to have great music and either a great communication skills or a strong work ethic or preferably both. There is a lot of noise; give your listeners something to grasp onto and to keep hold of. In general I find artists just don’t have strong work ethic. I wish it wasn’t a true cliché but it is. What tips do you have for connecting with those superfans in genuine and effective ways that maximize their fan experience and your income? Do a Taylor Swiftmas. Identify who your super fans are. Spend time getting to know stuff about them so when you meet them or they interact with you, you can say something more meaningful then just THANKS. Send personalised thank yous. Send them things in advance. The whole lot. Word of mouth is one of your most powerful marketing allies especially in music. Many more of my music discoveries came from my friends then they did from Facebook advertising. What tips do you recommend for getting to know your audience and be able to predict the type of content you should be creating? I’ve messaged some above – but most of your fans will have social media accounts. Do some creeping. Invite some over for lunch. Ask them what they love. Chat to them at gigs. Always run over after a gig to sell your own merch. Listen and listen some more.
In an era of some much material being pushed to fans, what are basic recommendations for fan engagement?
Make more video content. Whether it’s for Facebook native video, Twitter native or to develop your YouTube channel. And now, of course, Snapchat as well. Make more interesting video content. Apps like Hyperlapse by Instagram can be helpful to make cheap video content.
Biggest social media pet peeve?
That you believe people MUST be aware of and just stop it already!
Call-to-actions without links. Or, even more annoyingly, call-to-action links that don’t work in all geography, devices and platforms of choice. People are trying to engage with you and in respond and you give them a broken link: what a turn-off.
What brands in the music industry do YOU respect and are really impressed with?
I think both Arcade Fire and The National are great online. Beyonce is pretty epic too.
In your book, what are best practices when blogging and creating posts?
Gosh. Blogging doesn’t have so many rules. Its more a free flow place for artist to express themselves. I guess one thing to remember is people have very little time or patience so keep it short or well structured.
Google Plus: yea or nay? Why?
I’d love to say yay, but nay. Engagement is very very low.
What recommendations would you give artist today with this plethora of platforms and things to worry about other than just making music?
I do think an artist’s career is very demanding. You need to be mastering your art but also be interesting online and make efforts with your fans and be charming in interviews. And yes, it is a lot. But if you look at all passion professions: sport, theatre, dancing, etc., The people who make it to stardom are fully committed and incredibly hard-working. So I think understanding that you need to be that dedicated and not complain about it is really important for an artist. Then you need to find your identity and be comfortable in it. Then you need to find a team that gets your identity and is excited about it and who you can trust. But at the start I’d say stick to two to three platforms and make them really great. Worry about the rest later.