Monday, September 21, 2009

Internet builds business and creates billion-dollar companies
Studying Colbie Caillat’s success


Just discovered a local public relations professional organization I used to belong to had its annual award banquet this past week. I learned about it three days after the fact.

Same thing with the City of Phoenix winning the All American City award in 2009. I found out months after the City won. Only found out because there was a poster in City Hall.

Communications has changed. We are less than 100 days to the second decade of the 21st Century. More people watch television programs on Hulu (over the Internet) than they do on television. People now get their news from television or the Internet, not newspapers.

Yet most marketers perceive press releases as the primary tool for public relations, overlooking 21st Century tools including MySpace, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It seems impossible to view a national news show without them discussing some YouTube video.

How many press releases are receiving the play YouTube is? I looked at one PR firm’s site plugging how much coverage they got in USA Today, New York Times and Oprah, but not one mention of Internet “buzz.” Twentieth Century thinking in the 21st Century. No wonder our economy is in the doldrums. Not so for one 21st Century musician and marketer Colbie Caillat.

Two years ago Caillat released Coco. It went to #5 on Billboard’s Top 200, spending 78 weeks on the charts. Caillat made more than a million dollars on that CD.

Barbara Walters called the Jonas Brothers “two time losers.” She cited the Internet as the thing that created their stardom.

Caillat credits her success to the Internet, specifically MySpace. “I got my start because I grew a fan base on MySpace. [Fans] chose my songs … and they liked my music so much that I became the number one unsigned artist [on MySpace] and got a record deal,” she told Arizona’s College Times.

So, I think people who want to get started, whether it's in their music career, their bands, their acting career or modeling … they can really get their stuff noticed by people around the world and connect with their fans.” (Add business, too.)

AOL says of Caillat, “She posted several of her finished songs on MySpace, although little response was generated until Caillat uploaded a breezy, hook-laden track named "Bubbly." As word of mouth spread, her MySpace page began pulling in a few thousand hits a day; after she had accumulated 6,240 friends.

For four months, Colbie Caillat was MySpace's number one unsigned artist, garnering over 14 million plays in the process. With such an appealing statistic on her résumé, record labels began courting the photogenic singer, and she signed to Universal Republic as her number of online friends surpassed the 100,000 mark.

A month ago Caillat released her sophomore album, Breakthrough. Ashley Tisdale’s sophomore work, Guilty Pleasure, sold less than half her initial CD. Here’s a High School Musical star who’s been on one of Disney’s most popular TV shows as well. Guilty Pleasure only reached #12 with initial sales of 25,000. Tisdale spent more promoting and recording the CD than she earned on first week sales.

How did Caillat’s sophomore effort do? She hit #1 as the debut album, selling 106,000 CDs right out of the box. After three weeks on the chart, Breakthrough is still at #11, something Tisdale never achieve with her second CD.

Run to that agency offering you press releases. Marketing Sociologist has been recommending YouTube and MySpace for half the 21st Century. If you want cutting edge marketing, click the free call Google Voice button on this site.

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