What business can learn from
2014 music marketing “disruptions”

Since December, 2013 there have been three “disrupts” in traditional music marketing, changing the way marketing for this industry, and business in general if it is paying attention, will be done.

On December 12, 2013 Beyonce dropped the CD “Beyonce” on iTunes. No fanfare, no television promotions, no radio appearances. Not like a pregnancy as most musical releases are done (see Taylor Swift later in this article). Just boom, here it is on iTunes.

On August 18, 2014, Taylor Swift announced via the Internet a new single, released that day, called “Shake It Off.” She also did something unprecedented in music marketing, releasing the video for the single the same day. (On July 12, 2014, my Tween Music blog noted Swift announced her new CD that day, which most in marketing missed. Link here: http://tweenmusic.blogspot.com/2014/07/taylor-swift-announces-her-2014-cdalbum.html).

To that point in time, music marketers let singles gain airplay, and about a month after release would issue the video to extend the life of the product. Thanks to Swift, videos will now need to be released the same day as dropping a single.

At the August 18 Internet announcement, Swift also announced her new album, “1989,” would be released October 27, 2014, and that preorders were being taken immediately as Swift announced on August 18.

Swift has used the pregnancy method of promoting “1989.” She released two singles before the CD was released, but waited until the last week before “1989”’s release to issue “Out of the Woods” (A song written while she was in a relationship with One Direction’s Harry Styles. The pair had broken up by the time of the song release.).

Swift has use the, pardon the pun, 1989 way of marketing “1989.” Taking to television, radio and press releases. Sadly, instead of zooming to #1 as “Shake It Off” did, “Out of the Woods” debuted at #18, a sad showing for a musician of Swift’s renowned.

What has blocked Swift in the #1 position most of this summer has been a song about being overweight and accepting it. Newcomer Meghan Trainor is a study in business marketing.

On June 2, Trainor released “All About That Bass.” After its June 2 release, it failed to chart until July 26, where it debuted at #84. Not bad for an unknown artist. It wasn’t until September 20, 2014 that Trainor dislodged Swift at the #1 spot, where the song has been for the past six weeks.

This could also be why Swift’s “Out of The Woods,” which Swift said would not be a single, but instead her second single was “Welcome to New York,” released days after “Out of the Woods,” did not immediately zoom to #1.

It appears Trainor has stolen some of Swift’s magic to her image. If an unknown can dislodge the largest music machine since The Rolling Stones, maybe Swift is on the traditional downhill road most artists travel (like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, on and on).

Trainor continued to break music marketing habits. On September 9, 2014, she released a four song EP (extended play from the old days of vinyl). Radio stations jumped on the title track of the EP, “Title” (That was the EP’s title). Radio also jumped on “Dear Future Husband” as another “single.”

October 15, 2014, Trainor released her second singe after “All About The Bass.” A song not on the EP, but another “single,” “Lips Are Movin.” This is unprecedented. She again upended traditional marketing.

While Swift’s “Out of the Woods” charted with it elaborate Internet and traditional marketing ploys, Trainor’s “Lips…”, released about the same time as “Woods” or “New York,” failed to make the charts by the time Swift’s CD was released. Did Trainor not release a video for “Lips” on October 15, a practice Swift standardized about a month earlier?

Online sources report that by October 22, Trainor had sold more than 3-million units of “Bass.” Another source reported her net worth, including those from investments (Trainor released two independent CDs in 2011, “Only 17” and “I’ll Sing With You”), was more than $215-million by the end of September, 2014.