For the first installment of Blog Rodeo, host CountryMusicNewsBlog asks “What are we really looking forward to in 2013?”. My answer: Country music fans truly embracing social media!
Over the award show and tour seasons through 2012 we saw artists, news outlets, and record companies dabble with social media sites, trying to figure out that magic formula that pop music seems to have down to a science. We’ve seen award shows and televised performances with twitter hashtags displayed throughout the broadcast. We followed along as Jana Kramer used Instagram to build a buzz about her album release through photo challenges. We’ve gotten to know the sass and crass of artists like Blake Shelton and LeAnn Rimes thanks to their sharing (and sometimes oversharing) across the board. We’ve even seen the rise of Google+ hangouts featuring live interviews from stars as big as Taylor Swift. Heck, just last week Dierks Bentley used facebook to successfully find his lost dog Jake! To put it plainly, country stars want in on social media action and they’re trying hard to get fans to join them!
The common thread among all of these things is that the artists are able to be themselves in a public space without losing control over their privacy, and this allows them to reach fans on a more personal level. Never before have fans had such open access to get a message to their favorite artist, or receive a direct response. It’s a power many pop celebrities have built their career around, but country music seems to be just a bit late to the game. There’s a lot of reasons for this, but those reasons are getting less relevant every day.
While much of the online interaction between stars and fans has followed a natural growth, 2013 is the year the guys behind the scenes will learn how to take advantage of this limitless guerrilla marketing tool. We’ve had time to tinker and see what fans respond to, and how to best get the attention of the masses, and weigh the results of some not-so-popular online moments.
Top Country Music Social Media Engagement Trends to Expect in 2013:
So after the disorganized experimentation that our industry has done in the past, what I expect from 2013 is a real focused strategic effort at connecting fans with their favorite stars by directing marketing toward encouraging social engagement. You will see a lot more Easter Eggs, for example, Carrie Underwood‘s album Blown Away featured a promotion where if you scanned the album cover with a special app on your iphone, android, or other tablet device, the artwork would “come to life” and conveniently link you to the album purchase options on iTunes. I expect to see a lot more of this Easter Egg kind of content that teaches fans how to use technology in new and innovative ways to get more out of the album-buying experience.
You will also see artists making a more genuine effort to express themselves over social media platforms by sharing more than just tour dates and album news. They’ll embrace the ability to set their own boundaries of just how much of their lives they want displayed to the public, and we’ll start to get a more 360 degree view of who they are as people rather than the image their marketing team is selling. In the country music world this inevitably will lead to more impassioned fans and stronger brand partnerships/sponsorships. When an artist who shares on a social platform their favorite products, hobbies, and interests, the sponsorships and endorsements of those products becomes more natural and the return in sponsorship dollars will be greater, without ever taking away from the artists’ authenticity.
The thing I’m MOST excited for though, of all the developments I expect in 2013, is going to be the explosion of independent country music journalism. With the mass number of social media tools at our disposal, the voice of several small bloggers can quickly become the voice of one large fanbase. Gone are the days where one media conglomerate had all the power to influence potential fans into supporting the same ten or twenty headliner acts. Now a talented act can get the attention of the blogosphere, and in turn, country music fans nationwide, without having to buy into a major advertising campaign. Acts like Eli Young Band, Brantley Gilbert, and Jana Kramer who have all risen to major success through the support and encouragement of a very vocal online fanbase are just a small example of how direct fan response to social media is forever changing the path to success.
Blog Rodeo Roundup: See What Everyone Else Is Saying About Country Music in 2013!
- CountryMusicTattleTale.com: 2013 Will Bring A New Sound to Country Music!
- CMchatLive.com: 2013 – Insights From Country Music Industry Experts!
- FocusOnThe615.com: Artist to Watch in 2013!
- TwangNation.com: Americana’s Influence On Country Music!
- UrbanCountryNews.com: Roots On The Rise – The Most Exciting Music Trend of 2013!
- UkCOUNTRYmusic.net: Country2Country Festival-A Potential Turning Point for US Country Music In The Uk!
- KeepinItCountryBlog.com: 2013 The Year of Country Crossover!
- CountryMusicPride.com: Country Music In 2013!
- ForTheCountryRecord.com: Country Music & Twitter!
- CountryMusicNewsBlog.com (HaleighT): Word of Mouth in 2013!
- CountryMusicNewsBlog.com (MissMolly): 2013 North of Nashville – The Ozarks Go Country!
- CountryMusicIsLove.com: Country Artists Passing The Torch In 2013!