Sunday, 16 May 2010

On Hiatus

As I'm sure you can tell from the lack of updates, this blog is currently on hiatus.

I have had to stop posting due to a lack of free time as I am working and studying for a qualification at the same time.

I continue to keep on top of tech/media trends but at present do not have the time to offer my own insights and regularly attend related events in the London startup scene.

I'll be back. In the meantime, follow my Twitter feed

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Sofia Talvik On DIY Social Media Marketing Strategy

This posting is an interview from LA based Swedish musician on how she manages her own social media marketing strategy.

I've only done one interview on this blog before notably with the founders of the Tweet Tweet Club. I was motivated to get in touch with Sofia due to the innovative way in which she was using Twitter to promote her summer single Strawberries.

The MP3 single is what Gerd Leonhard would call a "feels like free" solution. Fans pay for the single by having to send out an automated Tweet advertising the single, alongside a unique hasthag.

What struck me was not just how savvy Sofia is in terms of an artist promoting herself, but also how her digital strategy seems to be light years ahead of the marketing departments at major record labels.

1. I initially decided to get in touch with you due to the Twitter campaign for your new single, Strawberries. Whose idea was it to use Twitter to help market the single, and what has the feedback from the campaign so far been like?

I've been working a lot with social networking sites such as twitter lately. 9 million people use twitter so when you want to spread the word about something it's a great place to start. People have really appreciated that telling their friends on twitter as a payment for the single, even now when everyone can download the single for free, people still push the twitter button.

2. Has the issue of users having to input their Twitter passwords to access the download been much of an issue? This is a concern which I raised on Twitter but to your credit you were very fast to respond to this.

There's been one or two who opposed to the idea. I can understand that it may feel unsafe to enter your password, but like I've stated on the site and when people addressed me on twitter, no information about logins or password is ever saved on our servers.

3. It’s interesting to see that for the Twitter campaign you aren’t actually asking fans to sign up to a mailing list. Is this a conscious shift on your behalf away from “push” marketing to “pull” marketing. (In “pull marketing” consumers are the ones who decide if they want to create or extinguish a relationship i.e. the follow/unfollow option on Twitter)

Well the good thing is that when you ask someone to thell their friends on twitter, this message goes out to hundred or thousands of people as opposed to the one email address I would get for my newsletter,which by the way is easy to unsubscribe from. That way my music can reach so many more people. In a way you can call it pull marketing, but at the same time each person automatically helps me to pull all their friends too.

4. You seem to be very active on a plethora of social media/social networking sites. I actually remember a couple of years ago you requested my friendship on Last.FM. How do you decide which networks to build a presence on?

It's pretty easy to see if a network is functional or not. You test out the usability of it, and the popularity. Tons of social networking sites pops up every day, and I guess as many disappear every day. And they also have to be compatible with things like and iLike. If I would keep track of 15-20 sites each day, doing updates and stuff I wouldn't have time to do any music. If I post a blog on iLike it's published on all my accounts, facebook, twitter etc. I've also just released an iPhone app through iLike. It's a great site.

5. Do you do this all of yourself or do you have people to build and manage these platforms for you?

I do most of it myself. I have some technical help from my husband who is a wiz on finding new usuable plug ins and have a lot of cool ideas that we try out. If the question really is - is it me writing stuff on these pages the answer is yes. You'r not chatting with a marketing department ;-).

6. It’s interesting to see that you are on Linked In as I only know a handful of musicians who are. What is the split in how you use this in terms of managing the professional side of your music career alongside networking with fans?

It's very different. When it comes to fans you want as many as possible. I almost never denu anyone friendship on facebook or myspace. When it comes to the professional side of it, you want to gather connections to a handful talented people, not everyone who works with music in some way or another.

7. Your connection with Bernard Butler on MySpace has been well documented. Have you formed any other connections online with people who have had a significant effect on your music career?

The talanted musician Joszef Nemeth who played the piano on my second album was also a myspace find, not to mention all the great artists who contributed to the Street of Dreamix remixes. My new american label partner also found me through the internet, it's just an easy way to connect with people.

8. Have you got any favourite tools for monitoring your own online buzz? I.e. Google Alerts, Addictomatic etc.

I have Google Alerts, Twitter search etc. But I mostly search for stuff about me when I release something.

9. The likes of Montt Mardie and Hello Saferide have written lyrics or whole songs about the internet. As a fellow Swedish artist, is this something you would consider?

I would never say never, but the thought hasn't struck me yet. Music is still very organic for me, and the internet isn't.

Thanks to Sophia for giving up her time to be interviewed. You can download the Strawberries MP3 here
Bookmark and Share

Friday, 22 May 2009

Barnet Council Helps Build Facebook's Brand Equity

This isn't a criticism of Barnet Council per se, more of an observation. Logically, it makes sense to target platforms with the biggest user base. In a similar way to how advertising dollars go where the audience is, the public sector are attempting to harness platforms which receive the most attention.

Alongside the previous blog post, this serves as an example of how both the public and private sector are inadvertantly helping to build brand equity in social media services.

Follow Barnet Council on Twitter @barnetcouncil
Bookmark and Share

Monday, 11 May 2009

Twitter enters the mainstream lexicon

Spotted at Finchley Road underground station on 9 May 2009.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

URL Shorteners

The photo featured in this blog post is an example of how not to promote a URL.

Do the proprietors of the restaurant genuinely believe that their customers will be able to remember an address that long and tenuous?

The image serves as being a great example of how URLs don't always translate well into print media. This can also apply to URL shorteners. Around a year ago The Times starting printing links which one would have been hard pressed to remember.

The likes of tinyurl have been around for a number of years, but it is only with the emergence of Twitter that URL shorteners really come into their own. Other players now include, url(x) and

The focus on this blog post is on as I find it the most useful, and as it has recently received coverage from Techcrunch for receiving VC funding. slays the rest of the competition as it allows users to customise URLs , and gives detailed stats on click throughs. The customisation feature is handy as it allows you to stamp your own identity on an otherwise unbranded piece of content, allowing for greater promotional opportunities. In turn, it makes URLs easier to remember for people who are interested in visiting the link at a later time.

One of my own personal tips for using for personal branding is to use the service to grab a shortened URL to your Facebook profile, and to customise it with your name. I have done this by linking to my Facebook profile. This overcomes the problem of Facebook not adopting the protocols of URLs adopted by most other social networks.

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Advertising Supported Media

The strapline for this blog was originally "The Purpose Of All Media Is Deliverance To Advertisers." These words of wisdom were originally passed onto me by an old mentor. However, this was back in the late 90s just prior to the launch of digital television.

The media landscape has changed so much since then that I am not convinced that this phrase rings true anymore.

One of the reasons for this is that what we now classify as media is a lot broader than ten years ago. For example, a stock ticker plugin for Firefox is media in that it is a distributor and carrier of information. However, a number of these do not serve any commercial purpose. Cloud based services now reposition software as media. It is unlikely that decent enterprise packages will base their business model on advertising.

However, the main motivation for this post has been in what the perceived role of advertising is in the future of television and music industries.

Over the last few weeks the traditional advertising supported role of television has been brought into question due to the downturn in the advertising industry. Besides the economic climate, this is due to the proliferation of choice and segmentation of audiences. This started with the emergence of digital television but more recently has been affected by the growing proportion of advertising spend being used online. As I mentioned in a previous post, Google now generates more money than ITV.

It is only now that we are really starting to see the slashing of budgets for programming on commercial broadcasters. Notably, ITV and Channel 4 are really feeling the pinch. Last week Michael Grade announced the slashing of high budget productions and laid off around 600 members of staff.

In really simple terms, the smaller an audience is the less the programme will be able to generate from advertisers. As television has always been referred to as "the blunt instrument," it is nigh on impossible for advertisers to know who they have been reaching. The only way commercial television will be able to compete with the likes of Google is with mass adoption of internet protocol television, with Phorm-like technology for ultra customised targetting.

Another ramification which this has for the future of television is that production companies may well have to look for new sources of funding to produce and commision content.

However, on the flipside we have the music industry. The emergence of the free version of Spotify has resulted in the growing assumption that the future of the music industry could well rely on advertising supported music services. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that services like Spotify are increasingly making music being thought of as media. In turn, the collapse of one business model within the entertainment industry is being held up as a potential solution for another.

Whilst I believe that one way of monetising the consumption habits of music fans is to subject them to advertising, I am not convinced that this is sustainable. In a recession it is a great way to grow your customer base. However, somewhat paradoxically advertising is one of the first industries that is hit in a recession.

It is widely known that premium subscribers of internet services are a lot more profitable than free customers. It is fine to build your customer base first and monetise later. However, the importance of monetisation is imperative as the traditional IPO exit route is not one that is a viable option in the current climate for entrepneurial startups. Twitter and Facebook are perhaps the best and most often quoted examples of web businesses facing this dilemma.

The upshot of all of the above is that what we now classify as media offers a lot broader scope than the days of yore, and that the way forward is to rely less on advertising. This is likely to be economically viable but it is not yet clear how scaleable this will be.

Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Pirate Bay On Trial

On 16 February The Pirate Bay is being taken to court against infringing numerous copyrights. I appreciate that these details are quite sketchy but this is all the information which I could glean from TorrentFreak.

The trial is shaping up to be the biggest case of intellectual copyright being infringed in the entertainment industry since the closure of Napster.

Regardless of whether you believe the mass distribution of information is a case of evolution in culture, or a blatant infringement and exploitation of intellectual property, it is clear that the creative and media industries need to be more resourceful and entrepreneurial in creating new business models. And that's without even mentioning the state of the global economy.

I decided to warm up for the big trial by watching Steal This Film 2, the second part of a part documentary series on BitTorrents.

Bookmark and Share