Music brands including HMV, BBC Proms and Elton John’s management company are participating in a government-backed initiative to infuse digital elements into their offline marketing strategies, products and services.

The companies have been named as challenge partners in the Technology Strategy Board’s (TSB) IC Tomorrow contest taking place between now and December with the eventual winning entries set to launch mid-2013.

Speaking at a developer briefing held this morning, Matt Sansam, programme manager at IC Tomorrow, explained that the TSB would back the eventual winners with up to £150,000 in total to develop prototype products.

Both the TSB and challenge partners have set participants multiple briefs with the overarching theme of using digital channels to engage with their audiences.

Also speaking at the event was Laura Monks, Decca Classics senior digital campaigns manager, who explained her company’s rationale for participating in the event.

The trend for people downloading digital albums or watching a video online is not growing with the classical music audience as they are with other genres of music, she said.

However, this was something the record company was looking to facilitate as it sees potential areas for bolstering engagement with audiences via digital.

“The core consumers we have are male, over 45 and have interest in classical music,” she explained. This is also one of the highest iPad owner demographics, she noted.

“So there is an audience but they’re not necessarily consuming such music online,” added Monk explaining that Decca wanted to move more digital units as the number of high street music stores are currently in decline.

Meanwhile HMV and Fopp spokesman Gennaro Castaldo addressed attendees explaining that its participation in the scheme was aimed at introducing digital elements to its in-store experiences to build on its in-store Wi-Fi roll out ( 1 Oct 2012).

Also at the event was Erik Nielsen, digital management and business consultant at Rocket Music Management, behind artists such as Elton John, Lilly Rose Cooper (nee Allen), Ed Sheeran, among others.

“Money for the band – that’s what this challenge is about,” he said. “The value of buying music is disappearing… and there’s other ways to make money for the artist than just digital [unit sales].”

For instance, selling an artist-branded T-shirt that could also have a download code for a certain track when purchased, was one example he cited.

“It’s great to be able to sell stuff and make money but what’s also important is to identify who they [customers and fans] are,” added Nielsen.

“In our industry people talk about the album cycle that is roughly 18 months – we’re looking for something that looks at things in between these cycles.”


Published 11 October, 2012 by NMA Staff

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