Saturday, December 11, 2010

Aspen Live! Day 2. Google and Facebook and Apple, Oh My!

Yesterday, at Aspen Live Day 2, we talked about MTV doing things online again. Innovative, interesting things. Some of the thoughts expressed at the meeting:

  • If you're good, really good, people will find you wherever you are
  • Fans have to have someplace where they can talk about the problems they're having with you or your service
  • Some of marketing services - Constant Contact was mentioned, along with ReverbNation - are driving people completely nuts with their persistence and spammy characteristics
  • "I think filtering is the big challenge"
  • "We're advertising an old prodcut." (Our James Taylor TV spots still show James Taylor with HAIR!)
  • TV can work if its good. (But much of it suffers from bloat - stuff that gets added that no one (other than Roger Waters) seems to be able to say "NO" to any longer.
  • Artists are now selling a show out as far in advance as possible. (And the ad budget isn't up to the task, at least here in the US, but the Europeans have it wired!)
  • What's the mix of your marketing budget, how many ways is a $1.00 split and in what proportions, and how is that changing?  
  • We're moving away from a web based world to an app based world. 
  • There will soon be an app for everything we want to do with the fan - promotion, ticket sales, etc.

Don Strasburg talked about turning his Facebook page into a forum for promoting. It's still personal, but instead of becoming upset about all the people who want to be his friend, he's opened the floodgates. And he said he's always been an admirer of Crazy Eddie. He wants to do things that are different, interesting. Stuff that gets people's attention. And he doesn't think AEG's customers are like Michael Rapino's - attending an average of 1 or 2 shows a year. "People we do business with go to a lot of fucking shows."

One of the artist managers asked whether Facebook would go the way of MySpace. Don't bet on it. MySpace, as Goldstar's Jim McCarthy pointed out, was never what Facebook has become. 

Don Strasburg voiced a strong complaint seconded by others: the first thing you see when you type Bon Jovi tickets is StubHub. Sometimes that's right. Don asked me if I'd talk to the group as the "Internet expert." (I might well be the group's startup expert; I'm probably not it's Internet or SEO expert, but I didn't quibble.)  I talked briefly about the three parts of a current search result: 

  • the paid results in the shaded portion of the main search (these are paid listings, and they are not determined based on Google's page rank algorithm); in the example below,, and bought their way to the top. 
  • the main search results (determined by Google's page rank algorithm); and here Ticketmaster comes out on top followed closely by Bon Jovi's own site and StubHub. 
  • the key word search driven ads (which is less about SEO, search engine optimization, and more about SEM, search engine marketing.  

But the main point I wanted to make to the group was this. We tend to be fighting last year's battles. Google created a powerful tool that everyone uses. As you use the web, it's often far faster to use Google to get to a site - even if you already know its URL - than to type it in yourself. Google solved a huge problem by giving us almost instant access to anything we're looking for just at the time when nearly all the things we might want to look for were beginning to turn up on the web. 

The next wave of value for the consumer - and the next opportunity for those at Aspen Live - is more about leveraging friend networks, particularly Facebook. And this is not just about advertising on Facebook. It's about understanding and using social tools to create powerful communities of co-promoters. 

If you still have doubts about whether Facebook matters in the music space, check out "Facebook Director Of Platform: Spotify *Is* Facebook Music

When asked on stage today whether there will ever be a “Zynga of music” i.e. a company that leverages social in order to disrupt the music space Director of the Facebook Developer platform Ethan Beard said that Facebook is in fact in the music business.

Spotify is Facebook Music,” Beard said, revealing that when Spotify, which has not yet launched in the U.S., integrated social features into its own site, traffic increased 4 times. Facebook is now the Spotify’s number one referrer of traffic.

Beard emphasized that there is a lot of room for growth for music companies that integrate Facebook’s social features as well as Spotify has. “We want to focus on building out the building blocks of the social graph so companies can build on top of it,” Beard said.

The much buzzed about Spotify has been talking about a U.S. launch for well over a year, but it hasn’t happened yet.

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