More and more, music mass marketing is working less and less. This is especially true for television, where once upon a time, an appearance on a popular show could mean a huge jump in sales. Take for instance an appearance on Saturday Night Live
could mean at least 100,000 in sales; sometimes even more back in the good old days of limited media. This is becoming less and less the case however, as we get further into Music 3.0
where consumer's listening, watching and buying habits are dictated by the time they spend online.
Probably the best example of how little impact television can have came recently with the airing of Spike Lee'
s documentary of the making of Michael Jackson's Bad.
This was basically a 90 minute commercial for the re-issue of the album during prime time of one of the best television viewing nights of the year, and it sold only 11,000 albums the next week as a result.
Let's go over that again - Michael Jackson, big album, Thanksgiving evening, 11k!
The worse thing is that it was a really great program, showing another side of Michael that few have ever seen, along with much of the backstory of the making of a big-selling album. Granted, the record is 25 years old and MJ's music isn't currently hot, but it would have been interesting to see if a similar show on Justin Bieber
or Lady Gaga
(or even Psy
for that matter) would've done any better. Maybe a bit, but I doubt it.
Several things are changing at once here. Television is losing it's impact, and people are getting more used to subscription music instead of buying it. I bet a lot of the audience that were motivated to listen to MJ afterwards just fired up Spotify
The fact of the matter is that I think more copies of Bad
might've been sold with an online marketing campaign, and it would've been a lot cheaper.
The estate of MJ no doubt made some big dollars from the network, but the show just proved that we're in a state of evolution in all media. Hang on for ride!
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