People need to know a band exists before buying CD
- Record companies often rely on the press to help them sell their music. Getting a favourable review in the right magazine for their target audience usually means more sales.
- Newspapers also carry stories about pop artists. They say that all publicity is good publicity, but sometimes artists with 'clean' images can be damaged by scandelous articles in the tabloids.
- Being played on the radio is one of the best ways to get people to buy your band's music. Even better if they get played by the 'right' radio station, and by the 'right' programme with the 'right' DJ - i.e. the one lots of your target audience listens to.
- Pop videos are the main way artists get their image across to their target audience without interruption or misinterpretation.
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The music sales chart tells us what's being bought
- Up until the 1980s, buying singles was the most popular way to buy and enjoy music. Nowadays a single is basically an advertisement for the album it comes from.
- The singles charts are a pretty good guide to what is popular.
- Most music companies look at the offical UK Top 40, as broadcast on Radio 1, to compare their sales with competing companies.
- Nowadays this chart also takes into account the number of times a song has been legally downloaded from Internet music services, so it's more accurate.
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Labels identify their target audience and liaise with the media. An established label will have some relationships with the media to generate some press buzz for their releases. Here are some things they do to market an artist:
- Get on to radio playlists. Radio 'pluggers' usually work with specific singles going around to radio stations trying to get the singles they are representing onto a playlist.
- The video. Getting airplay on music TV, often within specialist niche channels.
- Setting up presence in the Internet, websites for fans, social networks, MySpace, information on tours and albulms, blogs etc.
- In-store promotions, flyers, cardboard stand-ups and posters for in-store stations, listening stations, merchandise (books, tshirts, posters etc.)
- Print, radio and online advertising to promote a new release. Newspaper and magazine coverage. Getting features onto TV, music programmes or chat shows, etc.
- Live music, touring. Artists have traditionally sold more when they tour so record labels will often financially support a tour. To be successful bands have to keep improving exposure and building demand.
- Making the right decisions on when to release an album. This is perhaps more important to majors, (for example around Christmas they will have to compete with the X Factor winner) Staggering releases to avoid clashes etc.
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