Thanksgiving has dawned, and it is the eve of the holiday frenzy, which begins tomorrow on Black Friday. The holidays always boost sales for music, because people still like purchasing CD’s as gifts, and how many of us get iTunes gift cards every year? It’s a safe guarantee of getting something the recipient will enjoy. Typically I’m buying the CD’s for my family/relatives, and my family/relatives are getting me the gift cards (our listening habits are a bit…generational)
The question is which artists are going to hit the jackpot this season? The Beatles made out like a bandit their first week on iTunes selling 450,000 albums and 2 million songs worldwide. And this is a band where it’s assumed a large majority of people already have their music – that’s impressive. There’s also Michael, the new Michael Jackson CD being released December 14 which seems promising. Then there’s Susan Boyle’s new album The Gift. You may snicker but her debut album set a record in first week sales, and I Dreamed A Dream was the second best selling album of ’09…right behind Taylor Swift.
What does this reveal about music and people’s buying patterns? Connection. The listener needs to have a strong emotional connection to the artist beyond just liking their music. Susan Boyle was an underdog with a story that people identified with and empathized with. The power of her story is what made her a chart-topping, record breaking artist over night. This is also why the Beatles made millions in sales in one week in iTunes. The powerful connection to the individuals behind the music, and it’s the same reason why Michael will do well.
To boost sales, artists and labels need to cultivate and foster that strong relationship. Best Buy Union Square in NYC had a Nicki Minaj in-store last Friday promoting the singers new album Pink Friday. The deal: buy a CD (sales) and meet the artist (ROI). I don’t see why more artists don’t do in-stores these days. It generates sales, promotion, and gives fans an opportunity to interact with their favorite artist – developing that emotional connect. The Nicki Minaj in-store was a huge success with fans lining up the night before – for the artist herself. Creating a fan starts with the music, but it is sustained through the relationship between fan and artist (Mariah Carey is a perfect example). Nicki’s personality, her style, her message-that’s what draws people in. Said one fan, “We have Nicki, that’s our person. We relate to her. We connect to her.”
Which artists do you connect with? What music will you be buying this holiday?