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Singing Milk Boxes and Dancing Cheese

Jen Casson, July 17, 2014

“What if the cheese twirled the macaroni around as rainbows and hearts fly out?”
“Would it be ok if the peanut butter sandwich cracker took a little lick of himself?”
“Can I put a top hat on the milk box and give him a dancing cane?”

It’s ridiculous statements like these made during the course of a project that make one pause to ask “are we really getting paid to do this?”. A recent job for Horizon Organic was just one of those projects. They asked Room 214 to create a fun animated video to help launch their new line of Mac & Cheese and Snacks (grahams/crackers). To do this, we teamed up once again with the talented musicians Jeff Kagan and Paige Doughty and create these spots with an incredibly catchy tune. Fair warning – these will get stuck in your head.

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A Hot 100 Revolution: Digital Investing & The Music Industry

Michael Kwolek, May 13, 2014

Which artists have the longest-charting songs on the Hot 100? The Beatles? Michael Jackson? Mariah Carey? Nope. Not even close. Read on to find out which under-the-radar artists are changing our perceptions of longevity in the music industry, and learn about the power of “digital investing” (introduced in a previous post) for artists and brands alike.

First, a quick refresher on digital investing: we believe that unlike traditional marketing alone, the cultivation of long-lasting digital content allows campaigns to have a much longer shelf life than was previously possible. So let’s dig into how this applies in the music industry.

Traditional media no longer leads

Let’s face it: magazines, billboards and terrestrial radio have become all but irrelevant for supporting new artists. We now have access to iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, SoundCloud and myriad other ways to find, share and indulge in music anytime, anywhere.

These innovations have made charts and reporting more complex. New ways to experience music mean extra data points, thus complicating how we gauge artist popularity – it’s no longer just a measure of how many CDs a band sells at big box stores. And this phenomenon has finally begun to influence the most mainstream of outlets – traditional radio playlists and the Billboard charts.

Counterintuitively, many songs are actually finding greater longevity in this new environment. With always-on access to songs, videos, articles, interviews, remixes and other content, tracks can remain popular for years instead of weeks. And these new ways to listen are changing traditional media – radio and TV no longer set trends, they now often reflect what music fans have already discovered online. Consider the case of the song “Sail” by relative unknown AWOLNATION.

“Sail” takes a long voyage

“Sail” is the first song in the Hot 100′s 55-year history to climb to its peak position after a year on the chart. It ended its run in March 2014 after logging 79 weeks – a streak that began over 3 years ago. In fact, it is now the 2nd-longest charting song ever.

After a modest showing on alternative radio in 2011, the song soundtracked a trailer for the History Channel series “Vikings”, clips of which have since garnered over 1m views on YouTube.

And it just took off from there: continuous touring, additional TV syncs and aggressive promotion by label Red Bull Records, along with a continuous stream of online conversations, videos and playlist sharing, led to “Sail” charting on and off for the next 3.5 years.

The track’s downtempo aggression initially met with little interest from mainstream radio, but programmers were eventually convinced after months and months of fan support. This support is best exemplified in the collection of fan-made videos on YouTube, one of which has garnered over 100 million views – a practice supported by the band.

And it’s not just one song…

“Sail” is not the only example of this recent outsized longevity. As of April 29, 2014, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons spent its 86th non-consecutive week on the Hot 100 (at #48). In fact, 8 of the 10 longest-charting songs on the Billboard Hot 100 have been released since 2005 (5 of those since 2011).

This phenomenon is thanks in no small part to digital investing – by establishing a base of easily shareable content (YouTube clips, song streams and even remixable tracks), artists allow fans to enjoy music on their terms. They also give new listeners plenty of chances to find emerging artists and take an active part in boosting their visibility.

According to Billboard, the “Hot 100 formula targets a ratio of sales (35-45%), airplay (30-40%) and streaming (20-30%)”. This streaming component, though relatively small, cannot be underestimated as tracks often generate millions of online listens without any commercial radio play. By nature, online sharing can have a longer-term impact than any single radio play as peers are much more likely to pay attention to what their friends are digging versus what happens to be on the radio. And again, they’ll have the instant ability to share those finds with their networks.

So what does this mean for artists?

The rules are changing – major labels and radio conglomerates no longer dictate what we listen to. Now that anyone can write, produce and release music essentially for free, it’s all about which tracks spread the most online. Here are a few tips:

  • Encourage friends and fans to share, share, share to build an audience. Offering free downloads and easily-shareable streams is essential.

  • Think long-term – a marketing plan for a new album should last more than the month of its release.

  • Embrace fan-created content – where once it was viewed as copyright infringement, most artists now see this practice as free publicity. Fan videos, artwork and remixes can all extend the life of a song way beyond an artist’s expectations.

And what does this mean for my brand?

The same ideas can apply to any brand looking to make a long-term impact online. The key is to think of the web as a repository for useful, inspiring and entertaining content that will be searchable for years.

Consider supplementing the digital ads and social posts you’re already doing with content that can continue to have an impact. Here are a few types we’ve seen generating awareness, leads and search visibility for years:

  • Blog posts with useful tips from an expert

  • Detailed responses on Quora to pertinent questions about your industry

  • Video tutorials that simplify complicated tasks

  • Interviews that express a controversial stance on a commonly held belief

 

In short, whether you’re an independent artist or a global brand, you can still make a real impact without billboards, glossy magazine spreads and mainstream radio play, and you just might cultivate more impassioned fans in the process. Keep checking back in the coming weeks as we continue to explore strategies for digital investing.

Weekly Social and Tech Round Up (5/2/14)

Maya Shaff, May 9, 2014

Here’s this week’s collection of social media and digital marketing trends brought to you by the digital experts at Room 214.

The popular social app Snapchat revealed it’s newest update on Thursday announcing new features such as video chat and text messaging. The update was available for download in the app store as of May 1 and users were eager to get their hands on the new features.

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Don’t Get Scroogled

Matt LeBeau, May 1, 2014

For many people, no recent update has been more confusing than the changes to Google accounts and services, including the forced connection between Google services like YouTube and Google+. While the most publicized aspect of this change was the elimination of anonymous YouTube comments, the related effect was that in order to post a new comment on YouTube, users first had to join Google+.

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Should my brand jump on the Snap Wagon?

Taylor Cunningham, April 29, 2014

After reading Snapchat: 5 Reasons Your Brand Might Love It, you may have found yourself wondering if Snapchat is right for your brand. In this follow-up we will discuss the 5 things to keep in mind before jumping on the Snap Wagon.

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Is Your Brand Ready for Global Pages on Facebook?

Libby Turner, March 26, 2014

Though the Facebook Global Pages functionality launched in 2012, it was not met with massive adoption by brands. It seems as though Facebook introduced this feature slightly early, as the global conversation is just starting to pick up steam. Many of our clients have started asking, “Can we do this? How do we do this?” and have had increasing interest from their local businesses worldwide.

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Pinterest Basics: 8 Things to Keep in Mind

Jill Mailander, March 7, 2014

When it comes to best practices on your Pinterest page, there are an abundance of things to do. But what if you don’t have time or if you’re just starting your Pinterest presence? Here are the top 8 basic yet most important things everyone should do for their Pinterest page.

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Top 7 Digital Integrations at Fashion Week

Stacey Kawakami, February 21, 2014

Fashion Week is all about access, how close you can get to the runway, and of course the fashion itself. This year, top fashion brands took to social media to grant special access to their fans to make them feel like Fashion Week insiders.

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The Changing Face of Facebook

Guest, January 29, 2014

Ever wonder how the term “viral” became associated with the internet? Two researchers at Cornell University have an idea: like a viral infection, Facebook began small, spread rapidly, and reached its peak — and now it’s dying out.

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Facebook Changes Algorithm (Again)

Leah Lesko, January 22, 2014

In a recent blog post, Facebook’s Product Manager for News Feed Rankings announced that they would be tweaking their algorithm and shared helpful advice for Facebook page admins looking to increase organic engagement with their Facebook posts (likes, comments, shares and clicks).

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