Wednesday, July 22

What The Baseballs Should Learn About Viral Marketing

It's funny how clueless the music industry still is, even after all the debates about file sharing, dowloading and home taping.

They think they can expect me to wait for a release date scheduled by the marketing department when the product I want can be obtained through other sources, often faster and at a lower cost. But just so we are clear, this is about accessibility, not about money.

Let me give you an example. Two weeks or so ago I discovered The Baseballs through a video on YouTube that was posted on several blogs and facebook. I checked out their album on Spotify and decided that this was something I wanted to own.

So I checked all the places I usually shop for cd's. Yes, I am an old-fashioned girl and I prefer my music on that little round piece of plastic that I can play in the car.
But I couldn't find the album anywhere. The Baseballs' website offers both the cd and some nice merch, but only ships to adresses in Germany.

I want to pay for the cd and am thinking about spending even more money on merchandise, but I can't. So what do I do? Because I can't find the album or any information on when it will be released in my area I choose to download it. I thus have the music and can play it in the car and on my mp3-player, but it's not what I wanted in the first place.

I found The Baseballs (presumably someone at their record label or management who tweets in their name) on twitter and left a comment on how I couldn't find the album. And this is the reply I got:

Thanks, but I already got it. And in any case, I'm not prepared to wait another two months for something I know I can find right now.

I work in the music industry and I understand that pre-release hype does great things for record sales. And I know that sales are very important when you are launching a new act.

But what The Baseballs and their record label/management are overlooking is that their music is being promoted for free by their fans in a viral marketing campaing. That is, everyone who is posting links to the video on YouTube and the album on Spotify are in fact promoting the band. When I look at the statistics I can see that people from Brasil, Mexico, Poland and Switzerland arrive on my blog after searching for "Baseballs Umbrella".

The video on YouTube has been shown 1 108 959 times and has 2 338 comments as I type this. These are really good numbers for a new act that hasn't been featured in the internationall press or on MTV outside Germany.

But I wonder if the viral campaign wouldn't be more successful if fans from all around the world could buy the music and merch directly from the band? They would certainly make a bigger profit on each item sold. As I have shown, I was prepared to buy the album but couldn't find a way to do so.

We are only a small web shop, but the HepCat Store ships internationally, as do many smaller web stores run by punk bands and independent lables. I got some awesome Bouncing Souls merch from Chunksaah in New Jersey, USA just last week. That makes it even more frustrating when I can't order from a neighbouring country in Europe.

Let's hope those weekend greasers in The Baseballs will get hip to viral marketing and start shipping internationally.

I really like this shirt and if I can't buy it I'll just have to make my own.

So I downloaded the music and didn't pay, but look at all the free promotion The Baseballs got in this post. I guess we can call it a fair trade?



You are awfully right and your comment is already on the German-Fan-Forum – surely soon to The Baseballs’ attention as well. We are doing a lot of viral marketing and it spreads like the swine-flue ;-). Just look at my Myspace if you’re interested: If you need some assistance to get things shipped from Germany to Sweden don’t hesitate to contact me. Tack för de fina kommentar - kärlek hälsningar till Sverige. – Luv Alex

punk in writing said...

NostyleSolitaire: Haha, I didn't see that coming!
I looked at the fan-forum and I while my german is very basic, it's interesting to see the topic being discussed.