Evolving with the Trend


Evolving with the Trend

Surviving the Flux of Music Consumption.

by Ken Jenie


“A lot of people I know—everyone, maybe— just feel a great uselessness. You’re a human being and the world is so big; everything is just so untouchable and unreachable. They just want to do something that they can be a part of and they can mold and they can make.” — Ian Mackaye, 1983

With the constant transition music consumption, it is improtant for the musician to adapt with the trend. Not by means of playing popular music to comply with the market’s taste, but to evolve with the way people acquire music. The digital music trend, to the physical music revival, are some of the circumstances musician need to comprehend. Not only that, they also need to comprehend the whole constellation of music consumption so that they could prepare the proper marketing procedure that suits their band.

Like it or not, it is essential for musician to understand the concept of marketing. And it became even more essential for the independent musician who affiliated directly to its market so that they could survive as a self-determining musician to take a part in the history of music. Marketing, as the subject itself is thriving swiftly from time to time, it has progressed far from the basic idea of Adam Smith to the modern marketing and its definition continues to expand. There are so many theories of modern marketing today, but the main notion of those ideas is that right now, marketing is a lot more than just mere selling a product to the consumers.

Philip Kotler and Hermawan Kertajaya’s book, Marketing 3.0 explains that marketing is no longer a product-centric system. With how consumers are well informed now, it is important for the producers to provide a service that meet the emotional and rational needs of the consumers. In this era, consumers should be treated as human beings who are active, anxious, and creative. People demand more collaboration with the producers. Value also became a substantial element, product that serve a better value will perform better in the market. Simply put, modern marketing requires and advanced form of the customer-centric era where the customer demands collaborative, iconic, innovative, and independent marketing approaches.

The exact same thing also stands in terms of music marketing. Though right now, musicians have more channels to promote their music with the existence of social media, digital music stores and music sites such as Soundcloud, and Bandcamp, every musician should be aware that the key to a successful maneuver is to utilize the right channel in the most efficient manner. They also need to take a closer look at the value of their marketing plan. And the most important is to remember that just like the basic concept of modern marketing, now, it is a ridiculous thing to hope that music will sell itself if they sell just the music.

There are a lot of dimensions in the concept of modern music marketing. It’s so much more than just selling music itself. The scope of modern music marketing ranges from selling the music in various formats (including CD, cassette, digital downloads, and vinyl), merchandise, to marketing music concerts.

Specific marketing tools also grew into a critical point in the modern music marketing. Album pre-order packages, music videos, download cards, special packaging, deluxe edition albums are some example of the crucial marketing tools that can be utilized.

Pandai Besi’s Daur Baur album is one of the examples on how a band could appropriately handle their marketing. Pandai Besi cleverly conducted a successful marketing plan to support their idea to record an album in the legendary studio, Lokananta. We can see how Pandai Besi applied a collaborative plan with the public by adopting the concept of crowdfunding in this project. Though the crowdfunding concept itself is relatively new in Indonesia, it turns out that the band managed to gather some money from their fans to back their album recording. In this case, crowd funding is a win-win solution both for the band and the fans. By doing this crowdfunding project, the band could have the recording budget and not only will the fans have a new album and merchandise from their favorite band, but also they will feel involved in the making of Pandai Besi’s album. A significant and positive value to the band as a brand. In addition to that, due to the avid demand from their fans, the album got repressed by DeMajors to distribute it nationally and later on, the band posted the album online so that the fans that couldn’t buy the album could download the album for free, another positive value for the band.

Of course, Pandai Besi’s Daur Baur marketing methods is not a patent marketing formula that every band could apply. And it is important to understand that Pandai Besi’s success in their marketing plan corresponds directly with the fact that the band is an alter-ego of one of the most prominent independent band in the nation, Efek Rumah Kaca. The fact that Efek Rumah Kaca built their fan base and credibility through the quality of their music over time is not something to be forgotten. The point is that, no matter how brilliant a marketing plan was, if the product is not that good-in this case, if the music is a downer, it will be useless. The quality of the music should be the number one priority for the musician, and marketing strategy should follow behind it. After all, music is an art form and the essence of it lies on the creative process.

“A lot of bands out there are taking people for a ride by pretending that they are doing something valid when in fact they are just rehashing things that have been done a million times before. At least we are sticking our necks out and having some fun. That’s what music is about; not following the rules.” — Steve Shelley, Cut, March 1989whiteboardjournal, logo