An Interview with Matador’s Patrick Amory
As previously posted on Hypebot, Matador Records’ Matablog doubled its traffic in under 12 months leading to an increase in online sales. The Matablog stands as one of the best examples of an independent label utilising the web to build value for its artists and its fans. Nick Crocker spoke with Matador Records General Manager Patrick Amory to find out more.
How do you select the content for the Matablog?
Patrick Amory: All employees, recording artists and selected friends can request a login and 99% of their content will be published. We encourage people to post both about Matador-related content (release dates, MP3 launches, radio appearances, tour dates) and anything else in which they are interested.
The founders of the company are opinionated, knowledgeable and interested in a ton of subjects besides music. We are fortunate to have staffers who have run fanzines, run (or are running) their own record labels, promoted shows, trekked in the Himalayas, etc.
Same goes with many of the artists. We consider this wealth of interests, combined in many cases with decent writing ability, to be a goldmine for expressing the personality of the label.
The personality of the label – essentially the combination of all these factors – is, in turn, an important way of conveying to the public why they should be interested in buying our music. Matador releases are not just a collection of songs or albums – they are part of a larger community of interesting, interested people.
In 2009, actually paying for music is optional, and the purchase of music is often an expression of wanting to belong (or be seen to belong) to a particular community of people. We have found (anecdotal) that this approach of generating blog content – essentially allowing free rein to a group of talented individuals – has in turn grown profile for the label and hence our artists, and therefore driven sales for records.
What content drives the most traffic?
MP3 launches and music streams by far. Cooking and food posts probably second.
What kind of content delivers the most interaction – comments etc?
We're a bit baffled by this. The posts with the most traffic can be the ones with the fewest comments and vice-versa. I'd be interested to know what the statistics are like on other blogs, if anyone has done a study.
In general, new signing announcements and MP3 launches probably generate the most comments. These posts are also our most highly syndicated ones, however, so the commenting often goes to another blog with higher traffic, such as Stereogum.
Have you made any mistakes along the way? Is there anything you recommend not doing on a music blog?
Sorry, can't think of one.
What other sites influence how you blog?
I understand you have doubled your traffic in the last 12 months, can I ask what your traffic was, what it is and was the growth linear?
I don't have blog-specific stats at hand at the moment, but it is the most popular section of the site (the blog index page has overtaken the main site index page as the main entry point). The site as a whole has gone from 6324K unique hits daily in March 2008 to 12272 unique hits daily in December 2008.
Did the doubling of traffic result in a doubling of sales in the webstore?
I'd say we need to put more work into integrating the blog with the store. We have a legacy site with different parts that have grown up ad hoc over the years, and been added on without much dynamic integration.
That said, our webstore sales have tripled over the course of 2008, and are growing faster so far in 2009. This has to do with outside factors such as the decline of physical retail, of course, but I am certain that the blog has a lot to do with drawing store traffic as well.
What is your strategy for converting blog readers into Matador customers?
Make them see that Matador is an interesting, quirky place with strongly held and entertainingly held views on a variety of subjects… and get them to listen to as much of our music as possible at the same time.
How many people contribute to the blog?
Varies all the time, but about 40 on a regular basis.