In this interview, Hard 8 Management and Folsom Records' Michael Schneider sat down to talk about his work, the importance of technological innovation in marketing, and the value of messenger bots in marketing.
Guest post by Veselina Gerova of The Message
Behind The Artist is a Q&A style interview series featuring the people behind the artists; the marketing heroes you don’t hear about that often. They are the ones who help artists build a brand and a strong online presence. We decided to approach these marketing gurus and ask them all about their thoughts on online branding for artists, bots and strategies. They share their thoughts, expertise and their vision for the future.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am the head of Digital for Hard 8 Management & Folsom Records. I handle all things internet / online marketing for our roster of artists which includes Brantley Gilbert, Dashboard Confessional, Dan Layus (Augustana), and The Social Animals
I was the director of artist relations for BandPage and indie label relations for Amazon Music prior to this role.
Also, can you tell us a bit about the company you work for, Hard 8 Management?
Hard 8 is Rich Egan’s company. He is the co-founder of Vagrant Records and has also managed bands since beginning of his career in the music industry.
What is your position there?
Head Of Digital.
You’ve worked with some pretty impressive artists. How important do you think it is for musicians to reach and connect with their fans directly online?
It’s the only way to have a sustainable career. There are no other effective ways to maintain the attention, interest, and passion of fans.
Is it important for musicians these days to be innovative when it comes to technology? If so, why?
I’d like to say yes…but the majority of ‘innovative’ things I see in the market don’t actually move the needle in growing a fan base or making an artist money.
It’s great to be the first to try a product when there is an immediate value, or come up with your own initiatives and test them…but I find it’s even better to follow the data trail, and when it supports a new idea, then embrace it. No need to be the one who is the case study for all of the failed music tech startups.
Speaking of innovation, there has been quite some hype around messaging lately. Do you think that a Messenger bot is a good way for artist to connect with their fans online directly?
I think it can be for the majority of artists. If an artist is inactive, or deceased, I think it can be in poor taste to make it seem like they are sending a message or ‘going live’ — but otherwise, it’s a simple tool to build a sort of automatic FAQ. When fans as questions, normally the answer is already available and they’re just too lazy to search for it. I like the idea that a bot can fill that gap.
How do Messenger bots differ from social media posts in your opinion?
I think the only major difference is the medium — when building a bot it’s important to be concise and put in information that is valuable to the fan, so they stay subscribed and interested. All marketing? They’ll ditch you just like on social.
What are the marketing advantages of having a Messenger bot? (for artists)
Online automatic FAQ.
Do you think a Messenger bot can help with one’s brand building? If so, why/how?
If the data is true and the reach is as good as it says, yes.
What do you think the future of Messenger bots will look like?
A much easier set up, and more organic responses (a wider depth of answers that feel more human)