Music Marketing

eMusic Launches Major “Guerrilla” Marketing Campaign To Prove It’s “Irreverent And Engaging”

image from The cornerstone of most modern marketing is to create great products and then let users spread the word.  Apparently eMusic didn't like what its subscribers were saying or couldn't wait for them to spread the word, because today it launched a major branding and ad campaign designed to differentiate itself from iTunes by (take a deep breath…) "delivering irreverent and engaging experiences that capture the essence of music discovery". 

Developed by flavor of the moment creative agency Sarkissian Mason and hot media firm TargetcastTCM, the campaign uses "humor, passion and knowledge" to appeal to "serious music fans".

Will "Serious Music Fans" Respond?

Several of the new eMusic initiatives display a cleverness that could capture attention from fans if they aren't turned off by the accompanying rhetoric. For the "guerrilla" Road Show, eMusic filmed up-and-coming acts  in concert and is sending a van on tour to project exclusive footage on city walls across the country.

The campaign also includes an “Impossible Concert” print ad campaign that pays tribute to concert posters as art.  It will launch in the December 23 issue of Rolling Stone and include a series of collectible prints. 

According to eMusic their next "tactic" is a spring launch called “Hear/Here” that provides "insider information on musical landmarks in major markets".

What do you think of the new eMusic and this marketing campaign?

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  1. Interesting, first their alienated their existing customers by switching pricing models so that getting indie material became far more expensive. And now they are going for customers already attuned to iTunes and other existing services. Does not compute.

  2. This is an interesting tactic. I think stuff like this is a waste money and time though. The guerrilla marketing tactics is to make them seem for the underground scene, but I don’t think this will do much for emusic. They need to build network share instead of forcing themselves in to a particular scene. It will stir up some buzz and PR but objectively I think this is a fail.

  3. Sounds desperate. Aligning with Rolling Stone? Doesn’t exactly scream “irreverent.”

  4. When you’ve lost your soul your only hope is marketing tricks.
    I don’t think this will pass the sniff test for most music lovers… the people they are hoping to keep or win or win back. People don’t treat music the way they treat toilet paper or airlines. Music is a visceral, true-love energy.
    How I wish they’d applied some of those massive marketing dollars to taking care of the customers and indie labels that made them so beloved (and successful!) in the first place.
    I fear that the story of eMusic will be taught as a cautionary tale in business schools in the future. If they’re even remembered that long.
    Because alienating the people who love you for what you truly are in order to try to cater to the people that have no imagination and are interested in what the mass market offers will ensure that the Big Boys (aka, Amazon and iTunes) will swat you like an annoying fly if you ever try to underprice them for the exact same product you are selling.
    As indeed they already are. Witness Amazon’s $1.99-to-$5 album deals. Witness iTunes’ embrace of more flexible pricing.

  5. (Besides, the instant you proclaim yourself as irreverent in a marketing campaign, your are officially no longer so! Words take the place of meaning.)

  6. I agree that they’d probably be better off by focusing on the product and letting members market the service through word-of-mouth. But in their defense, the stuff on that Road Show site isn’t bad and certainly isn’t major label mainstream crap. From what I remember, they actually helped break Best Coast as an emerging artist and both of those other bands are solid selections. Yes this def. seems like a lame PR stunt coming from that press release, but the actual content seems decent enough.
    btw, Bruce, not sure if you care, but I just noticed this other site seems to have a word-for-word copy of the post above and I don’t see any ref to hypebot:
    seems a little sketchy.

  7. Never mind the advertising…my question is since they changed the pricing from credits to dollars, why would anyone remain an eMusic subscriber? To just give away money every month? They don’t really offer anything different than iTunes or Amazon any longer.

  8. Marketers that spend a bit a of time and effort rather than spending piles of money on Advertsing, can generate effective results with inexpensive, small-scale stunts.

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