When it comes to social networks, musicians often view Last.fm as the runt of the litter when compared against the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr.
Sure, it might be a social network with healthy traffic (5.5 million uniques a month according to Compete) and a great active user base (over 1,000 scrobbles per second says the Guardian) but it’s level of user engagement pails in comparison to other networks.
Simply put, bands and fans see it as more of a data tool than a way to interact with one another.
For fans it is a way to track what they are listening to, comment on music, and discover complimentary sounds, while artist’s get to see just what tracks people are listening to, and who is doing the listening. In turn, this data can be used to do things like craft the world’s bet set list, discover what your next single should be, or target your sound to a specific demographic – while awesome in their own right, none of these things are overly social.
So let’s change that, shall we.
Over the past while I have noticed that one of the most social (read: visible) aspects of Last.fm revolves around leaked music. No, I am not referring to on-again off-again controversy surrounding Last.fm supposedly giving scrobbling data to the RIAA (spoiler: they don’t), but rather who is listening to leaked music.
On the internet – much like in real life – power/clout/prestige often stem from having access to things others do not, so when a new album leaks there is always a mad dash to be one of the first people to scrobble it. Just think of the rush to be the first to own a shiny new iPhone4 or the prestige associated with rolling around town in your newly financed Porsche. This sociological quirk is one of the cornerstones of marketing and promotion – high demand and low supply invariable leads to more perceived value.
- After setting up and account Friend all of your top listeners. Why? Simple, these are your most die-hard fans and will all jump at the chance to be friends with you, but more importantly they are most likely to expose your music to others within the network.
- Send all your new friends a musical thank-you gift. Most bands have loads of material that never gets released, be it demos, acoustic takes, or unreleased tracks. Thank your “friended” top listeners for their loyalty by giving them a track that no one else has access to.
- Watch the magic happen.
You can guess what happens next. Besides cementing these fan’s loyalties, they will invariably scrobble the track, expose others to it, create demand, and hopefully facilitate its spread around the internet – all the while boosting your track’s value.
In essence what we have done here is outline a textbook example of Influencer Marketing, an often-touted but rarely attempted form of marketing which is comprised of three steps:
- Identify the influencers in the network (the top listeners).
- Market to these influencers by gifting them with exclusive music.
- Create a new marketing channel through these influencers, by knowing their nature of scrobbling the gifted music and creating awareness by making them advocates on your behalf.
Sound good? Now get out there and do it!
As I said that the opening of this post, marketing effort is rarely put towards Last.fm since artists view it as an extremely low ROI network, but with little more than a single track you can generate some potentially serious traction.
Oh, and if you are a current Last.fm user, be sure to check out the amazing Last Graph – a gorgeous visualization tool for the music you listen to.
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