After years of declining sales in the Music Industry worldwide, 2016 marked a turning point. The surprising savior? Streaming services – a technology some once predicted would kill the music business – which now account for 51.4% of U.S. music revenue.
Sales from services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora are so strong that they more than compensated for the continued losses in both digital downloads (down 20.5% in 2016) and physical sales (down 7.6% in 2016).
This incredible growth indicates that even though the way we consume music has changed, the love is still there. The instantaneous nature of streaming services provides new listeners access to generations of music everywhere, as close as the device in your hand.
In order to meet consumer demand, and to entice newer listeners, some record companies are digging into their archives to offer re-mastered hits and previously unreleased tracks packaged in creative formats.
Case in Point: This September, Epic Records dropped SCREAM, an exclusive compilation of Michael Jackson hits, available via both digital download and licensed streaming services. The album itself, a mixture of MJ classics and Jackson Five hits, opens with international DJ Steve Aoki’s Thriller re-mix and features a new mash-up of “Blood on the Dance Floor” and “Dangerous” by electronic duo White Panda.
But SCREAM is more than album: it’s a multi-media collaboration, at once a throwback to Jackson’s heydey and a glimpse into a virtual future. On October 27th, Epic is set to release part two of the project, a collectible, glow-in-the-dark 2LP vinyl packaged with with a poster featuring AR (augmented reality) capabilities enabled by the Shazam app.
Epic and Shazam teamed up to place a limited number of these posters in cities across the U.S., tailoring the AR experience to particular geo-locations. Though mum’s the word on what the experience will ultimately entail, sneak previews released by the label indicate things will be spooky!
The shift in the way music is monetized dovetails with another trend: younger audiences tend to favor experiential modes of consumption. To capture the attention of millennials, artists and labels are releasing media to complement the instantaneity and immediacy that has made streaming so popular.
Here’s a brief run-down of how other musical clients are connecting with audiences through new and traditional media:
While music videos have long been an industry staple, 360 degree “interactive” videos are a relatively new way for fans to connect with their favorite artists. Live streaming channels also offer fans the opportunity to watch performances as they occur in real time.
The National recently offered both opportunities to fans to promote their latest album, Sleep Well Beast. The band released a 360 teaser interview on the New York Times and a live stream of their Paris concert on Pitchfork.
Though there’s nothing like being present at a studio session or front row at a show, these two virtual experiences hint that artists will continue to develop new and innovative media strategies that bring fans as close to a live set as possible.
And of course, there’s always our favorite media: posters.
To help promote album sales, two of our favorite artists – indie darling Josh Ritter and synth-pop stars Joywave – reached out to PMD Media to drum excitement for tour stops and to boost album sales. By papering the clients’ target DMAs with impactful WindowPoster™ displays, we helped Ritter and Joywave BE SEEN.
Though we may be moving closer and closer to a digital world, we suspect the classic form of the poster (and outdoor advertising) – in all of its adaptability – will persist… not unlike the music industry!