Introduction

Hi, this is me, Aoife Dick…

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I made this WordPress blog as part of a Mew Media Technology class for my college course, Business Studies and Arts Management. My goal is to work in the music industry and as this year is my final year, I have taken this opportunity to become familiar with a range of social media websites that have the potential to aid my future career in this field.

But first, what is Social Media? 

To aid my understanding of these sites, I have outlined a brief history and usage of the following sites as well as its uses in a personal, business and music industry sense in varying degrees, depending on the site. Overall, I found this project to be a great excuse to try out these sites and get to know their history as well as their future potential, and I hope you enjoy them too…

Spotify

Spotify-Logo (1)

Spotify is a London based music streaming site which was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and is now poised to overtake Apple’s iTunes in the digital music market with a value of €2.3 billion. The site has 10 million users including 3 million paying subscribers. Ek was writing computer code by age five, had developed a website age 14 and by 23 he was a millionaire thanks to his skills. As well as beginning to dominate the digital music world, Soptify have recently announced new software that would allow users to embed songs onto any website – a service that YouTube now dominate. To differentiate between iTunes and Spotify, iTunes offers a pay per song service, where customers then own the songs but streaming sites, of which Spotify is the largest, offer large quantities of music for a flat fee after which you are free to listen and share the music. The company expanded widely in 2011 when it entered the US and signed a deal with Facebook which lets users sign in via the site. (Waugh, 2012)

Spotify launched in Ireland in November 2012 and offers Irish customers a choice between an unlimited streaming, with interruptions of advertisements between songs as well as their unlimited package (listen to it on your computer without ads) for €4.99 a month or their Premium option that allows you to listen to music on any devise, online or offline for €9.99 a month. (The Journal, 2012)

When I registered with the site, I found it really sleek and way – much like the way apple products work. A massive positive of the site for me is that the site is legal. From working with musicians I cannot justify stealing music online and this is an excellent alternative for me and an excellent service for artists to as Spotify pay out almost 70% of all their revenue to the rights holders of the music in royalty payments which equates to $500 million in the last three years and the figure is ever increasing. The site is affecting download sales in a positive way, as many users have reported rarely paying for music before they joined the site. (Spotify, 2013)

As of March 2013, Spotify has joined forces with Volvo to bring voice controlled streaming to cars, which will be available in May 2013, (Silicone Republic, 2013) a service best described in this video, beginning at 1.28, which is revolutionary in this industry:

It will be interesting to see what affect Soptify has on the Irish digital download sales market as well as what the uptake is here on the paid subscriptions for the site as we already have many similar sites such as Deezer, Eircom Music Hub and We7. Reflecting on all of the information I have learned through this blog post, I find myself wondering if the illegal downloading would have been such a destroyer of revenue to the music business if sites such as this had been around just a few years earlier? Nevertheless, this site is here now and it’s here to stay – doing extremely well in all business ventures and countries that they enter. It is easy to use with instant access to millions of songs. Streaming music seems to be the way forward, especially with the increase in smartphones and mobile devices in general which is why Irish musicians must make it a priority to profile themselves on these sites and begin to enjoy the royalties that they provide!

References

Waugh, Rob. (2012). The money comes streaming in: Spotify music guru earns £190MILLION by age 29 – making him as rich as Mick Jagger. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2135424/Spotify-music-guru-earns-190MILLION-age-29–company-just-years-old.html. Last accessed 28th March 2013.

The Journal. (2012). Spotify launches in Ireland. Available: http://www.thejournal.ie/spotify-launches-in-ireland-672376-Nov2012/. Last accessed 29th March 2013.

Spotify. (2013). How do I get paid from Spotify?. Available: https://www.spotify.com/ie/about-us/artists/get-paid-from-spotify/. Last accessed 28th March 2013.

Silicone Republic. (2013). Spotify joins forces with Volvo to bring voice-controlled streaming music to cars. Available: http://www.siliconrepublic.com/new-media/item/31755-spotify-joins-forces-with-v/. Last accessed 28th March 2013.

Weebly

weebly

Weebly is a website on which any individual can create a website. The company, which was founded in 2006 is based in San Francisco, California – backed by some of Silicone Valleys top investors and currently has over 12 million users. Their mission is to to help people put their information online quickly and easily and in 2007, they were named in Time Magazines top 50 websites. (Weebly, 20013) The site was founded by David Rusenko, Dan Veltri and Chris Faniniho’d who were all 22 at the time, when they capitalised on the fact that they were asked to create a web portfolio as a college project by building a site that made it really easy for students to build  a personal site. (Levy, 2007) The following video gives a really good basic introduction to the website which I watched before beginning to build my own personal site:

Since 2008, Weebly began to generate revenue through the introduction of Pro Accounts as well as the Google AdSense widget (having ad’s on your website and gaining revenue on a per-click or per impression basis, splitting the profit 50/50 with Weebly). Additionally, weebly makes money through the sale of unique domain names, for example, if I was to create a personal site for myself  I could pay to have the domain name aoifedick.com rather than aoifedick.weebly.com.  (Adewumi, 2008) Weebly is still growing and developing with many recent developments including over 20 new design templates and over 100 new colour variations, the new drag and drop function that allows you to drag images from, for example, your desktop and drop them directly into the website as well as a drop down tool that allows you to choose a particular page layout with each page of your website, which is going to be a huge time saver. (Jeremy, 2012)

When I began to build my site (which can be found here: http://aoifedick.weebly.com/), I found the website really easy to use and to make it look professional – without any prior knowledge or experience in website design or creation. I created a simple website for a musician and it demonstrated me how must easier it is nowadays to be an independent artist or a start-up business in general with these technologies becoming increasingly accessible to everyone without the need for professional help. Most artists will now have websites on which to sell merchandise, outline the bands history and outline tour dates etc. and creating a site independently through is a very cost effective way of doing this. I really liked the ‘drag and drop’ element to the website, it make the process fun and something you don’t mind spending time on as you do not waste time trying to understand the available tools. There are over a hundred different themes to choose from which is important to maintain a level of individualism in the websites created on Weebly.

The pros of Weebly are that it is free to use, easy to use and offers a really great selection of templates to choose from while the cons of the website are that the site does not function well as a complex selling platform as the websites e-commerce tools are not particularly advanced but you can integrate a third party ‘shopping cart’ into your website to help with this, also the website does not have an option to integrate a wide scoping range of alternative social media site, with options limited to Facebook and Twitter although you can hyperlink your website to other pages. (Jeremy, 2013)

Overall, I found the website very fun and easy to use and I think that it is a great thing that website creation is accessible to everyone, especially in recessionary times as it is essential nowadays for a business/musician to profile themselves online. I will definitely use this website again and feel like getting to know how to use this site has definitely added to my skill set, particularly as I am about to graduate from an arts degree, an area which is known to work in under tight budgets.

References

Weebly. (2013). About Us. Available: http://www.weebly.com/aboutus.php. Last accessed 23rd March 2013.

Levy, Stephen. (2007). Meet the Next Billionaires. Available: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2007/05/20/meet-the-next-billionaires.html. Last accessed 23rd March 2013.

Adewumi, D. (2008). Weebly scores 1 million users, reaches profitability. Available: http://venturebeat.com/2008/11/03/weebly-scores-1-million-users-reaches-profitability/. Last accessed 23 March 2013.

Jeremy, Connie. (2012). Weebly Review – What will 2013 Bring?.Available: http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/weebly-website-builder-review-what-will-2013-bring/. Last accessed 24th March 2013.

Jeremy, Connie. (2013). Weebly Review 2013 – Easiest Way to Create a Website. Available: http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/weebly-review/. Last accessed 30th March 2013.

Twitter

Twitter-Logo

Twitter is a social media site which allows users to connect with anyone across the world by ‘favouriting’, ‘re-tweeting’ and replying to tweets. The site was created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey and Bis Stone, and as of April 2013 the site has 500million users (200million active users).  (Smith, 2013) The main concept of twitter is that each tweet must be 140 characters or less although photos videos and additional text can be utilised on the site. (Twitter, 2013) This video, created by YouTube explains the basic workings of the site:

The benefits of the site is that it can be used without actually signing up and has real-time information with a tool to see what topics are  ‘trending’ worldwide or in specific countries.  Many twitter users use the site to simply keep up with friends or their favourite celebrities, however it is also a great social media site for all businesses to connect to their current and potential customer base as this video demonstrates:

As a current Twitter user, I was already familiar with the ‘how to’ for personal use for this site, but I must say was very easy to get to grips with from the beginning (my profile can be found here: https://twitter.com/Schlooop) I generally use the site to keep up with friends as well as enjoying various profiles that I find entertaining such as ‘Uber Facts’ and Spin Radio’s profile. They upload interesting and funny content and I think this is the key to twitter for businesses and people alike: make people want to follow you (with humour and engaging content). As from a music perspective, I currently follow many record labels  music magazines, bands etc. and Twitter is a great resource for them. Fans can be kept up to date on all news about your favourite artists. An example of an Irish  band who have utiliesed Twitter to great effect is The Original Rudeboys. They interact with their fans here daily and by asking their fans to request their songs on the radio (the most effect means of generating sales) they are now a regular on Irish radio and have built their fan base, worldwide to unbelievable levels in the short time of their existence.  In general,  bands can keep their fans up to date with what is happenings no matter where they are thanks to the Twitter app and the popularity of smartphones. They can upload photos of the recording studio, videos from backstage and tweet news about tour dates.

Overall, Twitter is a really fun social site that can be used for a lot of different uses – tailored to your preference. The site gives you the option to link your tweets to your Facebook with is a very handy tool as well as allowing businesses and bands to talk to their customers and fans first hand, to deal with complaints or to just say hello. Twitter does have some disadvantages however, the limit on view-able text can be difficult to  keep within as well as in order to talk to people who do not follow you, you must have your page publicly view able which is an annoyance to people who, for example  have a private profile but are having problems with their phone and want to talk to Meteor customer care who operate a very efficient service via Twitter. Furthermore, Irish users of the site must now be vigilant of not only what they say on twitter but also what they repeat, thanks to the Defamation Act (2009) which recognises a “re-tweet” as a separate publication that the original authors, therefore, although it seems like an open platform for freedom and expression, it could land users in trouble with the law. (Defamation Act, 2009)

References 

Smith, C. (2013). (April 2013) How Many People Use the Top Social Media, Apps & Services?. Available: http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-top-social-media/. Last accessed 3rd April.

Twitter. (2013). About Twitter. Available: https://twitter.com/about. Last accessed 20th March 2013.

Defamation Act, 2009

LinkedIn

linkedin-logo

Linkedin was set up Reid Hoffman in 2002 but it has five official founders: Allen Blue, Jena Luc-Vaillant, Eric Ly, Konstantin Guericke adn Reid and had over one million users in its first year of operation. As of 2013 has over 200 million members signed up to the site. (LinkedIn, 2013)

Linked is a social media site, aimed at professionals and as a survey from DHR International and Modern Survey in March 2013 showed,  it is the top social media site used by business executives, (Forbes, 2013) but is used widely as an online curriculum vitae medium. (Roos, 2013) As well as these functions, the site is also open to companies and recruitment agencies to seek employers in a cost effective and efficient means as well as for companies to profile themselves (allowing professionals to keep up to date with what is happening in the companies they follow). LinkdIn themselves generate revenue through three main avenues: premium subscriptions, corporate solutions (head-hunting) and advertisements.  (CNTconsulting, 2011)

As mentioned, many people and businesses use LinkedIn to connect with people in their business sector, in order to seek work, headhunt or simply for social communication. For me, as a soon to be graduate  I am most interested in connecting with people that may aid my employment prospects. The following video was very useful and interesting to me for this reason.

This project was a great excuse for me to use LinkedIn as although filled with great intentions, I have never actually sat down to profile myself on the site , and no better time to do it that when I am about to leave college! Setting up my page was very easy and I really liked how the website guided me through the initial set up stages that can often be confusing when using a new website. I really liked the streamline design of the site and it’s professional feel of the website. A very positive aspect of this website is linked to it’s appearance in that it is a space to be professional online. Over the past number of years in college, I have built up quite a good network of people in the music industry – many of whom I am confident will aid my future career, however, never before have I felt it appropriate to add these people to my personal Facebook or twitter accounts on the grounds that I don not wish to monitor everything I do or say on this social sites that I use everyday. I really liked that each profile is very individual and you control exactly what is on it as well as what people can see via the privacy settings. My favorite aspect of the website is that you can update your status on your profile. The reason for this is that often I will work at music events that do not warrant an addition to my experience section but they would be of interest to potential employers.

Overall, I’ve had a really great experience with the site so far and look forward to building on my profile (which can be found here: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/aoife-dick/6a/275/779), with my priority being  adding and developing my network of contacts as well as gaining recommendations  from past employments in order for me to stand out from the crowd.

References

Forbes. (2013). LinkedIn Is Preferred By Executives. Available: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2013/04/09/linkedin-is-preferred-by-executives/. Last accessed 09/04/2013.

CNTconsulting. (2011). LinkedIn Turns 7!. Available: http://www.slideshare.net/ctnconsulting/linkedins-history-present-and-recent-features. Last accessed 09/04/2013.

Roos, Dave. (2013). How LinkedIn Works. Available: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/social-networking/networks/linkedin5.htm. Last accessed 15th March 2013.

LinkedIn. (2013). 200million Members. Available: http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/01/09/linkedin-200-million/. Last accessed 15 March 2013.

Pinterest

Pinterest_Logo

Pinterest is a ‘content sharing service’ which was launched in 2009 and allows users to ‘pin’  images and videos  to their personal pinboard. (Pinterest, 2013) It is one of the fastest growing social networks, with 16% of Americans signed up to the site, just 1% behind Twitter with their aim being to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting”. (Social Media Today, 2013) It is currently valued (March 2013) a $2.5 billion. (Silicone Republic, 2013) It attracts more woman than men, which is visually described, along with other interesting facts in the below image. (Social Media Today, 2013)

Pinterest_Infographic(Social Media Today, 2013)

On  Pinterest, there are quite a wide variety of social networking tools such as liking and commenting, ‘re-pinning’ as well as following your friends pin-boards and sharing content to other social sites such as Facebook and Twitter – which is explained further in the below video.

Very recently, Pinterest launched their new ‘pages for businesses’ section of the website, allowing businesses to set up a pin-board for commercial use. Pinterest is a visual site which means that marketers must  work hard to develop the visual elements of products as well as creating infographics that attract the eye.  Non-friends or business sites can attract new followers through the ‘categories’ section of the website (when creating a new pin-board you can select which category the content will fit into). Even users who do not follow you can come across your pins, when browsing categories.  For businesses, using simple and relevant username is key and by adding keywords to the “about” section of your page and Pinterest icon and follow button to a business’s website, they can really boost and develop their viability and level of subscribers. (Social Media Today, 2013)

When I personally began working with Pinterest, I found it quite confusing – however after a few tries it became quite addictive and now I understand, maybe too well, how to find my way around. When I found my feet on the site, I created two boards on my profile, one called ‘New Media Technology’ as this is subject matter of the class this blog has been created under as well as a board called ‘Irish Music Industry’ as this is the area that I am interested in working in when I leave college.

My profile can be found here: http://pinterest.com/fefafofum/

For my Irish Music Industry board, I posted links and re-pinned articles that would be of interest to fans or musicians in the Irish Music Industry to keep them up to date with what was happening throughout the country within the industry. I rarely come across pinned items of interest regarding Irish music within the site itself.  However, I really enjoyed pinning articles from various websites and storing them on one, easily accessed page and re-pinning items about the industry in general. I found that most websites have the option for ‘pinning’ an article which is really handy as it such a simple process. Music is not a specific category; however, using the search option is a good alternative. Nevertheless, this is probably a damaging factor for music marketers and independent musicians, profiting on this website. In saying that, Pinterest does make easy to share pins to Facebook and Twitter pages so artists/businesses don’t have to repost the same content across different platforms.

Overall, I loved using Pinterest personally as it is very aesthetically pleasing and easy to use. However, I don’t think the music industry has quite jumped on the bandwagon just yet – while the general population has made up for that somewhat by creating great music pin-boards. Maybe that is the way of the future, we show each other what we should be listening to – not letting the record companies decide.

References

Social Media Today. (2013). The Soaring Popularity of Pinterest [INFOGRAPHIC]. Available: http://socialmediatoday.com/monica-romeri/1254696/soaring-popularity-pinterest-infographic. Last accessed 28th March 2013.

Pinterest. (2013). http://about.pinterest.com/. Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://www.pinterest.com: http://about.pinterest.com/

Silicone Republic. (2013, February 22). Pin this! Pinterest raises US$200m – company now valued at US$2.5bn. Retrieved February 16, 2013, from http://www.siliconrepublic.com: http://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-ups/item/31563-pin-this-pinterest-raises/

Social Media Today. (2013, February 13). The Soaring Popularity of Pinterest . Retrieved March 16, 2013, from http://www.socialmediatoday.com: http://socialmediatoday.com/monica-romeri/1254696/soaring-popularity-pinterest-infographic

Strategic Viral Videos

youtube-logo

YouTube was founded in 2005  and as of 2013 has over 1billion unique users every month and over 4billion hours of video content watched every month. (YouTube, 2013) With the growth of the internet and those using it, it has become commonplace for brands to use sites such as YouTube in order to create public interest and awareness of their brand.

Viral videos are videos that spread quickly over the internet. Videos are watched on sites such as YouTube and Vimeo as well as being shared on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter as well as through blogs, email and instant messaging. (PCMag, 2012)

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Building on this concept, ‘viral marketing’ is a method of online advertising. An advertising agency develops an advertisement which will be shown on television or in some cases, only as part of an online campaign. The term ‘viral’ should not be mistaken with viruses as videos are for advertising purposes alone.

the-wheels-of-viral-marketing

Nowadays we attribute the term viral videos to funny or clever videos we share with our friends. But the term began with the company DFJ after it made a large investment into Hotmail. Following the investment, Hotmail displayed an advertisement at the end of every email, suggesting they move to Hotmail. By a year and a half later, over 12million new people had signed up to Hotmail. (PCMag, 2012)

I’ve complied a list of some of the biggest Viral Marketing videos from YouTube which are linked below.

1. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (44,234,457views)

2. Volkswagon: The Force (55,845,238views)

3. Evian: Roller Babies (61,598,800views)

4. T Mobile: The Dance (37,109,014views)

5. Inspired Bicycles: Danny MacAskill

From my research, I have found that there is no secret formula to creating a guaranteed viral video for your brand, yet there seems to be common elements in these videos such as humour and surprise.

YouTube, with its wide scoping uses and users, I thought I would try and list some pro’s and con’s of the site in order to get thinking about a site we all take for granted these days.

PRO’s

  • Cheap
  • Very wide scoping range of videos – educational, music, tutorials etc.
  • Easy to use,
  • Building a customer base/fan base
  • Self expression
  • Potential to reach a huge audience
  • Instant

CON’s

  • Anyone can post videos – huge amount of conent for people to sieve through
  • All videos you post are public so anyone has access to them
  • Not all videos are censored and everyone has access to potentially inappropriate material
  • Copyright infringement
  • Privacy issues of videos of people that may not want to be filmed

With regards the music industry, YouTube, is a very important tool as a platform for musicians to display their music videos, as a new or established band and has even been the means of discovery for some of today’s biggest selling artists such as Justin Bieber. It is a fantastic one stop source for fans to access interviews and music of their favorite artist and it a fantastic means of sharing a live recording with potential record labels and management companies, without having to post CD’s that will probably never get opened. The idea of creating innovative, fun videos works for music as well as businesses, as demonstrated by Irish band Raglans in their video for their song ‘Digging Holes’ which has over 38,000 views.

YouTube are currently developing their YouTube Live feature which allows enabled users (soon to be all users) to stream content live  which is making a huge difference to the the music industry, allowing fans to watch their favourite artists live from the comfort of their homes – a development of which will be really interesting to follow. An example of this is the recent SXSW festival having had many talks and performances streamed live via YouTube as the upcoming Coachella Festival, which is  also going to be streamed live which I, personally, cannot wait for. (YouTube, 2013)

Oveeall, YouTube is an excellent website that is sure to keep developing and growing for years to come. A key development that I am particularly excited about is the YouTube partner programme  which uses YouTube’s ‘audio-fingerprinting technology’ and basically ensures that people can upload videos that would normally have to be deleted for copyright reasons, and now simply pays royalties to  the rights owners – which I think is a fantastic innovation. (Van BusKirk, 2011)

References

PC Mag. (2012). Viral Marketing. Available: http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,1237,t=viral+video&i=58238,00.asp. Last accessed 23 January 2013.

PCMag. (2012). Viral Video. Available: http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,1237,t=viral+video&i=58238,00.asp. Last accessed 23 January 2013.

YouTube. (2013). Statistics. Available: http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html. Last accessed 30th March 2013.

YouTube. (2013). YouTube Live Streaming. Available: http://ytlive.blogspot.ie/2013/03/youtube-rolls-out-new-live-streaming.html. Last accessed 30th March 2013.

Van Buskirk, E. (2011). Is YouTube Bad for Music?. Available: http://www.wired.com/business/2011/01/is-youtube-bad-for-music/. Last accessed 28th March 2013.

My personal YouTube site can be found here:http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ZMXXr2RJ2TMK5dZkYTX0g