I subscribe to MusicRow Magazine, Nashville’s premiere country music industry publication and have noticed more and more articles mentioning the use of social media from artists, labels, and the various companies that support the genre. There’s no doubt that social is making serious headway in country music and it makes a lot of sense.
Country continues to become more and more mainstream each year with artists like Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum, attracting a broader and younger audience that is more tech savvy than the traditional country music fan. Online fan engagement is becoming a huge component to a country artist’s brand and overall marketing campaign. According to an article from Mashable Entertainment titled “Country Music: The Next Social Media Frontier” (http://mashable.com/2012/06/01/social-media-country-singers), two out of four people buying new technology (smart phones, tablets, etc.) are country music fans. Also, 76% of attendees at the 2012 CMA Festival (the country world’s largest music festival held every June in Nashville) were found to be engaged in social media use.
Recently, popular female country artist (and wife of Blake Shelton) Miranda Lambert launched a social media site for her new all female trio, Pistol Annies. Called “The Henhouse” (http://www.pistolannies.com/henhouse), the site invites fans (predominantly women) to create their own “Annie” account that allows full access to the site’s blog pages and social media games. Although the page is linked directly to Pistol Annies’ main site, where fans can purchase artist merchandise, The Henhouse does not solicit anything for purchase and the website offers entirely free content. The intent obviously is purely to retain and attract new Pistol Annies fans who will consume elsewhere.
Will websites like these really help artists and labels/management companies to grow their brands and ultimately generate higher earnings?