Email marketing is not dead. It’s very much alive.
Do you know why? Killer Mike says so.
This is not a blog about how email marketing gives you the best return on investment (or bang for your book) with every £1 spent on email returning an average of £42 back. Thank you DMA for that stat.
This is a blog of how forward thinking artists in the music industry have used email to build and then communicate with their audience
Who is Killer Mike?
Killer Mike is one half of the rap duo Run the Jewels. He’s also a very vocal political activist in the US you might of seen him on the TV talking about various political issues and the black lives matter movement.
What makes Run The Jewels unique is that they’ve always released their music for free. When I say for free, it will cost you your email address. When they started their mantra was simple.
We released it and we just gave it to everybody and said “if you like it, support us, and if you don’t? That’s fair“Killer Mike and El-P (Run The Jewels). March 2017
But this is not a new thing. It’s been done before…
Giving it away for free
Usually when artists decide to give their music away for free, it’s usually about money and control. And because they are in dispute with their record label.
Prince, Planet Earth
Prince gave away the album, Planet Earth for free with the Mail on Sunday (of all places). Resulting in a huge dispute with Columbia / Sony Records.
It was a huge deal and even forced HMV to sell copies of the news paper in store so customer could get a copy of the CD.
Radiohead, In Rainbows
Radiohead famously offering digital copies of their album In Rainbows, not necessarily for free but for whatever you’d like to pay/donate, be that $0.00 or $500.00. You decided.
It was a huge success.
The digital version made more money than their previous album “Hail to the Thief” before the hard copy version was even released.
NIN – Ghosts I – III
But the real disruptor was Nine Inch Nails. After leaving Interscope records, Trent Reznor decided to launch Ghosts I , II and III in exchange for your email address.
Now they gave their music away for free. But they gave it to fans. To people that engaged with what they were doing and loved it. This approach also allowed NIN to launch their music really quickly. It came out two weeks after recording.
This was way back in 2007 when digital music was in the early stages. People still liked to own a ‘hard copy’. So when limited edition box set of all three albums was released it was their most successful record in terms of revenue. Despite being limited to 2500 copies, netting $750,000 gross.
Email marketing, Run The Jewels style.
Run the Jewels never signed up for the conventional music industry route of demos and then signing up with a major label. Maybe that’s because the two members of Run the Jewels both had success has solo artists and decided to use Run The Jewels to do something different.
To treat fans with respect, be open, accessible and try a different business model. One that didn’t need the usual expensive record label marketing.
So the music is for free.
How do they make money?
Run the Jewels make their money touring and from the merchandise. T-shirts, special editions and hard copies of their music. All operated from a RTJ Shopify store.
You can guess who gets first look when they release their tour dates. In case you hadn’t worked it out it’s their email list.
Run the Jewels worked out they don’t need to spend a fortune on promotional advertising they just need to be able to easily engage with the audience.
So for Run The Jewels, email marketing is not dead. It’s a core part of their success. Email is the channel they use to distribute their music and their message.
So email marketing is not dead, it’s very much alive and you know why, cos Killer Mike says so.
If you’d like to use email marketing to bring some extra revenue to your marketing let’s have a chat.
It’s time to start getting more from your email marketing
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