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John Mayer, Lil Nas X, and BTS: Music Marketing in 2021


August 26, 2021
Episode 162


Joe, Matt, and Jack are in the studio for this special themed episode about music and the marketing going on behind the scenes that push songs to the top charts. You won't want to miss this episode! Hear it all in 46 minutes or less.


Matt Farrar
Joe Clements
Jack Reid


Alex Reinhard
Kiersten Wonsock

Top Stories

John Mayer takes on the Mandela effect with his latest album Sob Rock, and we dive into its 80s themed marketing campaign that makes us all feel nostalgia. From here, we talk about Lil Nas X and the effects of a marketing campaign on the overall listening experience. Later, we talk about BTS, Rob Thomas & Santana, and how a properly planned marketing campaign or the lack thereof can make or break a song's release. In the end, we discuss the steps that an artist should take to reach the top charts.

Episode Video

Episode Transcript

(AI-generated, *somtimes* human-reviewed)

Matt Farrar  00:00

Music is the theme of today’s episode – we’re going to talk about Carlos Santana, Lil Nas X, BTS, Rob Thomas… probably some other folks, and we’re going to tie it all together neatly for you in a bow. You don’t want to miss this one; we’re going to deep dive the music industry for you, how it affects marketing, why it’s important for culture, and why it’s interesting. Coming up next on the podcast Of Record. Of Record is a podcast focused on the marketing and advertising industry. From the perspective of two industry experts, hosts Matt Farrar and Joe Clements are cofounders of Strategic Digital Services, a digital marketing firm based in Tallahassee, Florida, and founded in 2014. I’m Matt Farrar, I’m Joe Clements and I’m Rebecca Romero. And this is the podcast Of Record. Hey, everyone, welcome to the podcast Of Record. You’ve got Matt, Jack, and Joe, as well as producers Alex and Kiersten in the studio today. So

Joe Clements  01:21

Kiersten’s on the buttons

Matt Farrar  01:22

Yeah, Kiersten is pushing buttons. Alex has got knobs and buttons. So, killing it.

Joe Clements  01:28

Alright. Yeah, full disclosure here. Only Matt has done the work up on this show, Jack and I are just along for the ride on Matt’s tour of the music industry.

Matt Farrar  01:35

Yeah, we’re also talking about John Mayer, I forgot to do the John Mayer shout-out in the intro. But so, I this is an episode

Joe Clements  01:36

 Do it again, let’s do it.

Matt Farrar  01:41

Yeah. I mean, this is an episode. I’ve wanted to get out of my system for a while. Right. So one thing that’s been super interesting during the pandemic has been to watch how the music industry has changed. And then to watch how the marketing around the music industry has changed. So, Jack, I want to start by talking about an album that I know you’ve really enjoyed. And that is John Mayer’s new album,

Joe Clements  02:02

Sob Rock

Matt Farrar  02:03

Sob Rock. Yeah, so if you are not familiar with Sob Rock, it is an entirely 80s themed album. And so one of the things that John Mayer said when he wrote it, is that he set out to implant a false memory in your head. So he wanted you to listen to the album and feel like these were songs that you had already heard from the 80s. And we’re hearing again, even though Basically, these were new songs that he you know, wrote for the first time specifically for this album. Once I heard that some stuff really clicked for me. But beyond the music beyond whether you like John Mayer’s music or even if you like this album, something that’s really interesting is the just heavy dose of marketing that went into this album. The

Joe Clements  02:48

It’s still going

Matt Farrar  02:49


Joe Clements  02:49

Well, I mean, somebody tell me about this because I don’t know.

Matt Farrar  02:51

Yeah, Jack.

Jack Reid  02:53

John Mayer put out a new album. It’s called Sob Rock.

Joe Clements  02:55

How did they market it?

Jack Reid  02:56

Uhh how didn’t they market it? Yeah, you can buy the album on tape. You can buy the album on vinyl, you can buy it on CD. You can go to Spotify and Spotify turns your whole screen into a old Sony Walkman tape deck.

Joe Clements  03:15


Jack Reid  03:16

He basically

Joe Clements  03:17

So we’re going full nostalgia on it that’s been a theme this summer

Matt Farrar  03:19


Joe Clements  03:20

Nostalgia marketing

Matt Farrar  03:21

but in but in ways that you haven’t seen anybody else

Jack Reid  03:24

He’s directly attacking the Mandela effect in your brain

Matt Farrar  03:28


Jack Reid  03:28

He wants you to feel like this album is something that’s been with you the whole time, and you just haven’t listened to it in a long time, but it never existed.

Joe Clements  03:35

There’s a name for that effect. By the way, that’s actually very common in music. It’s very common in music, that you will hear a new song but think you recognize it. And um, that is a lot of times cause from sampling. Uh then I’ve heard another explanation for it that uh, music can stimulate certain emotional responses and so similar music may stimulate the same sort of response for you, which creates this feeling of deja vu. Is that what it is?

Jack Reid  04:06

A little deja vu.

Matt Farrar  04:07


Jack Reid  04:07

I’m trying to think of the term.

Joe Clements  04:09

Is it Deja entendu?

Matt Farrar  04:10

Let’s talk about the first track on the album for a second and last train home. I don’t know that there’s any sampling on the album that I’m aware of, because it’s all original music as far as I know. But the last train home song, the first song on the album has some strong Toto Africa vibes. And everybody noticed that from the second it came out. So I mean, there’s some huge inspiration from 80 songs there. I don’t know that there’s any like actual direct sampling, but you can certainly tell the vibe that he was going for with some of these songs and

Jack Reid  04:41

He brought Maren Morris to sing on that track as well.

Matt Farrar  04:44

Yep. And you can see you know, the long flowing hair on the album cover.

Jack Reid  04:49

The music videos are just purely out of

Matt Farrar  04:53

Yeah, I mean, it’s a Rick Astley video or, you know, John Hall and Daryl Oates

Jack Reid  04:59

In a time where music videos are like either two very

Matt Farrar  05:03

-reverse that-

Jack Reid  05:03

extremes is you know, you’ve got BTS doing all the amazing things they’re doing. And then you’ve got basically just people putting out lyric videos. You know, that’s kind of the two extremes right now? John Mayer decided to make an old school music video in a in an exciting new way. And this isn’t the first time he’s done something like this. Well, there was a track he released a few years ago…

Joe Clements  05:24

Who’s buying this? Who’s buying the album?

Jack Reid  05:27

Well, so that’s an interesting point. It actually charted it was the one of the first albums he’s had in maybe 15 years that charted on the Billboard I think, top 10 it Deaf week it was released, it was extremely popular, which is unlike the last three albums, he’s put

Joe Clements  05:43

Yeah, the last big one he had was the one he won the Grammy for, like daughters on I think that would have been in 2000

Jack Reid  05:49

continuum continuum. Dmitri was kind of the end of like, big big john mayer. award season john mayer Right, right. Yeah. Yeah, he’s really done some very different stuff. Since then. This isn’t necessarily returned to that. It’s just something that seems to he’s trying to purposely strike chords, I think, yeah.

Joe Clements  06:09

who’s buying this? I are zero is buying it isn’t millennials buying it? Who is buying it? I think both. Yeah. Or is it people who are already john mayer fans? Who are going to buy it? Or he is he bringing new people in? Both?

Matt Farrar  06:23

I mean, definitely people that are already john mayer fans, as far as I can tell, thought this was great. There was nobody that was turned off. You don’t have Aaron Morris

Jack Reid  06:29

on the track to not bring somebody into that song.

Matt Farrar  06:32

Yeah, no, I mean, I mean, but there there was, for the most part, no, great turn off that I could see of, of Mayor fans, there was no you know, mass exodus of your departure. Like

Joe Clements  06:45

it’s been a long time since john mayer was mainstream. I agree to bringing people in our new like,

Matt Farrar  06:53

our Intel, yes. I don’t know if it’s Jen’s ears, but he’s bringing

Joe Clements  06:57

the interns out there and let’s interview. Okay,

Jack Reid  07:01

yeah. And I don’t think he’s bringing them in. I think he’s,

Matt Farrar  07:07

this is the first time I had listened to john mayer, since probably 2007. Right. So it wasn’t even necessarily brings it in. Yeah, it was bringing me back to like,

Joe Clements  07:18

listen to some skeptical that he’s bringing new people in what I think he’s doing is just reactivating, correct? Yeah,

Matt Farrar  07:25

that may be correct. Yeah. But that’s almost like bringing someone new in right, because I basically haven’t been a customer since 2000. Since running

Joe Clements  07:34

through the halls of his high school screaming at the top of his lungs. Well, I’ve

Jack Reid  07:37

always been a customer so I was excited when this album started to come out. But I read something very interesting recently about it and we can move on from this after this. But before he released everything, including the the marketing aspect of it, so the colors and if you look at the album cover, it’s got a little fake little Kmart sticker on the front that says yeah, special price. Yeah, it is really leaning into Yeah, a lot of our memories and nostalgia. He was he gave the tracks out to a certain group of people to listen to, so they could hear the album without being exposed to the marketing aspect of it first. And then when they saw the marketing aspect of it, they were all very, very surprised. which is surprising to me because of how all the entire album sounds very retro, very, very 80s, late 70s. And then when they saw the rest of it, it kind of formed the rest of this picture and this assumption of what the album was going to be because up until that point, they thought it was just kind of this fun May your conceptual

Joe Clements  08:32

let me ask you this. would this have been possible in the prior means of music ditch? Would this have been possible? No. And like you know 2002

Jack Reid  08:43

it would have been absolutely no would have been laughed out of one of the CD stores I’m trying Yeah, yanking on right now. k k bead toys.

Matt Farrar  08:52

It was a boy you’re thinking about Panama City Mall store that was across from KB toys. Oh,

Jack Reid  09:00

all right. Yeah, I

Joe Clements  09:01

can’t remember the name of the big mall.

Matt Farrar  09:03

Or maybe for the video ups or weaken some somebody’s

Joe Clements  09:05

yelling at us on the on their. On their headphones. Like it’s

Matt Farrar  09:09

maybe it’s their air pods.

Joe Clements  09:11

Sam Good day. It’s Sam. Goody. Yeah, yeah.

Jack Reid  09:15

Anyways, anyway, john mayer

Matt Farrar  09:16

book it out. What you were just talking about brings up a great point, like how does the marketing affect how you experience music, especially if the marketing gets to you? Before the music does? So this brings me to something that I experienced. I actually, I ran a little test on myself with little nos x A couple of weeks ago, so he has a new song out. called Oh god, what is it called? industry baby? Oh, yeah. So I have never experienced listening to a lil NAS x song before without seeing all of the marketing hype and in most cases, controversy Surrounding right at least around the video, you know the last time with the Satan issues I’ve rarely seen or heard his music without, you know, seeing the the hype surrounding it. This time though, I just happened to be in the Apple Music Store and saw the song shortly after it came out had not seen anything about it. So got to run an interesting test on myself to see. Hey, you know, here’s one of the first chances I’ve had to see. Is his music actually any good? Or has all of this just been like marketing hype purely to pump up you know, what is just mediocre music. I actually found the song to be pretty good. So I enjoyed the music went and found the video. The video as, as expected, had some had some interest to it. It was shot around the theme of being a gay prison and included a 12 person nude dancing shower scene,

Jack Reid  11:01

which was very well course. Like I said, you know, music videos today just so boring.

Matt Farrar  11:05

Yeah. I mean, it’s very well choreographed. It was it was impressive. The songs about Yeah, yeah.

Joe Clements  11:12

Was there any chance that after that Billy Ray Cyrus song that the next big release he had wasn’t going to get attention?

Matt Farrar  11:18

I think so. I mean, that could have very easily been a one hit wonder. Yeah, there are so many areas

Jack Reid  11:22

these days. They get attention after they like the one hit and then or just kind of man, but I feel like he’s been a job of keeping

Matt Farrar  11:28

the country song could have been a really easy one hit wonder. Yeah.

Jack Reid  11:35

We’re just not ready for that yet. Yeah, but you kids are gonna love it.

Matt Farrar  11:38

So I mean, but, you know, I do think that there’s an argument to be made that we’re probably getting some some crappy music. That is just getting good marketing.

Jack Reid  11:48

We are getting a ton of crappy music.

Matt Farrar  11:49

Yeah. And in this case, like, you know, I decided that the music was decent. There’s probably some other people that decided no, I

Joe Clements  11:54

mean, I did I disagree. Really, I think what’s happening in the music space right now. It’s, it’s fragmenting so much. Like you’re not even you are for the most part. Unless you’re listening to top 40. Radio. You’re not hearing about anything that’s big anymore. Yeah. What Besides, you know,

Matt Farrar  12:12

who’s listening to top 40? radio? Do you think at this point,

Joe Clements  12:14

I think top 40 radio is probably people 45. And over at this point. Yeah. You know, and so there’s me there’s nobody younger, but it just means like, they’re they’re listening to it. Like, they’re not listening to it in enough volume where it can push like taste like it used to? Yeah. Which is why you have so many divergent styles of music popping up.

Matt Farrar  12:35

Does that mean that the advertising power there is the same? Does that mean it’s getting more powerful with that? document. Don’t watch that note. So

Joe Clements  12:44

on e of the issues that was created there was MTV had become so powerful by the end of the 90s. They were just pushing. They’re pushing music into every genre. Yeah. And so what they were doing, they keep like, you know, the, you know, the 20 year old, dude happy and the 12 year old girl happy is they were putting like limp biskit right next to in sync. And they’re able to do that they were able to force those things together because of the cultural influence they had at the time. And that was also influencing top 40 radio, and then there’s only a handful labels, so as much more consolidated. And so the issue of what’s happening right now is they tried to squish all these things together and put them into the same venue and it radically failed. Are you telling me that Atlanta is more sad opening for Metallica was not a good idea?

Matt Farrar  13:38

Isn’t it ironic?

Joe Clements  13:39

Don’t you think? A little too. So, and I don’t think you see that anymore. No One No One can really push. Not only the internet can surface these things and make them big specifically now probably Tick tock, maybe YouTube. Yeah. So nobody’s really like I’m sure Tick Tock can use the algorithm a little bit. I’m sure YouTube can use the algorithm a little bit. But basically, you either getting lucky because you’re hitting like this viral loop, especially now that touring is kind of not what it was two years ago, you’re hitting this viral loop viral loop on the internet, or you’re an act that already has enough fans and followers that you can use your audience to push things. Well,

Matt Farrar  14:20

let’s talk about them the two opposite ends of that spectrum, right. So you have somebody like BTS on one end of that spectrum. So butter, smooth, like it was like it. So NPR somebody sent a story around from NPR. The Hyundai Research Institute estimates that BTS brings roughly $5 billion to the South Korean economy each year. It’s a pretty bi

Joe Clements  14:46

Economic Development Study. So take that for what it’s worth.

Matt Farrar  14:51

It’s a band this podcast

Joe Clements  14:53

it’s an economic development study on a bay

Matt Farrar  14:55

seven dudes in a band.

Joe Clements  14:57

I paid the right guy $50,000 I can make an argument this podcast creates $100 million in value for the American economy. But nobody’s doing that. But I keep the $50,000.

Matt Farrar  15:09

Nonetheless, you have BTS on one end of that spectrum who, like we’ve talked about in previous episodes, executes the release of a new song and their video, and the instrumental tracks of that video, and the remixes, and all of those things that are needed for the marketing hype flawlessly, right, they’re all dropped on the same day, all of the hype leading up to that all of the marketing stories for the social media channels, all of those things, of course, because the band is owned by a publicly traded company, all of those things are executed perfectly. But then we go to another story I want to talk about, which is it’s not the opposite end of that spectrum because it wasn’t executed horribly. But Santana and Rob Thomas Yeah, this past week, released what was sort of a follow up to their 1996 hit,

Joe Clements  16:03

smooth and it it was like 9998

Matt Farrar  16:06

it was 99. Yeah, that’s what I said. 99

Joe Clements  16:08

I think said 90.

Matt Farrar  16:09

Oh, no, no, no, no. 9099 hit smooth. same year as the Woodstock No, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Jack Reid  16:13

Was he there?

Joe Clements  16:14

That’s a connection. That’s a synchronicity.

Matt Farrar  16:17

I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know if they play they’re not be I didn’t research it later. Um, so it is called move. And if you’ve you’ve heard it yet, there are some there are some definite vibes that are similar. It also includes the band American authors. Are they? I don’t know. Okay, everybody shrugging well,

Joe Clements  16:34

like, yeah, that that song then we talked about this, that song is basically written to have like that chorus be on like an intro and outro for 100%.

Matt Farrar  16:44

Yeah, no, it’s made to get some royalties for the fall sports seasons. And I agree, but here’s the thing, if they could have gotten it out, if if BMG music could have gotten it out, two months earlier, it could have been playing on every radio station for that exact demographic, which, by the way, fits into that category of age perfectly now, right?

Jack Reid  17:03

Yep. Yeah, our initial reaction was this should have been the song Yeah,

Matt Farrar  17:07

it should have been the song of the summer it should have been completed. Was there a song this summer that were uncouple Yeah, there were definitely a couple butter was definitely there competing for it.

Joe Clements  17:17

BDSM songs are real big now.

Matt Farrar  17:20

The the pitches say Justin Bieber’s peaches song was definitely competing for a song of the summer what else in but I got other suggestions Alex Kiersten for song of the summer last train home baby last train home definitely had a summer buys but it was a little a little slow for some of the summer This is serious then Alex what was it gives me more about edge cat

Joe Clements  17:45

did I’m just you know i’m i’m increasingly skeptical that any anybody has enough cultural heft to make anything the song of the summary more bad habits by Ed Sheeran? also

Jack Reid  17:57

probably a contender in there it swooped in to try and be that but not sure it execute

Joe Clements  18:01

I don’t think anything can be at anymore The media is too fragmented. The society is too fragmented at Where’s what what possible media platform is giving anybody enough half dude YouTube is still insane it Yeah, it’s insane. I agree that like insane

Matt Farrar  18:18

I agree. You’re not going to get universal agreement that it’s the song of the summer by by everyone around the world, but like there, you can try and there’s a lot of value in like competing. Like there are songs in the sauna years

Joe Clements  18:31

ago, where if you had a top 10 Top 40 radio hit at any given summer 70% of the population would recognize that you know what, like a huge growing demographic on Tick Tock

Matt Farrar  18:44

is right now though like it’s it’s moms right? Like it’s moms that are in a 35 to 54 year old age demographic. And you can’t tell me they would wouldn’t all love to be shaking their ass to the verge. Calm down Matt who the new version of smooth, smoother on Tick Tock smoother should have been called smoother, Smooth Move, move. Oh, yeah, you move. You move across a smooth surface.

Joe Clements  19:11

frictionless. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I look I can see where they could have marketed that better.

Matt Farrar  19:17

I don’t even music video for it.

Joe Clements  19:19

Yeah. Which is I don’t know how that’s my point. They don’t have a music video for

Matt Farrar  19:24

how did you not go out and shoot? Basically a I still

Joe Clements  19:28

think the sky similar,

Matt Farrar  19:30

like remake of the smooth video

Joe Clements  19:33

that I saw earlier this year was something like 37% of music streaming is still YouTube. Yes, I was just pulled up on my computer right now.

Jack Reid  19:43

But I think in a broader perspective, I think what people are looking for and this goes back to a lot of conversations we had, whether it be about Christmas last year or going to the movies or anything. People are looking for something to hang on to they’re looking for an anthem of COVID is Over, we’re back out in the world get that and I think if if Move, move, move, move smooth.

Matt Farrar  20:08

You’re gonna move along

Jack Reid  20:09

come out and it was like hey, it’s time to move it’s time to get back out go to the beach go hit the you know

Joe Clements  20:14

go to work in May or June

Jack Reid  20:16

yeah and it been like an anthem of getting back out of the house. Yeah, but it just didn’t and I don’t think any song is tried to do that yet yeah but I think that there is a market for a like an anthem of like just like every year there’s a song we talked about this this could be like the football song You know, that’s on before every game

Matt Farrar  20:32

and it’s gonna be like it’s a it’s a it’s supposed to be the lead up to a big thing like

Joe Clements  20:37

that album is wouldn’t surprise me if the media company that owns the that owns the company that produced that album that song. So one of the there’s like CBS Viacom

Matt Farrar  20:48

not well so it’s it’s BMG, who has BMG it’s a German like media conglomerate. So the Santana just signed on to do a full album that comes out in October. It’s big deal because he he signed on with a new record company with a new label. But I mean, they’re they’re a huge label. It’s not like they’re they’re small. I think their own partially by Sony.

Jack Reid  21:12

I’ve heard of them. Yeah. Yeah.

Matt Farrar  21:14

They’re there. Us officers are in Nashville, I believe. Anyways, it there’s a lot of collaborations on the album. I think there’s one or two country artists that are on the album that comes out in October. But, you know, that’s obviously Santana style, because he doesn’t sing. He just plays guitar. So there’s always a lot of collaborations. But, you know, to have, you know, kind of kicked it off with one of his most famous collaborations of the last, you know, 25 years.

Jack Reid  21:40

Yeah, it’s the it’s the greatest sitting on your front porch having a beer song of our generation. Yeah.

Joe Clements  21:47

Yeah, I was too young to have a beer. And that song came out jack. You can have one now has one, I can literally just go have one right now. You’re right. You can? It’s 3pm.

Jack Reid  21:57

In America.

Joe Clements  21:58

Yeah. Man, land of the free. Home of the porch. Yeah, I’m just gonna go back to my point that like, they could have definitely having not having a video is a huge mistake there. But like, it’s just never going to be like it was in terms of pushing something into like popular knowledge.

Matt Farrar  22:17

Well, we talked about this on an episode a few weeks ago. And it’s just interesting. And I think you see some record labels adjusting to this. And you see some artists adjusting to this. And you see, there’s not obviously john mayer has adjusted to this really well. And I don’t know what his like. And by the way, we have a friend of mine who works who’s worked with john mayer that we should probably get on for a future episode to talk about this. But one of things john mayer was doing after he stopped intentionally making top 40 music is he was just doing like john mayer trio stuff. blues guitar, Grateful Dead.

Joe Clements  22:51

Yeah, great. It was just like tours with the touring small music clubs. So what I think he got to look at there is like very niche, hardcore music fans. What were they into? What were they interested in? And has been able to bootstrap that up into like this?

Jack Reid  23:06

Yes. He also and just from a from a technical perspective of like, he remember he tore his or blew out his vocal cords. At one point he couldn’t sing for several years. I didn’t know that. Yep. And so that was a reason for a shift in his album, like his whole approach to recording an album too. He picked up and moved I think, Montana or Colorado, and he’s been out there soon. So his whole approach to recording and selling an album has been different since continuum really,

Matt Farrar  23:31

okay. Yeah, we I didn’t know that. You know, also, I think you’ve seen the approach just adapt musically to something that’s really important to him. You saw the Dolby Atmos features in Apple Music, come out at launch. And then he didn’t like them. He did not like the way they sounded. So he had them pulled from the store. And then he got involved in the remastering of a new Dolby Atmos version. And then had it rereleased to the Apple Music Store under his supervision, right. So like when you have that level of artists detail caring about the sound. That’s part of the marketing. Yeah. Because the Dolby Atmos experience, all of those little things that Apple now adds into this. I don’t think most people care about or notice. Yeah, but the high end like consumer does care about right. Yeah, that is a that is a segment of the listening experience, maybe 5% of Apple’s consumer base, and that segment crosses over probably women. Definitely, because they’ll lose cars. Yeah.

Jack Reid  24:33

And that segment crosses over with mayor’s audience pretty heavily. What we’re seeing though, is a return to LPs right? Like apples taken several stabs at this they at one point they had like albums curated specifically as an LP where you could download the album and it like opened up and you could see the artwork on the inside and all that stuff. And that just didn’t work because it was just trying to replicate what had been done in the past. Yeah, what you’re seeing now is complete marketing package. Have an album. It’s not necessarily artwork, but it’s a series of videos. It’s behind the scenes stuff. Yeah, it’s motion, motion album art covers, which is huge now. And it’s, it’s little things like that, that connect you back to the album and make you want to listen to it all the way through.

Joe Clements  25:14

Let’s finish with this exercise because I think we’re running up on time. If you are launching for unknown act, not a huge act, not a mega x, but not an unknown act, you’re launching for unknown act in six months. So you’re launching, let’s call it February of next year. What are you doing? What What is your strategy to position that? That album or that set of songs to be his

Matt Farrar  25:38

focus, grouping their hardcore fans? And then taking the things that those fans like the most the experiences that those fans care about? What do they like most about the live shows? What do they like most about the previous albums? What do they care most about the music experiences? Is that the guitar solos? Is it the vocal solos, right? What pieces of the music do they care about? That’s what we’re turning into the experiences of the marketing that they’re going to I’d go even deeper,

Joe Clements  26:06

I’d also want to get into like, what are they interested in now? What are anxieties? What are hellions? Yeah,

Matt Farrar  26:12

yeah, no, what, what makes their psychology work? Absolutely. I’m

Jack Reid  26:15

thinking, I have a specific example in mind. And it’s a band that I think is a hill to climb to come back and release a new album. And that’s Mumford and Sons. Their last two albums have been really fantastic and great, but they’ve been conceptual rock albums, rather than their traditional style of music. They’ve lost their banjo player. So their next album, they’ve lost their banjo player under some controversy. Yeah, their next album is going to take a lot of focus groups, their next album is going to take a hard look at what type of music they want to release for their fans. And whether or not it’s going to be sustainable for them moving forward. And then they’ve also got to do all of that. And then they’ve got to do what like john mayer, and the killers and Ed Sheeran are doing and selling a complete package to their, their core fan base, and then still bringing in other people.

Matt Farrar  27:03

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s just like when we talk about a marketing project for a client around here, right? There’s there’s different core audiences, there’s different segments. And just like when we’re building an ad campaign, we have to target those segments differently with different with different metrics and different parameters. You have to do that in the album marketing too, right? So for your your most hardcore listeners, like you have to treat that marketing a different way. And that’s, you know, the Dolby Atmos experience. And that’s the little, you know, that’s the little easter eggs in the animated album covers. And that’s things like that, but then that’s a completely different experience. From what bringing a new listener, I

Joe Clements  27:42

could tell you, what I what I would do with it. Yeah,

Matt Farrar  27:44

let’s hear.

Joe Clements  27:46

So, you know, once I had a little bit that focus group information, the next thing I’d start to do, is I’d start to position the act in the media has somebody has an angle on something, yeah, pick this something they have an angle on when we know it’s, you know, is it relationships? Is it exactly like, you know, is it fish, they got to know the audience, and then now they have an angle on it, they’re going to talk about whatever their next single is gonna come out. And then we’re gonna do the non explicitly music related podcast and do some of that media, get the social media piece warmed up. And then I know, I’m going to need two or three swings, to try and see if I can get a single to connect, I’m not going to try and drop the single with the album. So between now and like February, what I’m going to try to do is I’m going to try and just drop a couple of one off singles to see if I can triangulate where I need to be musically, it’ll keep the hardcore fans excited. And it might, you know, give me some escape. And I’ll always be able to tease that the album’s coming. Yeah, each time one runs out, if it’s the right sort of fan base, you know, may try and NF T’s, you know, sort of deal on album art, or, you know, issue an NF t against like meeting the Act. The other thing I do, especially if it’s an act that’s been around for a while, and the fan base is, you know, late 20s or older, is, I would sell, I would go to very small venues, and I would sell expensive tickets, you know, one to $2,000 per ticket, where there’s only 100 people in the venue, and you’re meeting the act like you’re there with them, you’re sitting close for the performance you’re taking, you know, they’re answering questions. And so I would sell those experiences and evening with experience. Correct. Basically

Jack Reid  29:31

dating your fan base? Yep,

Joe Clements  29:33

yes. Correct. Yeah. And,

Matt Farrar  29:36

and like, after that experience, you offer them like, oh, by the way, we videotaped tonight’s performance, and you can order like, you know, digital copy of that for $100. Here’s the code to do that. If you want to check out

Joe Clements  29:51

Yep, correct. You know, maybe try the VR thing we’ve talked about where you go buy a VR ticket to one of those for you know, 100 or $200. And then as I’m pushing into the main album release like I’m not counting on that main album release to be everything I’m counting on it to be probably a midpoint in a campaign where I’ve been building interest building Andrew has had some singles had some touring album release happens kick the media campaign up to a slightly higher gear I think the I think the concept stuff john mayer did is is smart I you know, I think the art I think bands from what I can tell still kind of overlook, they don’t overlook the album art but they overlook the merch in some cases. Oh, so yeah, I got a really high end with some of the merch available.

Matt Farrar  30:38

Yeah, no, I

Jack Reid  30:39

like it. We started talking here the them that john mayer, several other bands have been kind of upping that game and releasing their albums on CDs. If you remember those and compact discs and vinyl bands that typically don’t offer vinyl have started offering it to kind of feel that, you know, they have they know their fans have there’s a niche audience in their fan base. One vinyl, right?

Matt Farrar  31:05

Yeah, and I think something that probably more artists should consider doing is looking at their merge as more of a you know, not just a poster for their tour or for their band name or for their you know, musician name, but also as more of, you know, cultural or artistic. That’s

Joe Clements  31:23

one of the thing I do is I’d I’d find a collab. Yeah, maybe two collabs where there’s a younger audience and I’m getting, you know, I’m getting them to an older audience. That’s

Matt Farrar  31:32

a great point. Yeah. Especially if it’s a collaboration where you can partner with an artist who also does a limited edition NF t that goes along with Yeah, you know, I mean, there’s all sorts of cool like,

Joe Clements  31:46

this is like, novel in the music industry. Right. This is all been done before. I think what’s not in the music industry

Matt Farrar  31:53

is getting a consistent playbook together is

Joe Clements  31:56

not thinking about things in terms of launch the album and then tour on it for two years. Yeah, it’s thinking in terms of like, get the act relevant. Again, culturally introduced songs length dial in an album, you’re almost a B testing songs as you’re releasing them. Yeah. Then you release the album. And then maybe you are for some time,

Matt Farrar  32:16

getting artists comfortable with not feeling like that is pandering or disrupting their creative process, right? Like you’re not it. Because if you if you explain that in the wrong way, artists are going to feel like you’re trying to focus group and their creative process or their songs and that’s not really what you’re trying to tell them to

Joe Clements  32:35

like sturgill Simpson or Tyler Childers. Yeah,

Matt Farrar  32:38

I don’t know how it shows you. But I just seem to do right. It’s

Joe Clements  32:41

not to it’s not top 40 platform country.

Jack Reid  32:44

Yeah, it’s a whole country.

Joe Clements  32:45

It’s all country. It’s

Matt Farrar  32:47

arguably real country.

Joe Clements  32:50

Something that can’t work on radio, right? But is huge. On the internet. Sure. It has huge fan bases.

Matt Farrar  32:58

Post Malone did a hell of a job singing Sturgill Simpson.

Joe Clements  33:01

Yeah. And so I think that is where you want to move x into, because I think that also for a career, top 40 radio, whether it’s country, whatever the format is very hard to stay in. There’s always something newer, going outside of top 40 radio, and just looking at a relatively large niche fan base is a great place to build a career. And it gives you opportunities every few years and in what you saw during the pandemic, because if artists are just sitting at home and not touring, they can just pump out content, correct? Well, you know, how many hours Taylor Swift really, you

Jack Reid  33:33

just hit on something that I was gonna say, and this will be just my last point on this. But the are you familiar with the band bleachers, or the artist bleachers? He said, yeah, that guy, he really he just released new album. It’s fantastic. But they’re half of the album sounds like that I want to get better. The other half sounds like maybe Bruce Springsteen, more singer songwriter. He was in the process of making that album during COVID. And he said that he had to switch his production and songwriting and everything, based around the fact that he needed to make music that he may never get to perform live again. And he started looking at his album completely differently. And I feel like that’s what we Yes, john mayer that’s what we’ve seen from a couple other artists that they’re releasing music. They don’t know if they’re gonna ever be able to perform one of these songs. You don’t have an audience and so they’re making the and package

Joe Clements  34:23

you don’t have to also because the cost of recording has come down. Yes, they don’t. They don’t just have to record every two years. Yes, they can. assuming they’re not on the road all the time. They can be recording and releasing all time. That’s why I think sturgill Simpson just had an album come out last week, which is this whole like ballad Yeah. And I think he’s on his like, third album in two years solid of dude and Juanita

Jack Reid  34:45

Yeah, yeah.

Joe Clements  34:46

So I mean, you have also this effect where like, maybe for the artists not having to tour as much actually allows them to have more swings at the Bat to hit big songs. I can make more and more.

Matt Farrar  34:58

Yeah, I completely agree. Yep.

Jack Reid  35:00

And and refined the music to, like you saw with john mayer. He had the opportunity to refine his music. How

Joe Clements  35:06

many artists doesn’t want released last year?

Jack Reid  35:09

At least three?

Matt Farrar  35:10

I mean, three, what artists doesn’t want the opportunity to put out more music? Yeah, right. I mean,

Joe Clements  35:18

yeah. Well, look, man, this is an interesting question, right? Um, it’s probably too philosophical for this podcast. But like, there’s nothing

Matt Farrar  35:25

philosophical for this podcast is

Joe Clements  35:27

the performance and maybe it differs by the by the act, but is the performance aspect what the app wants to do? Or is the creative aspect what the act wants do? And right, yeah, we’re gonna find is the performers are kind of screwed. Yeah, the, the creators are probably going to do really well, in an environment where touring is, you know, iffy and venues are more limited and things like that. Because part of like, if you’re a good performer, you can lean on the performance and get away with a lot of suboptimal stuff in the music.

Matt Farrar  35:57

Well, it depends on if you’re a performer that just wants to perform or if you’re one that has to have a there’s x with both, yeah, that like has to have the, like instant gratification of an audience clapping for you, right, because you’ve also seen some really cool performances from

Joe Clements  36:13

people putting out videos.

Matt Farrar  36:14

Yeah, from groups that were, you know, doing live broadcasts that were incredible performances that had no audiences in front of them that, you know, they clearly needed to have that energy and do that live performance, but you know, yeah, yeah. didn’t have to do it in front of a live crowd.

Joe Clements  36:30

What we’re looking at on time, Alex? Kiersten looks like she’s about to fall asleep.

Matt Farrar  36:34

Oh, we’re like three hours or so now? Yeah.

Jack Reid  36:36

Yeah, I think that’s gonna do it. All right. All right.

Matt Farrar  36:38

Take us out. Yeah. As always, we appreciate you joining us today on the podcast record. If you enjoyed today’s episode on your favorite podcast, app choice give us a rating a review helps more people discover the show and when more people discover the show, that makes us happy. We like to be happy. If you’re watching on YouTube. Give us I don’t know what a subscription that’s what we want. Yeah, we want to like we want a subscription on YouTube. Thanks for stopping by. See you next week. Of Record is hosted and produced by me, Matt Farrar, Joe Clements, and Rebecca Romero, with producer Alex Reinhard. Of Record is recorded at Grey Bridge Studios in Tallahassee, Florida. This episode was edited by producer Alex Reinhard. Our theme music is composed and performed by Rob Gokee. Special thanks to our entire team at SDS here in Tallhassee. You can see more information about the show at our website, As always, we’d appreciate your reviews and ratings in your podcast app of choice. Those ratings and reviews help more people discover the show which helps us keep delivering quality content each week. Thanks for listening.