Digital product marketing, does it always work?

Digital product marketing, does it always work?
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Well, just like last week here is another blog that involves a recording artist. This week we focus on their digital product marketing. Have you heard of the music streaming and download site Tidal? If so, I am guessing it has more to do with the publicity it has received due to Kanye West’s decision to release his new album exclusively through the service than anything else. That is right; Kanye West gave Tidal the exclusive on his new album.

Why would he do this in the first place?

So why would a well known recording artist release a record on a little known online streaming and downloading site? I suspect the answer is because his friend Jay Z was involved in the founding of the company, and prior to the Kanye album they had very few users when compared to their competitors. What I am saying is that Jay Z used the Kanye West album exclusive in an attempt to make the site viable.

How did this digital product marketing campaign do?

I read an article on TMZ saying that the number of users on Tidal has doubled since the Kanye West record was released; so it seems as though it has been effective. The article went on to say that the record has been successful enough that Kanye is considering a second release that may include a physical product. I interpret this as a nice way of saying we did not generate enough income from Tidal to keep the album there exclusively.   It has been reported that in the weeks that the album has been exclusively on tidal that it was illegally downloaded millions of times. I understand the concept of using the exclusive to make the brand successful, but it takes a very specific set of circumstances for it to work, and I think we lack the circumstances in this case. What is going to happen to all of those users that signed up specifically for the Kanye album? In my opinion, they will not be Tidal users for long unless a similar sounding artist with the same target market releases another exclusive very soon. Oh, and then another one after that and so on and so forth. They will not stick around unless Tidal has an advantage over their competition.  If it did, it would have been successful in the first place.

Why would his label allow a digital product marketing campaign like this?

Here is another good question. Where was Kanye’s record label on this one? How did they allow him to release the album exclusively through an unproven service? Where were they immediately after the release, when sales were low and illegal downloading was high? I hate to say it, but I miss the good old days when the record labels had iron clad contracts that would prevent artists from making such a potentially dangerous decision. Kanye’s new record was released on GOOD Music, his own label. If you follow the trail, it leads to Def Jam and then Universal. It is shocking to me that Universal was ok with this exclusive. I will give it a few weeks, before I consider declaring this a digital product marketing failure on the part of both Tidal and Kanye West, but the minute that record becomes available outside of Tidal, I will be there to say……FAIL. Learn more about our Media Business program