Marketing Moves-Tips for Caribbean Musicians -#1 CREATE AN EXPERIENCE
This is the first of an ongoing series on marketing tips that most dominant musical brands of the Caribbean use to distinguish themselves in the market.
The music industry is ever evolving. Distribution channels consistently change, the popular genre of music for a season is always changing, the way that music is marketed forever changes. But there are some things that remain the same. The brands and music that stand the test of time all seem to share common traits. In our current age of excess technology and information, it has become that more difficult for artistes to really break through barriers and grab attention. Listeners are bombarded from multiple angles because information surrounds us, social media posts engulf us and we have intimate access to almost everyone and everything our hearts and minds are curious about.
As a marketing professional in the industry for over a decade and a half, I have continued to track those changes and have identified the artistes that continue to stay ahead of the curve in spite of. As I observe the evolution of Caribbean artistes, as they become more business savvy in their bid to get international recognition, I rely on my marketing training to view their work through a dual lens. The first is to enjoy the music and artiste for what they add to the landscape. The second is to view the music and the artistes as a brand that is positioning itself to own a space in listener’s minds that transcends what is popular for the day. From my perspective, the Caribbean artistes that create a strong and recognizable brand all seem to focus on these specific activities.
They Create an Experience, Not Just Music
I am an unashamed music concert chaser. I have been across the globe and back pursuing Caribbean music concerts. My first exposure to a life changing one was in those dreary, culturally deprived days living in Durham, North Carolina. It should be no surprise that when I saw a reggae concert flyer advertising a Buju Banton concert, my heart actually started palpitating. I was utterly confused and excited as I bought my ticket. Over fifteen years later, it still remains as one of the top 10 best experiences of my life. At that concert, Buju Banton was on a wheelchair having broken his foot prior to going on tour. That did not stop him at all. He delivered. He worked that crowd for every single hour that he was on that stage like I never experienced before. I was a moderate Buju Banton fan before that concert. Post- concert, I had purchased every single Buju Banton album, was signed up for updates on new music releases and concert tours, would drive over ten (10) hours to see him perform and was totally and utterly devastated when he was arrested.
I would be remiss if I did not mention one of the soca greats, Machel Montano, as another artiste dedicated to giving his fans a complete experience. Any one who has been to the well branded ‘Machel Monday‘ concert during the Carnival season in Trinidad and Tobago knows that Machel does not simply sing. Machel takes his fans on a journey through his entire discography that has them panting his name and asking for more throughout the entire show. What sets this concert apart from others during the season, is the punctuation of acts from throughout the soca arena as well as other genres of music. Machel pays tribute to the elders in the industry, shines the light on new and upcoming talent while making sure that his fans remember the indelible stamp he has has left in the music world as well. He executes this with precisely chosen props, lighting and production. It would be a wonder if anyone left the National Stadium of Trinidad and Tobago without feeling totally exhausted, satiated and on a soca high for the rest of the Carnival season. Tarrus Riley evokes similar feelings of euphoria with his performances. Tarrus tells a story with his music, engages the audience completely, uses his band and lighting as his main props and leaves the audience hanging on to his every word.
It’s a musical experience, it’s an emotional experience, it’s an unforgettable experience.
Caribbean artistes should never underestimate the value of a well delivered concert-it can change a moderate fan into a fanatic (in a good way) , it helps to create an undeniable brand which can equal to increased sales and overall brand recognition.
Stay tuned for our second Marketing Tip coming up…….
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list of Caribbean music acts, but, a sampling from the author’s personal experiences.
SOUND OFF: Name the best concert from a Caribbean Musician that you have Experienced
MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.