Marketing is harder these days thanks to the internet

There are times when I want to scream at the screen of my computer.  I am frequently faced with controlling this impulse, especially when I read a diatribe written by a 22 year old about how the web has made it so that marketing messages nobody cares about don’t work anymore.

My mind starts spinning, and I’m certain my head is following suite.  "The internet hasn’t changed how marketing works!  People have ALWAYS ignored slickly presented messages no one cares about."  What has changed is the fact that the internet HAS provided marketing professionals the opportunity to watch those bored and uninterested visitors leave in droves.

But then, a recent conversation with my 17 year old son has enlightened me.  Perhaps the internet HAS changed the way marketing works.  After all, it has changed DRASTICALLY the way music is marketed. 

Long ago, in the days before MP3 players…. in the days even before the internet… when the world was cold and we killed sabre toothed tigers for food and clothing…we were limited in the way we could obtain music for our own listening pleasure.  We could choose to listen to a radio station play our favorite songs or, we could take the leap and purchase the music so we could listen to what we wanted, when we wanted to listen.

Oh sure, it’s still BASICALLY the same today… except you have a LOT more choices.  Those additional choices have DRASTICALLY changed the way music is marketed. 

Back in the old days, if you were going to purchase a single song, you bought a 45 rpm vinyl record.  (45’s were smaller versions of albums and were played on a turntable…. you know, like the rappers use today.  I have actually HAD this conversation with my children by the way!)  When you purchased this 45, you got a BONUS song on the back.  If you wanted access to MORE than those two songs, you purchased the album. 

Albums were pieces of vinyl offering a dozen or more songs, including those songs offered as "singles".  However, true fans would always purchase the album so they would have access to songs not available to just everyone.  Back in those days, to demonstrate your love of a musician or group, you would reference a great song included on the album but never released on a 45. 

Then came the internet… and it wasn’t illegal file sharing that changed the face of marketing and music. 


In the old days, if you wanted access to a song that wasn’t available on a single, you had to purchase the entire album.  People would purchase albums just to own a single song… but that was the old days. 

Now, if you want to won a song, you can do so with a single download, and THAT is changing the face of music.

When a band was interviewed and asked why it had been so long between albums, they responded with the acknowledgement that in the music business today, every song on the album has to be great.  Otherwise people will simply download the "good" songs and not download the "bad" ones.  If, of the 12 songs on your album, only 2 "connect"… today’s music consumer is able to download those 2 "good" songs for as little as .89 each instead of popping for $13.48 for the entire album.

Ah, the days of releasing a single to act as "bait" to drive album sales is quickly coming to a close.

It’s not only affecting the music industry, but everyone else as well. 

In the end, people will ALWAYS, I repeat, ALWAYS yawn and turn away when you present a marketing message that doesn’t connect.  However, what the internet HAS done is to provide not only a way for advertisers to watch them yawn… it’s also given consumers more choice.   Not only do they have more choices, but consumers also have a voice.