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  This is US-based data, and each pie represents 100% of total recording revenue. And, here are the individual year source images, starting with 1973 on the top left and 2014 on the bottom right.  Each image was created by the RIAA, using their shipments and revenue database.   More
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Last Updated on Monday, 13 April 2015 02:01
healthcare_4_devices_desktop_2xApple and IBM’s partnership that has the companies working together to produce enterprise-friendly apps has expanded yet again with the addition of eight more apps designed for iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad, bringing the total number of MobileFirst apps up to now 22. The new apps are focused on the healthcare and industrial products industries, following prior announcements that saw the release of apps specific to banking and finance, travel and transportation, energy and utilities, law enforcement, retail, insurance, and more. IBM confirms there wasn’t a formal announcement about the new releases this time around as in the past, because it’s planning to go into more detail about a selection of the healthcare-related apps at the HiMSS conference taking place later this month. Of the eight new apps, the healthcare ones are perhaps some of the more interesting ones to be revealed. For example, one app, the Hospital RN app for iPhone, is working to reduce the operational costs associated with managing patient information by connecting with a hospital’s own systems, while also allowing its users to manage patient info, including discharges, right from the iPhone. And it works with Apple’s iBeacon technology in order to identify patient rooms then display the relevant patient data based on proximity. Continue Reading: TechCrunch More
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Last Updated on Monday, 13 April 2015 01:46

This article was originally published in Brand Quarterly.

In the summer of 2014 Pinterest unveiled its much-anticipated business model, Promoted Pins. The company recruited around twenty beta partners, such as Target, Kraft, General Motors and Expedia, each of which invested significant dollars to get first taste of this new media channel. Six months later on January 1st, 2015 Pinterest announced that the program was a success and that it would expand. Something must have worked. Our company had a chance to work directly with a significant percentage of the beta partner marketers. We worked with brands to set strategy, source content, and optimize pins. While specific results are proprietary data, Pinterest has started to share impressive numbers publicly. Through our work with brands’ earned Pinterest accounts over the past two years, we have also learned several lessons on what it takes to succeed in this exciting new media. Marketing Must Be Meaningful Easily the number one lesson from Pinterest is that informative and useful pins are the key to winning on the platform. People use Pinterest to find inspiration and ideas, so marketers win by offering content that meets these needs. In fact, according to Pinterest, a majority of all pins come from businesses. These are not ads and product images, but useful content such as recipes from a food brand or lip-gloss looks from a makeup product. On Pinterest, brands can be more trusted and appreciated than content from other sources. If you look at the collection of Promoted Pins on this board, you will see that marketing messages take a second priority to ideas and inspiration. Financial services companies do not pay to pin their loan rates, but instead share tips on how to plan for buying a home. Travel brands do not pay to pin airfares, but instead share tips on what to see in Thailand. Our experience suggests that including branding on a pin is neutral to positive, but make sure you are delivering added value first. Re-Pin Rate is the Prime KPI Since success on Pinterest comes from delivering value, the best way to judge the performance of a pin is the number and percentage of people who chose to re-pin it. Getting a re-pin is very powerful; it combines the best features of a search (sends traffic) and social (drives shares). In our experience, Pinterest’s re-pin rate is highly correlated with the click-thru rate, so optimizing for one tends to get to the other as well. There are various ways to judge re-pin performance. This is straight-forward with a promoted pin buy, as Pinterest reports the percentage of people who saw a pin and chose to re-pin. If you are just looking at activity from your brand’s earned activity this is a bit tougher, as total pin impressions are not reported. In these situations we prefer to look at the number of re-pins (the number you see tallied on the pin itself), divided by the total followers of a Pinterest account. While less precise, followers can be a way to estimate initial impressions. Earned Activity Informs Paid Success Many promoted pin beta brands had been active on the platform for months or years by the time they launched a paid campaign. They discovered that frequent pinning allows the best content to bubble to the top and be worthy of promotion. Our research shows that 18% of pins drive 80% of engagement on Pinterest, meaning the best content gets viral-like growth. As a result, advanced brands pin often across a variety of content to let the most successful pins rise to the top. Interestingly, you do not have to own a massive amount of content in order to be highly active and gather insights to maximize results. Active Pinterest marketers pin to external content multiple times a day across their boards. By watching how their Pinterest audiences react to this external content, they can see what is resonating and then direct their creative content resources accordingly for branded pins. Paid Drives an Earned Bonus Perhaps the least-publicized but most amazing benefit of Pinterest is that it is the first marketing platform where paid media can lead to a massive amount of earned activity. In other social media, like Facebook or Twitter, sharing is a secondary user choice; we read the promoted item and must choose to click a share button. But with Pinterest, a social share automatically happens whenever something is pinned to a personal board. According to Pinterest, promoted pins saw an average 30% bonus in earned (free!) impressions. Since that’s just an average, it suggests that companies that work hard to optimize can see even stronger results. Even better, this earned bonus does not stop when your Pinterest campaign ends. The pins you promote at scale continue to sit on thousands of people’s boards. Traffic and re-pins continue weeks, months and even years later. Your effective CPM keeps dropping and ROI keeps rising with promoted pins. Little Things Mean a Lot When you closely examine Pinterest from the consumer’s perspective, you learn that it is much more of a search tool than a social media platform. People decide to open the Pinterest app when they are looking for ideas and planning for projects. They frequently type into the prominent search box at the top of the Pinterest app. Even when scrolling through our home feeds, we are unconsciously scanning images and descriptions for relevant needs. Just like search engine optimization, successful Pinterest optimization depends on attention to the little things that mean a lot. Marketers that win take the time to crop images, carefully craft pin copy, and ensure their mobile landing pages are optimized—after all, 75% or more of the traffic from Pinterest is mobile. ROI is a Work in Progress Probably the biggest challenge for marketers is that return on investment with Pinterest is still a work-in-progress. For ecommerce companies it can have a noticeable impact, but others still need to fit it within their measurement programs. The good news is that Pinterest connects with consumers across the purchase funnel, and people use the platform with high intent to buy. One mistake is to immediately throw Pinterest into the direct response budget and compare last click economics. The problem here is that people often see your brand content months before buying, but most marketers lack long-term purchase measures. Another error is to assume that the CPM price of Pinterest should be the same as a programmatic banner ad buy. People want to interact with your brand content on Pinterest, while banner ads are wallpaper at best and interruptive at worst. As any salesperson can tell you, this warm content lead is much more valuable than a cold call pitch list. In addition to the fascinating lessons of how paid pinning performs, we learned that the Pinterest partnership team is passionate about marketing. While some startups look at advertising as a necessary evil, Pinterest has built a team of brand strategists that are looking far beyond how many media dollars they can book this month. This commitment to partnership with agencies and brands is key for long-term success of the platform. The year ahead will be a big one for Pinterest. The company recently announced new advertising features, such as more precise targeting and access to intent data. Now could be time for your brand to apply these lessons and begin the learning journey. Bob Gilbreath is co-founder and President of Ahalogy, a leading Pinterest marketing company, and author of  The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect With Your Customers By Marketing with Meaning. Follow him on Twitter. More
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Last Updated on Friday, 10 April 2015 06:41
All customers are not created equal. This is also true for relationships. No business has the same relationship with their customers as you intend to have with yours. The thing is though, you must first define what a relationship with your customer looks and feels like and in turn, how they would describe it to their friends and colleagues. This is where the future of customer experience begins. At a time when technology is affecting how people go through life, one thing is becoming clear, everything is changing and that also affects the business of business. At the same time, technology is introducing new opportunities to improve customer relationships and ultimately the experiences we want them to have and share. In fact, I’d say that as crazy as all this new stuff is (social media, mobile apps, smart watches, smart phones, smart cars, smart appliances, wearable computers, virtual reality, etc.), companies now have the opportunity to become more human and more relevant than ever before. Every one of these new technologies provides us with greater insights into customer behaviors and aspirations. We can better know our customers, appreciate their expectations and in turn, deliver more personal and valuable customer experiences.  The challenge is that we have to want to and we need to do things differently in order to do so. The good news is that consumer technology isn’t the only sector undergoing great innovation and disruption. Innovation is also underway in the world of enterprise software. Now well-intended businesses have the technology that facilitates improved customer relationships and experiences. Again, businesses will have want to make investments in innovation to do so. Continue reading via More
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Last Updated on Monday, 13 April 2015 01:36
One question you hear a lot in digital media has to do with advice: in a world where over 100,000 Twitter accounts identify themselves as “social media gurus”, how do you know who to listen to? The answer is to stop looking to individuals who boast their expertise, and focus instead on gatherings of professionals. If you’re based in Toronto, here are the top 5 reasons to attend this year’s Digital Media Summit. Get Tips On LinkedIn from LinkedIn If there’s one keynote I’m looking forward to more than any other at this year’s Digital Media Summit, it’s Jason Miller’s ‘How to Achieve Face-Melting Content Marketing ROI’. The senior manager of content marketing and social media didn’t say he’d say “good” metrics, or “great” results, he said face-melting ROI. LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools in a social media marketer’s arsenal, and regardless of your industry, your company page and profiles are of the utmost importance to business development. Jason will share real world examples and real time results which will generate the very thing I go to conferences like this for: actionable takeaways. Get Insights Your Vendors Won’t Tell You When it comes to social media services, software and support, there is no shortage of vendors in the space. It can be hard determining which is really right for your business, and how many of those bells and whistles you’re going to take advantage of on a regular basis. Polling your colleagues is one of the best ways to learn about new technology, and how they’re getting around common pain points. We can’t blame vendors for selling us a pretty picture, but we have to be smarter with our marketing dollars to drive results. Understand Crisis Management Before You Need To One of the top searches on my website is “what to do in social media crisis”. I wonder how many of these proactive queries rather than someone under fire are in the moment. In any case, it’s a great idea to have an understanding of how to handle a social media crisis before you’re faced with one. This panel headlined by leaders at Microsoft, Royal Caribbean Cruises and MLSE will shed some much needed light on the topic, from brands that have fought the good fight from the trenches. Up Your Native Advertising IQ Having worked at Canada’s largest daily newspaper for the past year leading a division from a Digital Strategy perspective, I can tell you that “native advertising” has gone from a buzz word, to one of the most heavily debated content marketing topics today. Whether you’re for or against it and how it’s being used, there has never been more need to understand what native advertising is, and how sites like Buzzfeed are harnessing its power to super-charge their content strategies. If you work in the traditional media space, this is a must-attend. Get Connected to Each Other By far my favourite part of attending events like this is engaging with my peers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown my hands up in the air upon hearing a fellow Social Media Manager shares my pain in some way. The bottom line is: events like these open doors and start conversations that you would otherwise never have. It is information-sharing in its purest form, and I’ve taken away (and implemented) many ‘work hacks’ from chatting with my industry peers. A good amount of us even keep the conversation going long after, and look for similar events where we can once again reconnect. Social media is a tough space to work in: when these candid conversations happen organically online, there’s a good chance someone is trying to sell you something. Use gatherings of your peers to get the advice you need from those who’ve been in your shoes. The Digital Media Summit takes place on May 7th at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto and I hope to see you there! Read more from Adam Rodrick via his blog HERE. More
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Last Updated on Monday, 13 April 2015 01:36

From King Arthur, to Dorothy in her ruby slippers, to the unlikely hero of Professor Robert Langdon inThe Da Vinci Code, legions of characters have found themselves on the quest to uncover the unknown, the solution to the core question of their time. For marketers, the question had fundamentally always been how could an advertisement be crafted so to be so hyper-targeted to a consumer’s wants and needs that it would fundamentally seem as though it were speaking directly to the consumer in question.

And then January 2007 came and Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone – a multi-function smartphone that, through a previously unimagined user experience, enabled consumers to interact with the world around them. This was it. This was marketers’ Holy Grail. We salivated thinking of the potential that this handheld device had – one day, we dreamed that we would be able to target consumers directly outside stores with promotions on the products and services that were only footsteps away! How much more personal could we get than to actually speak to consumers based on the precise location they were in? We waited patiently. Slowly over the next years, we walked along the yellow brick road as a critical mass of consumers adopted smartphones (regardless of the platform), a number of publishers converted their desktop sites to usable mobile versions and technology advanced to allow banner ads to be delivered against an individual’s specific latitude/longitude. And then suddenly in 2012, like a perfect storm, it all started to come together as suppliers started to ping me to present how they had cracked the code and were now able to deliver hyper-local targeting.

Without hesitation, I called up a contact at an international retailer and asked whether they’d be interested in running a hyper-local test with us. Without a second thought, we found ourselves deep in the designs of a test construct whereby we were building geo-zones around 5 stores in the Greater Toronto Area. The plan was that, with the help of a market research firm, we would match consumer (demographic) interests to each of the postal codes found in the 5 geo-zones. Next, we would deliver a banner promoting savings on the correlated products outside each of the stores. For 2 weeks, we gleefully pushed millions of impressions to the webpages that smartphone users were generating in and around the retailer’s locations. The result: click-through rates that were moderately above industry benchmarks (0.57% CTR). It felt as though we had finally made it to Emerald City and ripped back the curtains to discover that The Wizard was little more than a really short AV geek.

We struggled with the results for weeks. What could have gone wrong? Did we not buy enough impressions on the mobile exchange? Was our creative not compelling enough? Was our geo-zone too small? Was our geo-zone too big?

While some truth likely lies in each of our doubts, the real problem with our initial test was that we had somehow moved away from what our original intent had been: to deliver ads that the user felt were speaking directly to him/her. The smartphone users that saw our ad already knew where the store locations were and that the products/services offered were priced at unbeatable price points. Our banners added little value to what they already knew or, frankly, against what they wanted to know at that specific time. Suddenly it all made sense. All of the hyper-local targeting suppliers who had been ringing me were going about it all wrong. By pushing brand messaging to consumers outside retail locations, they were assuming that passersby hadn’t seen the flashing branding in the storefront windows. By delivering hyper-targeted messaging within the brick-and-mortar locations, they somehow believed that the small 320×50 mobile ad would somehow deliver more punch than the flashy promotional offers that stood on the tables in front of the consumer. To truly go about mobile targeting differently and add consumer value, we needed to think differently. We needed to start targeting consumers with relevant advertising when and where they would most want and need the advertised offerings.

With this, we developed the notion of “Lifestyle Zones”: targeting audiences of consumers depending on their location but also their motivations given the time of day and their environmental surroundings.  We sent out 5 differentiated creatives that spoke to varying consumer intentions depending on weather and time. Across the board, they delivered substantially higher than the industry benchmark and our previous test. The banner that we sent to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver’s business districts that nudged consumers to go to the retailer after work to pick up the makings for their dinner that night delivered a 1.03% CTR at 4 p.m. – the exact time and environment when/where consumers were asking themselves what they would eat that night. Likewise, our ad that encouraged consumers to purchase discounted swimwear at the retailer delivered 1.85% CTRs via our hyper-targeted delivery to a small geo-zone built around Canada’s Wonderland, on the hottest day of the year. For full results of our test and our conclusions, download our whitepaper In a Customer State of Mind.

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Last Updated on Friday, 22 March 2013 09:16

A precedent has been set. We are living in the age of participatory media. If we as content creators, producers, production companies and networks want to keep and grow our audiences, we need to stay on top of these changes and develop new ways to further turn viewers into participants.

 In a recent article for TechCrunch, VC at GRP Partners Mark Suster predicts that the future of television will be more participatory than social. Mark suggests that the shift in the industry is moving more towards participation. He uses the most recent viral YouTube meme, ‘The Harlem Shake,’ as an example of how low cost production and storage, along with increasing bandwidth, will drive people to be less passive and more involved in the creation of “television,” whether broadcast or online.

The foundation for participatory media had been established as early as 1982, when Hip-Hop ensemble Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force released a music video comprised mostly of crowdsourced footage. Producers since have integrated fan created media into their content as a way to further engage their audiences. 

In 2011, FOX’s X-Factor supplemented their live broadcast show with an online pre-show and second screen experience. As Producer and Director of the X-Factor Digital Experience, a goal we set for the show was to further build the X-Factor brand in the U.S. while engaging its audience before, during and after the live TV broadcast.

The X-Factor pre-show turned participatory, inviting its audience to Skype live with the hosts of the pre-show and judges of the TV broadcast. Live tweets from fans were read and responded to in real-time. Fans were also encouraged to vote on performance elements, such as wardrobe and song choice, further blurring the line between viewing and contributing. All of this and more was happening not on the “Main Screen,” but on secondary devices such as mobile and tablet. As a result, X-Factor Digital received the greatest social media response of any broadcast in 2011. Over 1000 hours of original content was created yielding nearly 3 billion engagements over the course of 15 weeks.

In the summer of 2011, alternative rock band Incubus took things one step further by giving fans unprecedented access, both online and on-site. IncubusHQ Live was a week long, live stream that invited fans of the band into their rehearsal space for a once in a lifetime experience. Performances, instrument clinics and Q&A’s were conducted for both fans in attendance and viewers tuning in to Various social media interfaces were introduced, including TweetBeam and Viddy, to help create a real-time, personal, global conversation between fans and the band. 

My career is full of experience turning audiences into participants using a variety of techniques and technologies. Amongst all of the participatory experiences that I’ve helped create, there is a single tie that binds: individual storytelling. No matter the means, producers must act as facilitators towards making audiences feel like they are a part of the greater context, regardless of their location or affiliation. In fact, the technology is the easy part. It’s ready and in the hands of willing audiences/creators in the form of smartphones and tablets containing the proper apps. The interest lies in how content producers use these technologies to help tell a story from an individual who contributes with a participatory point of view.

I would love to tell you more about how participatory media has played a part in my role as a storyteller. On Wednesday, March 20th at 2:40pm, I will be speaking on a panel titled Connected Content on Multi Screens and Devices at the Digital Media Summit,  moderated by Ted Cohen, Managing Partner at digital entertainment consulting firm TAG Strategic. I’ll also be presenting a case study of Incubus HQ Live on Thursday, March 21st at 11:50 AM at Canadian Music Week. This project was a real-time participatory documentary and media exhibit created in collaboration with the band. Both sessions are sure to be a lively, insightful discussion on how content creators are furthering the participatory genre. Hope to see you there!

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Last Updated on Friday, 15 March 2013 04:35

For most people, the marriage of music and social media has been a harmonious one. Since the questionably legal early days of MP3 filesharing, the social music industry has matured tremendously, with Spotify, Pandora and iTunes among the more notable success stories.

As social music has evolved, so has social marketing. Getting people to follow, like, pin and buy a brand’s products is now integrated into every smart brand’s strategy, especially brands that target young consumers. With so much content out there, brands strive to cut through the clutter and create an immersive, engaging experience beyond a traditional, one-dimensional print ad. The smartest brands are now putting music to work as part of their social marketing strategy. Here’s how it works.

Most young people like music. And they listen to it a lot. But they are not especially brand loyal, according to a recent study from WSL Retail which found that Millennials (people roughly 18 to 34 years-old) brand hop more than their parents did. They can’t always afford to be loyal: A sale price or a coupon for a competing product is more compelling than a brand name.


Facing this challenge, brands need to figure out how to connect with young consumers in a way that is authentic, powerful, and honest. From the Rolling Stones singing about Rice Krispies to superstar endorsements with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, brands have incorporated music into their traditional advertising campaigns for decades. Now, social music marketing has enabled both brands and bands to find and connect with people in new and compelling ways. It’s not always easy to be loyal to a brand of tissue paper, or to a t-shirt, but once you love a band and its music, it’s hard to undo that.

According to data from William Chipps, author of the IEG Sponsorship report, corporate sponsorship by consumer brands incorporating music into marketing programs was expected to exceed $1.17 billion last year, nearly double what it was six years earlier.

So where are brands investing? The default used to be to sign a big deal with the hottest established artists, think Beyonce and Jay-Z, leveraging their star power to attract consumers. Today, more and more brands are turning to emerging artists so they can deliver something that speaks to the individuality of their consumers. Attaching an artist to branded content is a sure way to guarantee consumers enjoy and remember their experience, and therefore, the brand.

Further, these are the very artists who have the kind of social connectedness that brands are looking for. Emerging artists — who aren’t backed by a label — are by nature entrepreneurial, motivated and skilled at building loyal fan bases through daily communications via social channels like Twitter and Facebook.

Their collective reach is incredibly appealing, according to a study from Music Metric. That's because emerging artists are reaching hundreds of millions of fans who are already engaged and connected with them, and these very fans can activate on behalf of a brand.

So how do you make social music marketing work for your brand? Here’s what has worked for company's like Maurices, Gap, and Diesel. 

  • Push Their Buttons: an “Add This” button was part of every band page for a promotion that clothing store Maurices ran that let consumers and fans vote for a band to perform at SXSW this year. The social button led to an estimated 1.9 million social impressions, in addition to the nearly 150,000 site visits Maurices racked up during the contest.
  • Combine Online and Offline: to celebrate Gap’s 40-year anniversary and “Born to Fit” campaign, nearly 800 artists were selected to play in Gap stores throughout the country – on the same day, at the same time. The campaign was supported with a dedicated micro-site where all of the bands were featured with free music downloads. The viral buzz for the program is to have accounted for nearly 800 million media impressions.
  • Be Irreverent: when the soul of the brand is anti-establishment, the Social Music Marketing program should be, too. Diesel wanted to create a closer connection between Diesel:U:Music, a 10-year-old music support program, and its wildly successful “Be Stupid” campaign. From there came the “Stupid for Music” Cup where emerging bands battled to win prizes like recording sessions and music video production, engaging their fans to go so far as creating fake tattoos to show support. The campaign generated 3,000 pieces of fan-generated content that spread virally to support Diesel’s image of rock ‘n roll irreverence and spread the word about Diesel:U:Music.

By: Panos Panay, Founder and CEO, Sonicbids

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 04:20