For several years my wife Susanne and I was part of a project aimed at producing pop music albums. During the final phases of its last incarnation — called Sandstone — we developed a strategy for promoting the music online. The ultimate object: to create enough buzz online to make the record companies interested.
The strategy had four parts:
1. “Seed” the web with a few MP3 files containing the music.
2. Develop a web site.
3. Establish a presence at MySpace and make use of relevant forums and social networks to make the music known.
4. Start pushing creative merchandise, videos and other “viral” ideas.
We got as far as number 2 before some of the participants decided to give the word “partnership” until then new and unknown meanings. It went downhill from there, and in October last year the project was cancelled.
We did obviously not follow up on our strategy, and it is therefore hard to determine if it could have succeeded or not. This year, however, we did at least see results from phase 1 of the strategy.
On the 17th of May 2006 we published an article in our site Pandia about the Russian online MP3 store AllofMP3. This is where we decided to sow the first “seed”. At the end of the article we put in the following text:
Free MP3 file from Pandia
Given that you have read through the whole article, we think you deserve a reward.
Click on the link below to download a brand new MP3 file by the Norwegian pop/electronica project Sandstone.
And yes, it is definitely legal, as we own the copyright.
Listen to Sandstone: The City that Never Was (Free MP3 file, 3 MB, right click to download)
There were a few hundred downloads, but nothing much happened after that, and given that the project was canceled we did not give it much thought.
During a review of our Pandia web statistics in April this year, however, we discovered that there had been more than 12000 downloads since January, and that there were several thousands downloads every week!
After half a year the tactic started to pay off! There are now thousands of Sandstone files out there, listened to by a large number of people. God knows what we could have managed to do if we could have followed up on our plan.
Alas, that is not to be. As soon as we discovered what was happening we had to remove the file from our server, as the copyright to the music does not belong to us.
The lyrics are available, however, and I am now starting a new campaign trying to identify composers looking for lyrics. Click here for the lyrics to The City that Never Was.
See also Wired on the use of MySpace in music promotion.