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YatMa FinalThesis 518513

INHOLLAND UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES Going Viral Desirable Conditions to Increase Video Attention for Unknown Artists Name: Yat Ma Student Number: 518513 Coach: Hennie van Kuijeren Date: February 9, 2018 [Type here] Abstract In the digital age of the internet, the competition of independent artists has never been greater. Hundreds of thousands of video being placed online on a daily basis that the internet becomes saturated. Many of these uploaded videos are alike. So, what is necessary to make a video stand out of the crowd? How can an artist optimize their videos to maximize their video reach? The 3 major record labels possess the financial power to easily promote the signed artist, but where does that leave the talented independent artists? How are they going to have similar chances in being known to the world with a limited budget? Unlike the analog days, people have become digital anarchists. They decide from which location, with what device, at what time, what content they want to consume. As the internet continues to grow, the record labels become unnecessary when artists are now able to distribute their content themselves. The question is, what makes them stand out from the hundred thousand other creators who upload their video? Today, it’s all about growing together and making good music. The internet contains so much content that there is a lot which is similar to another video. The content within the videos should not be thought too difficultly. It is important to stay down-­‐to-­‐earth and tell your own story. This research finds out whether viral marketing is effective and what factors affect the virality of a music video. Therefore the main question is as such: “What conditions are needed for a music video to have a higher chance to have a reproduction rate greater than 1.” Once the artist understands the factors affecting virality and uses the mentioned factors to tweak their videos, then they have an increased chance of standing out of the crowd. This qualitative research analyzes the effectiveness of viral marketing and how to measure it, the factors of storytelling, social media platforms and devices and content uniqueness. 1 [Type here] Table of Contents Abstract ............................................................................................................................................. 1 1. Introduction ................................................................................................................................... 4 1.1. Background of the Client ....................................................................................................... 5 1.2. Problem Background ............................................................................................................. 5 1.2.1. Problem Definition ............................................................................................................ 6 1.2.2. Problem Analysis ............................................................................................................... 6 1.2.3. Management Decision Problem ......................................................................................... 7 1.3. Research Objective ................................................................................................................ 7 1.4. Relevance .............................................................................................................................. 7 1.4.1. Management Relevance .................................................................................................... 7 1.4.2. MEM relevance ................................................................................................................. 8 1.5. 2. Scope .................................................................................................................................... 8 Theoretical Framework .............................................................................................................. 9 2.1. Virality ................................................................................................................................... 9 2.2. Reproduction Rate............................................................................................................... 11 2.3. Storytelling .......................................................................................................................... 12 2.4. Playback Channels and Devices ............................................................................................ 13 2.5. Content Uniqueness ............................................................................................................ 14 2.6. Central Question ................................................................................................................. 14 2.7. Sub Questions ..................................................................................................................... 15 3. Methods of Research ............................................................................................................... 16 3.1. Methodology ....................................................................................................................... 16 3.2. Data Collection .................................................................................................................... 17 3.2.1. Interview ......................................................................................................................... 17 3.2.2. Sample ............................................................................................................................ 17 3.2.3. Validity and Reliability ..................................................................................................... 17 3.2.4. Representativeness ......................................................................................................... 18 3.3. Data Analysis ....................................................................................................................... 18 3.3.1. Type of Analysis............................................................................................................... 18 3.3.2. Interviewees ................................................................................................................... 19 4. Results ..................................................................................................................................... 21 4.1. Effectiveness of Viral Marketing in Pop Music ...................................................................... 21 4.2. Measurement of Success ..................................................................................................... 23 2 [Type here] 4.3. Influence of Storytelling on Virality ...................................................................................... 24 4.4. Influence of Playback Devices and Channels on Virality........................................................ 25 4.5. Influence of Content Uniqueness on Virality ........................................................................ 27 5. Conclusions ............................................................................................................................. 30 5.1. Sub Questions ..................................................................................................................... 30 5.1.1. How effective is Viral Marketing in pop music?................................................................ 30 5.1.2. How can the success rate (reproduction rate) of a video be measured? .......................... 30 5.1.3. What aspects of storytelling influence the virality of a video? .......................................... 31 5.1.4. What aspects of playback devices and channels influence the virality of a video? ............ 31 5.1.5. What influence does content uniqueness have on the virality of a video? ....................... 32 5.2. 6. Central Question ................................................................................................................. 32 Recommendations ................................................................................................................... 34 6.1. Network, Team Up and Progress ......................................................................................... 34 6.2. Increasing Social Media Growth By Being Basic .................................................................... 34 6.3. Increasing Video Attention for Unknown Artists .................................................................. 35 6.4. Further Research Suggestions .............................................................................................. 35 7. Bibliography ............................................................................................................................ 36 8. Appendices .............................................................................................................................. 48 Appendix A. Environmental Analysis of the Client ............................................................................ 48 A1. Macro Environment of Today ............................................................................................. 48 A1.1. Macro trends ....................................................................................................................... 50 A2. Meso Environment of Today ............................................................................................... 50 A2.1. Meso trends ........................................................................................................................ 53 Appendix B. Interviews .................................................................................................................... 55 B1. Transcript with B ................................................................................................................ 55 B2. Transcript with D ................................................................................................................ 57 B3. Transcript with P................................................................................................................. 60 B4. Transcript with R ................................................................................................................ 62 B5. Transcript with W ............................................................................................................... 67 B6. Transcript with S ................................................................................................................. 70 B7. Transcript with G ................................................................................................................ 74 B8. Transcript with C ................................................................................................................ 78 3 [Type here] 1. Introduction Do you still remember the horse galloping dance from South Korea in 2012? How it surpassed Justin Bieber’s Baby music video in views and likes within a few months? Yes, that video is PSY’s Gangnam Style. As of 2017, statistics from YouTube video currently stands with over 13 million Likes and just 1 million Dislikes, comparing to Bieber’s Baby clip with 7 million Likes and 8 million Dislikes. What about watching people do the Whip and the Nae Nae? Silento’s Watch Me music video went viral because of its signature dance moves in 2015 and continues to live on. Recently, new grime artist Big Shaq released his single Man’s Not Hot, going viral with machine-­‐like sounds. But what is necessary for someone to become a virus and spread exponentially? Dance moves? Sounds? Various artists? Or is it simply a massive marketing budget that shoots off content and make it spread like wildfire? Or does it have nothing to do with viral marketing at all? This report will uncover the necessary conditions for a music video to spread virally. 4 [Type here] 1.1. Background of the Client The Client, Jaco Oskam, is a pop rock music artist at the beginning of his career. He currently operates from Zevenhuizen in South Holland. Besides being a musician, he is also a high school student at the Picasso Lyceum in Zoetermeer. As an artist, he has the dedication to write songs, to perform, to develop and improve himself both as a person and artistically. The main revenue streams for artists comes from touring and playing live shows (Thomson & Cook, 2012). The content he provides include vlogs, YouTube videos, covers of popular songs and original songs. The service he provides is his performances and appearances. The Client’s financial position is currently not profitable, nor is he operating at a loss. The Client does his utmost to work in collaboration with external parties for graphic content support, studio recording support, as well as marketing and business support. The strengths of the Client currently include the creation of vlogs, songwriting, his own sound, the ability to play various instruments, his networking abilities, having a broad English vocabulary and a small solid fan base. On the other hand, his weaknesses include his current financial situation where he does not have enough financial power to hire various parties to assist him with his current ambitions, the finesse of the English vocabulary pronunciation at the moment and the lack of equipment for top quality productions. The key target group of the Client are teenagers and young adults between the age of 12-­‐20 who love pop music. The Client’s current market position is a participant in the industry. In 2014, the Client participated in the television talent show The Voice Kids, where he resulted as runner up and was favorite to The Common Linnets singer Ilse de Lange with whom the Client was allowed to perform on tour (Oskam, 2016). An extensive environmental analysis can be found in Appendix A. 1.2. Problem Background The marketing model of the major labels had three main elements (radio promotion, press releases, magazine publications and television exposure) before the rise of mobile devices and the internet (Harris, n.d.). Because of the close collaboration of the record labels and publicity channels, a monopoly was created as they had the power to choose which artists they wish to put in the spotlight. Due to technological evolutions, the majors are no longer in complete control of distribution channels and the competition between artists has risen a lot. New artists rise from bedrooms and other forms of personal studios, and independent labels arise, the dawn of the “Do-­‐It-­‐Yourself” movement has been established (Dean & Montalbano, 2001). Therefore, due to competition, it is now more difficult for independent artists to get their products seen and shared (Nield, 2015). Artists no longer require a record label to distribute their products online and make use of various online channels to share them (Cudahy, 2007). Because of this, new opportunities reveal themselves. However, with the numerous platforms available, consumers may have difficulty discovering their new favorite band. 5 [Type here] 1.2.1. Problem Definition The problem of having limited possibilities to distribute music changed into an age of having limitless possibilities of music distribution and generated a new problem. The newly developed problem is the difficulties of gaining exposure and establishing a solid fan base in between the large amount of competition. Therefore, the problem definition of this research is as follows: When a singer-­‐songwriter is unable to increase his fan base through traditional marketing methods, he or she must find alternatives to making their name. 1.2.2. Problem Analysis Innovativeness and creativity are key for artists to remain in the competition. To be able to generate revenue to make living sustainable, the Client needs to look for alternative revenue streams. An example of this is Kanye West’s Yeezy sneaker line. West, one of the biggest pop stars of today, launched his sneaker line in 2008. The pop star’s sneakers are not only popular among music fans, but it also caught the attention of leisure wearers because of its design, making them the most influential sneakers of 2016 (Woolf, 2016). A second example would be the surprise factor used by Beyoncé on her latest albums. Both of her albums Beyoncé and Lemonade were brought into the market without prior notice and were amazingly successful in exposure (BBC, 2016). In the two examples given above, exposure and an audience are important elements for the revenue streams. The question is, how can emerging independent artists generate the buzz and build the audience for themselves? As a singer-­‐songwriter, when signed, has both advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages of being signed to a label, according to The Balance (McDonald, 2017), usually means that artists are one of the many Clients of the label. The result is thus less focus on one particular musician and a lot of trial and error to see what catches on with audiences (McDonald, 2017). A number of other issues were addressed by Indie Music Consultant (Cavalier, 2016). Cavalier mentions that in most cases, once signed: the freedom of choice regarding creativity will be limited; profit shares on CD sales, merchandise, music-­‐publishing rights, touring can be limited; the possibility of not having a single recording released is possible; and not to expect a lot of investment from the label (Cavalier, 2016). The final goal of the research is to accumulate knowledge on what catches the eye of young adults and sets of a viral effect on social media, what triggers young adults to share content within their network and transform them into fans in order to have a greater chance of a sustainable career for the artist. To obtain the goal, this research will discuss the aspects of a viral music marketing campaign that gets the young adults’ attention, what an artist can do to increase virality, and as a result, be able to increase exposure and expand their fan base. The attention of a video can be defined as the amount of views, likes, dislikes and shares. According to ClickZ (Charlton, 2016), the likes and dislikes of a video are indications of engagement; the views of a video as an indication of popularity, however, less important in present time; the social shares of a video gives an indication of the quality and engagement of a video (Charlton, 2016). 6 [Type here] 1.2.3. Management Decision Problem As the Client’s Instagram account is his most active social media, monitoring his activity as well as his music career related activities gives us an insight in what he should keep doing and what he should change (Voogt & Martin, 2017). According to the activity of the Client’s social media account, after an event or a performance, his follower count would increase gradually in the consecutive days. This means that being present at events, along with the interaction of other artists and entertainers, has proven to increase his general fan base. Therefore, at this moment, he should make sure he is able to do more appearances at this moment. Another aspect that he should continue to work on, is his videos. According to real-­‐time analysis from SocialBlade (SocialBlade, 2017), the Client’s YouTube videos is a small source of income. However, the question about the content of his videos and how it interests his audience remains, and what triggers them to share the videos. The problem the Client has, is the lack of knowledge of how he can rapidly increase his fan base. 1.3. Research Objective The research objective is to determine the conditions necessary for a music video to have the highest chance to capture the attention of existing consumers and potential consumers. Because of the tough economy (3voor12, 2011), evolutions in technology and in combination with the social factor the importance of eye-­‐catching viral videos has become an increasingly important factor for independent artists to stand out. Even though streaming services are gradually pulling the music industry back together after two decades, the industry still struggles as revenues are not even close to back then (Christman, 2017). To be able to reach a hundred people is an easy objective, comparing to a million, but to be able to reach hundred true fans is the challenge. A starting point to reach potential audience can be through social media, where loyalty can be constructed on as artists can bond with artists directly on a personal level. With this starting point, artists need to know what his fans want and need, in order to increase fan loyalty and generate a buzz. The aim of the research is gaining insight in the elements of music videos that grab the attention of followers and triggers them to share to ensure a reproduction rate of greater than one, and to advise independent artists based on the findings. The data is obtained from interviews with entertainment digital media and marketing managers, as well as social media influencers who have had success in promoting video content. The intention of the results is to enlarge the fan base of the unknown artists. 1.4. Relevance 1.4.1. Management Relevance The outcomes of this study is to provide the Client an insight into potential opportunities in marketing his music, which could then have the possibility of enlarging the fan base and generate revenue. The focus of the study is placed on supplementing knowledge deficits in the area of potential viral marketing methods. During the process, the Client will gain insight into the knowledge that the differing marketing managers interviewed possess. He will also learn how to make use of various channels, attract media attention and also make sure the uniqueness of videos is at its best. 7 [Type here] 1.4.2. MEM relevance The thesis subject has MEM relevance for 3 reasons. The first reason is that the Client is a pop music artist and therefore operates in the MEM creative industry. The Client, therefore, meets the “Music Entertainment” requirement (de Jager, Hancock, Stam, & Jagentenberg, 2012, p. 7). Both the subject of the research project and the Client also conform to the core tasks mentioned in the LOP, “Transmedial Strategy” and “Content” (de Jager, Hancock, Stam, & Jagentenberg, 2012, p. 9). On top of this, both the Client and the research subject fit in the Media Channel Matrix, “Marketing and distribution by means of moving images/television” and “Development processes by means of live-­‐
presentation”. The Client is classified under the “Performing arts” category. The research subject is within the boundaries of the strategic commercial economics framework level (InHolland, 2016, p. 8). The results of the research project will allow the Client to decide whether he will make use of it to launch or to develop his career. 1.5. Scope The reason for this is because the content of videos is so diverse that it is an immeasurable variable. The opinion of the masses is irrelevant towards the effectiveness of viral music marketing campaigns. This is because the knowledge to be acquired is the marketing behind the campaigns and not the result of the effort put into the campaign. 8 [Type here] 2. Theoretical Framework The theoretical framework is comprised of concepts and current theory that is looked at beforehand to make the research complete and successful (University Of Southern California, 2014). The framework indicates an understanding of relevant theories and concepts, which relates to the broader knowledge areas being researched (University Of Southern California, 2014). The problem definition of the research is: The artist cannot enlarge their fan base because of a lack of knowledge in marketing, and the current research is identifying what conditions are needed to give a music video a higher chance to have a reproduction rate greater than 1, the next main aspects can be mentioned. The first sub-­‐question is chosen to determine the various opinions of what the term ‘virality’ consists of and what kind of aspects affect it. Virality is a term where digital marketers, artists, marketing managers and so on can have a different perspective of it. The second sub-­‐question determines how a video could go viral and the basic variables that trigger it, from various respondents of different backgrounds. The third sub-­‐question explores the aspects of which storytelling has an influence on the virality of a music video, since it is one of today’s hypes (Hope, 2015). The channels and devices determine where the videos have been most effective for a viral video to spread, referring to the fourth sub-­‐question. This is important because, without the channels, the likelihood of going viral will become limited. The fifth sub-­‐question looks at the opinions on what makes content unique, how does respondents determine what is unique and connecting the uniqueness to virality. The theoretical framework places boundaries to give the reader an idea what to expect in the research. The following sub-­‐chapters will explain what each aspect includes. 2.1. Virality Virality is the ability for a social media released video or content to reach a massive worldwide audience (Urban Dictionary, 2010). This particular ability is a major factor in viral music marketing campaigns. An example of a music video with high virality is Korean artist PSY’s Gangnam Style (Lipshutz, 2014). It was the unique dance, in combination with the catchy music and a strategically planned viral marketing campaign that led it to success. According to research done by digital agency 10 Yetis (The Drum, 2012), there were three steps in PSY’s campaign: The set-­‐up, the content and the coverage. The set-­‐up of the campaign was done by YG Entertainment, the label behind PSY. The label had a business goal to push into the US and UK music industry. According to 10 Yetis’ research report (The Drum, 2012), a significant amount of time was spent in before the song, in setting up an office in the US and seeking partnerships with known artists like Will.I.Am. In the meantime, a deal was also made with the record label Scooter Braun before the launch. Together with the deal, the labels planned to announce the cooperation at a strategically chosen time in order to give the campaign an extra boost. YG Entertainment also invested time in growing their own audience, so that they had a large platform to guarantee maximum exposure when the right song came along. Next to the platform, YG had approximately 2,5 million subscribers on multiple YouTube Channels and had also achieved 1,6 billion views on music videos across these channels. The company’s main artists also 9 [Type here] used their Twitter accounts to push information to their high number of followers. YG predicted that with their subscribers count alone, a high number of views would be reached from the first launch (The Drum, 2012). The research done by 10 Yetis then looked at the content of the campaign (The Drum, 2012). Since the song was catchy, it had the power to be an online hit across multiple genres, territories and sectors. The bright colors appealed to the kids. Language did not appear to be a barrier, instead the comprehensible lyrics were substituted by a punchy chorus. The music video of Gangnam Style made use of high profile and contemporary characters, for instance a dancer from South Korea’s got Talent, together with two well-­‐known local entertainers. Together with PSY’s reputation in the local music industry and the well-­‐known entertainers, the report suggests it added to how shareable the video was (The Drum, 2012). Since the set-­‐up and content have been discussed, the digital agency then looked at the coverage of the campaign. The report of 10 Yetis states that there are several key milestones in the release of the video (The Drum, 2012). Launched in mid-­‐July 2012, it was started by two tweets from an American based K-­‐Pop account, from a celebrity, and from a Korean music-­‐focused gossip site. On the first day, the video was viewed over 500,000 times on YouTube. On the Korean music charts, it debuted at number one. However, outside Korea, the video picked up at a slower pace. At the end of July, an article on Gizmodo followed by a feature in de Telegraaf in the Netherlands allowed the video to gain more views. The next major push was from Gawker, where a story was written on the music video and generated 1,900 Facebook likes and shares. Websites for popular music and entertainment like Billboard, Huffington post and news reports from CNN and Sky News then followed with information about the music video. Because of the spike in views, YouTube Trends made Gangnam Style the Video of the Month. The biggest push was later in the campaign, when celebrity started tweeting and sharing the video. The final spike is when the Guinness World Records announced that PSY broke all known records for the number of views for a video. After this spike, the popularity gradually declined (The Drum, 2012). The example above is shows a viral music marketing campaign that smoothly goes to plan. However, such a campaign could also have unexpected influences than going as planned. For example, with solo artist Zayn Malik’s debut single PillowTalk, he was, not so long ago, a member of the boyband One Direction. After releasing the single within a short time of his leave, the remaining members of the band started a feud with him, using social media to tweet to each other hate messages and therefore, causing a social media discussion and producing more buzz for Zayn’s single. (Saunders & Ojomu, 2015). According to research from the University of Kent and with its relevant literature sources (Woerndl, Papagiannidis, Bourlakis, & Li, 2008), viral marketing campaigns have a number of critical factors applicable to them. It acknowledges five main issues: Overall structure of the campaign; Characteristics of the product or service; Content of the message; Characteristics of the diffusion; and Peer-­‐to-­‐Peer information channel (Table 1). 10 [Type here] Table 1. Adapted from Emerging Critical Factors for Viral Marketing Campaigns (Woerndl, Papagiannidis, Bourlakis, & Li, 2008) Risks Identified: Critical Factors Emerging Message Content Overall Structure of the Campaign Diffusion Characteristics Peer-­‐to-­‐Peer Information Channel Potential Negative Impact Lack of Legal Standards Lack of Ethical Standards Lack of Control Consumer Dependency Benefits identified: Diffusion Speed Audience Reach Product/Service Characteristics Peer-­‐to-­‐Peer Transmission No influence on Campaign Financial Contextual Critical factors: Woerndl describes that the overall structure of a campaign must encourage viral activity and discuss ethical and legal issues (Woerndl, Papagiannidis, Bourlakis, & Li, 2008). If ethical issues are not considered, the campaign could have a negative outcome. The second critical factor is linked to the characteristics of the product or service being marketed, whether they are suitable or not. The third important factor is the content of the message transmitted. Messages that trigger imagination and provide an entertainment factor to the receiver are more likely to be shared voluntarily. The messages should be engaging the audience actively to be able to convert the receiver to a transmitter. The next important factor, according to Woerndl’s research, is the characteristics of the diffusion. This means at what speed is the message transmitted, who does it reach and what is the nature of the exponential spread. The next success factor is the peer-­‐to-­‐peer information channel. A message needs communication channels and technologies to be transmitted, as well as the combination of technologies. Another important factor is the credibility of the sending source (Woerndl, Papagiannidis, Bourlakis, & Li, 2008). To conclude, virality consists of many factors which makes it effective or not (Woerndl, Papagiannidis, Bourlakis, & Li, 2008). Comparing the two different viral campaigns (one that was planned out beforehand which was executed with a positive vibe and one that had positive effectiveness with a negative event which generated more buzz), similarities can be seen in the factors mentioned in Woerndl’s research. Both campaigns contained a message, whether positive or negative, and it was able to spread across multiple communication channels at exponential speeds. 2.2. Reproduction Rate In order for a viral music marketing campaign to be successful, the reproduction rate must be bigger than one (Wilde, 2013). This rate means on average each person receiving the message shares it to a 11 [Type here] certain amount of other people, who then share it again and so on. A reproduction rate of exactly one would mean linear growth, whereas a rate of greater than one leads to exponential growth (Wilde, 2013). Figure 1. Adapted from Viral Growth (Wilde, 2013) The reproduction rate is determined by two critical factors: the likeliness to share and the number of friends to whom it is shared (Wilde, 2013). If the likeliness to share is 10%, meaning that only one out of ten persons will be likely to share the message, they must send it to more than ten other people, on average, to have an exponential growth (Black line rising straight up in Figure 1) with a rate of greater than one (Wilde, 2013). To conclude, referring back to the two marketing campaigns mentioned, the reproduction rate was much greater than one. The Gangnam Style video was strategically placed, such that the platforms where YG entertainment have a large following ensured a reproduction rate of greater than one (The Drum, 2012). Zayn’s PillowTalk feud managed to gain a lot of social media attention, in which people were discussing with each other about it, causing it to have a reproduction rate of greater than one. In both cases there were messages which triggered a rise in reproduction rate. In the latter case, an ethical issue was involved, which proves that the critical factors mentioned in Table 1 are present. 2.3. Storytelling Storytelling has been present for millennia. However, according to Wire Stone Digital Marketing Agency (Dalton, 2015), technology continuously changes the way we create and share stories. To stand out, a story must be unique. It must have an original point of view to be worthy for a second look by an audience. Another factor is that a story should be genuine for the audience to believe it. Last but not least, Wire Stone’s executive creative director mentions that the story has to be compelling in order to manipulate behavior. Echo Digital Agency states that six different brain factors get triggered differently by storytelling. The first one states that, according to MRI scans, when reading certain words like ‘coffee’ and ‘perfume’, this activates of primary olfactory cortex. The second is that by frequently reading fiction, readers show that they understand people better and show more empathy. The third is where oxytocin, a love hormone, is being produced when a reader hears a character-­‐driven story. If we experience a loss in storytelling power, which leads to the fourth factor, the brain will ignore clichéd words and phrases. The agency refers the fifth factor to a majority of Hollywood movies and TED talks, where the most watched talks contained the story model for a ‘hero’s journey’. The final factor mentioned is that the hormone cortisol, which is a powerful emotional reaction, is released during the rising arc of a story, even when the listener is aware that it is fiction (Hope, 2015). To conclude, this research will explore what storytelling means in a music video and in what ways it can enhance the virality of the video. 12 [Type here] 2.4. Playback Channels and Devices For a viral music marketing campaign to work, it is necessary to use communication channels to spread a message. These channels include e-­‐mails, blogs, forums, social media, viral videos and more (Low & Goh, 2009). This research will focus on how viral music marketing campaigns can be successfully executed on social media and on viral videos. Social media are communication channels on the web that allow people to interact with each other by consuming and sharing information (Nations, 2017). A profile on a social media site can be displayed either publicly or privately. According to an article in the Journal of Computer-­‐Mediated Communication (Boyd & Ellison, 2008), publicly displayed profiles are an important success factor of social media platforms, because it enables viewers to click through them and look through their extended network. Thanks to the internet, multiple social media platforms have been created and the number of social media users has risen from 0,97 billion users in 2010, to 2,04 billion in 2015 (DBS, 2017). Since there are different types of social media platforms, it is best to categorize them and select the most popular categories applicable to pop music. There are numerous types of platforms where music videos can be found and played on. Myers categorizes them into 8 categories (Myers, 2012). The first one is the social networking platforms which includes Facebook, Google Plus, Snapchat amongst others. Next is micro blogging which includes Twitter and LinkedIn. Publishing tools is another category, which includes WordPress, Blogger, SquareSpace and more. On photo sharing sites like Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest, music videos can also be found and viewed on. Video sharing sites like YouTube and Musical.ly are also categorized. Personal broadcasting tools where live streams are done is another category, where it includes YouNow, LiveStream and Twitch. Virtual world is a category where music and gaming are integrated. The Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) are a second life to many people and therefore they spend a lot of time and money on this platform. Last but not least, Myers states the last category of playlist curation sites such as Spotify, Pandora, Deezer and so on. However, since the main topic of interest is how to ensure and execute a viral music marketing campaign with a reproduction rate greater than one, and not how an artist could make use of multiple online channels to improve engagement, a shorter list will be used when necessary than that of Myers’ (Myers, 2012). According to research by the University of Vermont (Spinelli, 2015), the majority of the respondents show that they listen to music most by means of a computer or a tablet. The second place went to cell phones, followed by personal devices (MP3), then home Hi-­‐fi systems and radio. By finding out what the most popular device is, a music video can be optimized to be displayed by the device, as well as the channel. YouTube accounts for 46% our of 55% of all time spent listening to on-­‐demand music, according to a research report by IFPI (IFPI, 2017). In this research, from March 2017 to September 2017, 75% of internet users use video streaming services to consume licensed music. On a global scale, 20% of music consumers use video streaming. A comparison between four selected countries was made, with Mexico containing 52% of music consumers who use video streaming, 30% in Japan, 22% in South Korea and 10% in Germany (IFPI, 2017). Globally, 76% of music consumers listen to music on smartphones. IFPI’s report summarizes that young people worldwide are highly engaged with license 13 [Type here] music, where 85% of 13 to 15 year olds stream music either audio or video, of which 79% therein stream video and 67% stream audio. During August 2017, 85% of YouTube users used the site for music, which is approximately equal to around 1,3 billion users. As there is such a great demand for video streaming, YouTube is therefore a great channel to use and get content out there. 2.5. Content Uniqueness Video is the future of content marketing, according to research by The Guardian (Trimble, 2015). In a research report by Nielsen (Nielsen, 2015), they state that 64% of marketers expect video to lead their marketing strategies in the near future. The Guardian states that it is important that not only the videos should be unique and creative, but the whole viral marketing campaign (Trimble, 2015). Seeing that the amount of video marketers is on the rise, Moz provided criteria to the modern criteria for content: One of a kind; Relevant; Uniquely valuable and a great user experience (Fishkin, 2015). The first criteria mentioned by Moz is the ‘one of a kind’ factor, meaning that marketers must be creative in generating new, unique content. Next, relevance is mentioned as an important criterion. The content should be easily searchable by internet users and engines, therefore, using keywords and metasearch words. Another criterion given is the user experience. By providing consumers an easy and pleasurable way to view the content any place, any time and on any device, it is more likely content will be shared (Fishkin, 2015). Moz states that the challenge in the criteria is being uniquely valuable (Fishkin, 2015). They mention three points to keep in mind while generating content. The first point is an upgrade in aggregation, accessibility and design. To stand out and make people excited and interested, the content should be easily accessible and well presented, giving the audience something to talk about and share with their network. Providing information that is not available anywhere else is the second point stated. This information should be first of its kind in anyway in order to trigger the reader to share, according to Moz (Fishkin, 2015). The last important point given is that the content is offered in a differentiated voice or style. Content already existing can be recreated with a personal emotional resonance and appeal to new audience. This factor depends on the creativity of the artist behind the content (Fishkin, 2015). To conclude, looking at the critical factors emerging in Table 1, one of the factors is message content. The research will examine how unique people perceive content to be in past viral music marketing campaigns and how artists can craft unique content. 2.6. Central Question The Central Question for this research project is: What conditions are needed for a music video to have a higher chance to have a reproduction rate greater than 1. This central question has been chosen because the conditions required for creating a music video that can go viral still remains unclear. A reproduction rate greater than 1 means the extent to which one person shares the music video to another and so on. By knowing the conditions to achieve the reproduction rate greater than 1, the guidelines can be set for new music videos. 14 [Type here] 2.7. Sub Questions The Sub Questions derived from the Central Question are as follows: 1. How effective is Viral Marketing in pop music? The first sub question looks at ways Viral Marketing can be applied in pop music. Campaigns done in the past will be looked at and interviews with people involved with these Viral Marketing campaigns will be executed in order to find out more about what factors are involved. 2. How can the success rate (reproduction rate) of a video be measured? Researching the metrics used to measure the success rate provides insight to the effectiveness of the campaign, where marketers can subsequently make us of this information to set up the next Viral Marketing campaign. 3. What aspects of storytelling influence the virality of a video? According to Echo Storytelling Agency (Hope, 2015), storytelling is a superpower that we possess. The researcher will look at how storytelling influences the likelihood of how viral a music video will go. 4. What aspects of playback devices and channels influence the virality of a video? The way an audience watches music videos can be of influence on the likelihood of virality of a video. The researcher will explore how particular playback devices and channels the audience uses have an influence on virality. 5. What influences does content uniqueness have on the virality of a video? According to the Content Marketing Institute (Saracino, 2012), there are more than 800 million unique visitors each month who visit YouTube. However, content and creative value need to be in top-­‐notch to stand out. The researcher will explore viral music marketing campaigns and analyze the differences and similarities to content uniqueness. 15 [Type here] 3. Methods of Research 3.1. Methodology According to Dawson’s Introduction to Research Methods (Dawson, 2010), the research methodology is the general approach to studying the research topic which includes the consideration of constraints, dilemmas and ethical choices concerning the research. We understand from Dawson’s book of research (Dawson, 2010) that the methodology comprises of qualitative and quantitative research. A combination of the two types of research can also be used, according to Creswell’s report on Research Design (Creswell, 2003). There are three types of researches that can be used: Qualitative; Quantitative; and Mixed methods. Qualitative research makes use of techniques (such as interviews or focus groups) to explore attitudes, behavior and experience. The goal is to obtain a detailed opinion from participants (Dawson, 2010). Quantitative research makes use of a large-­‐scale survey research (such as questionnaires) to generate statistics. The goal is to obtain as many people as possible and obtain data in a faster way than with qualitative research (Dawson, 2010). Mixed methods research makes use of both qualitative and quantitative research. This type of research makes use of both predetermined and emerging research methods, both open-­‐ and closed-­‐
ended questions, multiple forms of data drawing, and both statistical and text analysis (Creswell, 2003). In this research, the qualitative method has been used for data collection. The aim of the research was to gain insight from successful digital media managers of various videos and influencers. The insight from the managers and influencers will be obtained by means of an interview. The reason behind selecting the qualitative method is because it provided a more in-­‐depth perspective from various angles: Digital marketers, artists, vloggers and so on. This method also makes the research more valid. Central Question: What conditions are needed for creating a viral music marketing campaign with a reproduction rate greater than 1? The answer to the central question was framed by using the answers obtained from the various sub questions below. Sub Questions 1. How effective is Viral Marketing in pop music? This is researched by means of an interview with digital media managers and influencers. The various opinions will be analyzed for similarities and patterns. The qualitative data is collected through topics discussed in an interview. 2. How can the success rate (reproduction rate) of a video be measured? 16 [Type here] This is researched by means of an interview with digital media managers and influencers. The various opinions will be analyzed for similarities and patterns. The qualitative data is collected through topics discussed in an interview. 3. What aspects of storytelling influence the virality of a video? This is researched by means of an interview with digital media managers and influencers. The various opinions is analyzed for similarities and patterns. The qualitative data is collected through topics discussed in an interview. 4. What aspects of playback devices and channels influence the virality of a video? This is researched by means of an interview with digital media managers and influencers. The various opinions will be analyzed for similarities and patterns. The qualitative data is collected through topics discussed in an interview. 5. What influences does content uniqueness have on the virality of a video? This is researched by means of an interview with digital media managers and influencers. The various opinions is analyzed for similarities and patterns. The qualitative data is collected through topics discussed in an interview. 3.2. Data Collection For this research, an interview is used. The interview is used to gather qualitative data to find out how many conditions there are for a successful viral music video. 3.2.1. Interview The interview is composed by means of the central and sub questions. Along the interview, the main and sub questions will be used as guidelines to execute the knowledge gathering. 3.2.2. Sample The sample uses the method of stratified purposeful sampling, focusing on interviewing key informants. This strategy focuses on characteristics of certain subgroups and allows comparisons. It uses small sample sizes, meaning that the goal is credibility, not for representativeness or to generalize (Nastasi, 2010). In this research, it included digital marketers, who have a large amount of experience or have worked with influencers, and social media influencers. A selection of social media influencers has been done based on their following, their likes, shares and interactions. The validity and reliability of the information provided is founded by the attention they have received. As for digital marketers, a selection is made based on their portfolio. 3.2.3. Validity and Reliability Validity refers to how credible or believable the research is and whether the results are genuine (University of California, 2007). This depends on the amount of support a research has. Validity consists of two parts: Internal and external. Internal validity can be proven by instruments or procedures used during the research, to measure what they were meant to measure. An example of this would be showing photos to respondents and receiving common responses in return. External validity can be proven by proving that the results can be generalized beyond the current research. 17 [Type here] An example of this would be when studying for an exam, it would be better to study in several sessions beforehand instead of stacking up study material for exams, applying to multiple subjects (University of California, 2007). When data are valid, they must be reliable. However, the case is not the same vice versa. For validity, reliability is a factor, but not as the sole supporting factor (University of California, 2007). Reliability refers to how repeatable the research is, whether the same results will be recorded. If this is the case, then the data are reliable (University of California, 2007). Interview Language The language is crucial to gathering data for this research. Because the research is mainly focused on Dutch interviewees, the interview is prepared in Dutch and English containing identical topics. This is a precaution to be taken beforehand in case a respondent is not as comfortable with English as with Dutch. The outcomes of the interview will subsequently be translated back to English. Key Informants The key informants, also called experts, were chosen by researching their background, how much experience they have within a certain period, and with whom they have worked with. An invitation for a research interview was sent to a number of experts, where several were able to respond and share their knowledge. This group of key informants includes digital media managers and social media influencers. Theoretical framework The theoretical framework was used to compose interview topics, which means that they were not chosen at random. References The desk research is done with references from previous related studies, data on the internet and in literature and their sources. 3.2.4. Representativeness As this research looks at phenomenology and interviews key informants, it is representative to the combination of various points of views from different digital marketers and influencers (Nastasi, 2010). Phenomenology is a method of inquiry concerned with the perception and the experience of objects and events, as the basis of investigating how something actually is. 3.3. Data Analysis 3.3.1. Type of Analysis To analyze qualitative data, there are four ways to do this (Dawson, 2010). If data is analyzed by theme, this is called thematic analysis. This means that the analysis is highly inductive, where the themes coming from the data are not imposed upon it by the researcher. The processes of collecting and analyzing data happen at the same time for this type of analysis. Another way to analyze qualitative data is comparative analysis, which is closely linked to thematic analysis. The different data obtained from interviewees is compared and put into contrast. Therefore, a deductive approach. This process carries on until no new themes arise in the interviews. This type of analysis is usually used in combination with thematic analysis, by moving back and forth between transcripts and research literature. 18 [Type here] The third type of analysis is content analysis, the method of coding by content. The researcher systematically looks through every transcript, allocating codes to particular characteristics in a text. Some researchers can have a premade category list, or they can also read through every transcript and let the categories come from the data. Discourse analysis is the last type of analysis to be discussed, also sometimes called conversational analysis. This method looks at how interviewees speak about a specific subject, any metaphors being used, how interviewees in focus groups take turns in conversations, and so on. This method of analysis is more intuitive and reflective, but it could also contain a form of counting, such as counting turn-­‐takings, how it influences the conversation and who they speak to each other. In this research, thematic and comparative analysis will be used to analyze data. 3.3.2. Interviewees The interviewees are all operating within the digital media sector, with a link towards entertainment. With respect to the privacy of the interviewees, their names have been replaced with a letter in bold. The full interviews can be found in Appendix B. B is the owner of a fresh and successful digital media start-­‐up company, as well as an experienced digital marketer, being active since his teenage years. He has worked with multiple entrepreneurs, small and medium-­‐sized companies on their digital presence, and therefore, continuously building his company successfully. D is the owner of multiple companies in the entertainment business. He has been working in the music industry for over 20 years and is an expert in digital media. Currently, besides running his companies, he is also the advisor of Hardwell, one of the world’s biggest DJs. P is a marketing expert of concert organizer MOJO Concerts for over 3 years and has also been working as an independent marketing and communications professional for events, festival and concerts. She has also worked as a marketing manager for The Flying Dutch by ALDA events for 2 years. R is the lead of digital media at a global, award-­‐winning marketing agency, working there for 6 years. The agency is working with companies like Under Armour, KLM, Philips and more. W is the owner of a digital media agencies in the UK. In his teenage years, he has worked at multiple social influencer companies, developing talent and technology. S is a social media star and influencer who has built up his fan base from scratch by his own hand, with support from YK Projects. He now has over 50,000 subscribers on YouTube, over 300,000 followers on Instagram and is touring around the US. G is a part-­‐time partner manager at a multi-­‐platform network that provides the tools, support, community and resources for YouTube channels to succeed. He mainly works with Dutch YouTubers who have just started doing videos of YouTube. 19 [Type here] C is vice president and channel support of a multi-­‐platform network that provides the tools, support, community and resources for YouTube channels to succeed. They work with Team10 owner Jake Paul and rapper Drake’s channels, amongst others. 20 [Type here] 4. Results 4.1. Effectiveness of Viral Marketing in Pop Music B finds that viral marketing is very important. As an example, he mentions his own experience. He recently planned to release an eBook on LinkedIn. But instead of directly offering the download link to his audience, he interacted and asked the audience, if they want a copy, then they should comment on the post. The result of this was over 1000 likes and comments, and an additional 600 connection requests on the platform. His opinion, especially for LinkedIn is that the organic growth is insane. Looking at it from a financial point of view, B states that it takes more time doing viral marketing things, whereas with ads, it is simple to create them and spread it, but the results are very poor in comparison. As B states his positive experience in viral marketing, D states that viral marketing does not exist. To him, it is simply a term given in the world of marketing to something that is not there. He uses the example of the analog days of plugging to a radio station, where a song would not only be heard once, but would be consistently played. Today, the digital world is similar according to D. Music needs to be sent to influencers and, once they are picked up, the snowball will start to roll. He also mentions that it is not necessary to have a big budget, that with a small budget, a lot of goals and objectives can be achieved. From the perspective of P, she finds that viral marketing is very effective but unpredictable, due to its unplannable nature. According to her, the not going viral of an upload is dependent of various factors. She gives an example of one of their own campaigns. Their intention was to generate buzz and raise curiosity, so that it would stimulate visitors to go to the website of the event. They made a directed video with actors, costing €10,000. After the whole process and uploading the video, the result was near to nothing. So, she came to the conclusion that the video must be picked up by the right people, by influencers. She states that the videos must be authentic and real, not something acted, and that commercial messages fail to do this. The reason she gives is that people know when something is true and real, just as when something is acted. P finds that viral marketing can be done with both a small and big budget. For her, having a budget is handy to setup a basic campaign, by using Google AdWords, SEO, YouTube Preroll and Facebook ads for example, with a good media mix (A media mix is the combination of multiple advertising channels used to promote a certain good or service (Linton, N.A.)). She also states that public relations (also known as PR) should not be underestimated, with the supporting reason of selling 8000 tickets just by PR. An example she gives was with promoting an Andre Kuipers show at the Ziggo Dome. She mentions that they managed to get him on television shows and in several interviews with daily papers and radio. For ensuring conversion, P states that editorial attention should be strived for, in combination with a good media mix. Digital marketer R, like D, also states that viral marketing, in general, does not exist. He uses the example of him and I wanting to go viral. He mentions that if we do not have a following already, and our only following are our friends, then it is limited. He mentions that just by sharing something with the click of a button and hope it goes viral, does not happen anymore, and that most of the things that go viral these days are all paid. R states that he has been asked multiple times to make things ‘go viral’, but in his experience, it is very difficult and perhaps even impossible. He uses an example with KLM, where they preplan a marketing campaign, such that other parties around the 21 [Type here] world are asked to upload a video at a specific time, so that it looks as if it has gone viral. Whether people will actually notice it, it is a matter of time. He mentions that the moment when people genuinely like the video, advertising can be stopped. What R sees a lot in the music industry, is that great people, meaning big artists, influencers, high level music industry professionals, stand behind artists and giving them a boost. With talent shows such as The Voice, X Factor and so on, R states that we can only see a few artists from the numerous shows who are truly successful in the music industry. Another factor R mentions, is that it needs to be genuine, meaning not directed, and coming from consumers. He says that this is usually something filmed at the right moment and at the right time, and subsequently shared. W finds viral marketing an interesting topic. As the managing director of a marketing agency, he states that he loves seeing campaigns go viral because it is an opportunity for research, and an opportunity to view popular content. At the agency, they do their best to make their clients’ content go as viral as possible. W himself has done a lot of influencer marketing and management, where the goal was to make all content go viral. He indicates that viral marketing is effective for particular cases, like the fashion industry. Once a design becomes viral, it will be sold at a fast pace. However, W states to keep in mind that it is not the best approach for every client. In a financial point of view, he states that if virality is to be ensured, a large and correctly used budget can be used to promote ads. These ads will then be able to spread virally. He does indicate that a lot of ‘viral content’ goes viral by accident, a lot of the time even by mistake. He finds that the beauty of viral content is that does not have many defined rules, no particular template. However, he concluded that whether or not a large budget is present, if content goes viral, then it deserves to be there. He articulates that artists should not focus on going viral but shift the focus to music creation. If one ‘viral hit song’ is created, it will generate a lot of income, though they want to avoid being a ‘one-­‐hit wonder’, and not being able to follow up on the success. From an influencer’s point of view, S started his path on social media by using a live broadcasting app. He states that during broadcasting, he found what worked well with the situation he was in at that time. He would do research and find out what the trends are, and also what people found funny. S then used what he found in his broadcasts, for example prank calling while using one of his unique talents. Once we are doing that, he states that it is all about collaborating with other people, growing fan bases together. He articulates that without collaboration, it is almost impossible to grow. An example he uses is when sibling YouTubers grow together because ideas are always being bounced off each other since they are always together. S states that he would broadcast 2 to 3 hours a day, working very hard to get to where he is. He indicates that the more videos someone posts, the higher the chance they have to blow up; The more content one is putting out, the greater the chance someone new will see it. He also states that it is important for an artist to have positive thoughts of what they can do and gradually carve their path. He points out that he lately switched to a different broadcasting platform as the previous one went through too many changes. On the new platform, S states that his interaction with people is much closer, thanks to the smaller broadcasts, he is able to read almost everything that is being said by the viewers. Financially, S did not put in much, if anything at all, to get to where he was, excluding material and equipment for his videos. From a company that helps YouTubers build their channels, G states that if we look at which videos go viral and which do not, a lot of it is pure coincidence. He dives into a bit of history, saying that in the beginning of YouTube, anyone can record something innocent and post it online and it can 22 [Type here] randomly go viral, where he gives an example of the viral video of ‘Charlie bit my finger’. The video received 100 million views. G states that a lot of the time, it is very unpredictable. What he points out that he notices, is that if the YouTube trending pages are looked at, then we can find out certain trends in what kind of content goes viral. He adds that recently, it has been the entertainment field, which includes parodies and musical content. From a financial point of view, G states that he always says to creators to use what they have got right now. Everyone has a phone with a camera these days. Only the making of videos and building of an audience is time consuming, and as a YouTuber progresses, they can develop professionally, partly by getting new equipment, and make even better content. C states that viral marketing is an entity itself, and that they work by building more sustainable audiences. He explains that there is an audience growth branch that focuses on expanding viewership, looks at ways to optimize the channel and so on. To maximize a specific video’s reach, they a number of factors, which include where the different viewers are coming from, the demographics, and then look at watch time and retention rates, as well as how to best place annotations. 4.2. Measurement of Success B mentioned likes in the previous theme, however, he does not use this as a measurement. He says that he looks at conversions. This means his measure of success is when he posts something without spending a penny and gets a good conversion rate. As B looks at conversions, D states that he looks at historical data, the view curve and setting a goal to reach. As an artist builds up a gallery of videos, he looks at how many views there have been and then sets a number of views as a goal to reach. These views are not to be confused with a view per person or one person viewing the video a number of times. The view in general, for D, is one metric. The view per unique person is a different one. He explains that this metric is the one to use when he wants to see the number of true fans, and not passerby’s. However, D admits that sometimes, it is pure luck. As for P, she says that success is measurable by the amount of views and how much a video is shared, as well as how high the interaction is. R answers that it depends on the campaign. Whether a person goes to the website after viewing a video, whether someone clicks on a banner or purchases a product; These can be seen as basic metrics of success. He also mentions that surveys can be used as a measurement tool, as well as looking at conversion rates. From W’s view, a viral marketing campaign is successful when it achieves its aims. If a campaign cannot convert viewers into customers even it has had a lot of impressions, this means it has not been worth the spend to market it. Therefore, he states that it is measurable in core metrics for the intended goal of the campaign, for example new sales or new followers and so on. As a live broadcaster, S looked more at the number of viewers that were in his broadcasts. He also mentioned about the views on YouTube. On social media in general, he looks at the conversion rates. Therefore, the number of likes and retweets on Twitter, the number of likes and comments on Instagram and so on. 23 [Type here] According to G, as an expert in YouTube audience building, there are two things that are worthless there. The first is subscribers and the second is views. He articulates that the watch time is the crucial metric when doing YouTube, meaning how long people stay and watch the creator’s video. He points out that lately, YouTube is trying to remove all clickbait videos. The goal of these videos is to pull viewers by having a non-­‐relating thumbnail or title, providing viewers a negative experience. Even if viewers click on the video, because its relevance is not there, they also leave immediately. G points out that the longer a creator’s video makes sure the viewers stay, the more YouTube will do their best to promote their content. By doing this, he says that this is how YouTube makes certain content. An example he gives is of a 20 minute long video. If it is able to keep viewers for 15 minutes long, then the algorithm behind YouTube would place it at the top of searches and be promoted more. However, he adds that if the goal with a video is shareability, then shorter videos are more effective. If these shorter videos are pulling in lots of views, he states that YouTube will also place those on top of the search lists. Shorter videos means that they are 2 to 3 minutes long. G articulates that it all comes down to watch time. To measure success, C states that the largest metric they look at is watch time, and second in line is the retention rate. The basic metrics like the likes and dislikes are also looked at, as well as the best upload times. 4.3. Influence of Storytelling on Virality Storytelling, for B, has not played a major part in his experience with viral marketing. He states that he was much more subject focused, therefore, for example, secrets of video games were his stories to be told. People took interest and interacted. B articulates that it is important not to hide the message, and that whatever is being posted, is high quality videos. Once the interest is there, it can be wise to tease the audience. D has had more experience in terms of storytelling. He finds that It is important to expose oneself as an artist. D says that this is because fans want to understand the artist as a person, not only because of their music. He states that relatability and relevance is crucial, and therefore, according to D, artists should take various themes and create their stories around that. An additional point that he mentions is the artist-­‐fan interaction, around the story and beside the story. Having discussed storytelling with the previous interviewees, P also finds that storytelling is important and often overlooked. She states that storytelling helps to define the brand: the why, the how and the what. It is important to know what the message is that wants to be conveyed, what direction is being worked towards and so on, according to her. The first 10 seconds of a video is where it has got to make it count. She says the reason for this is because of the short attention span of people. She admits that, through experience, it is better to record spontaneous videos than to invest in a directed, acted video. R finds that having a storyline definitely has added value. He articulates the fact that in the world of a music artist, it is important to show an audience what is happening, give them something to follow, and show them how things come together. He uses an example of the Backstreet Boys, where they had their own reality TV show. An important aspect of storytelling, according to Mark, is an entertaining and authentic factor. For a beginning artist, he advises to test and figure out what works. R does come to the conclusion that, in any case, good music must be made. 24 [Type here] According to W, storytelling is vital for some approaches. He says that, in order to increase interaction, a story needs to be conveyed to an audience. Any number of graphs and numbers are not going to trigger interaction, especially on social media. He states that the idea of social media is to touch the audience’s social side. This means that their motives and emotional responses should be targeted with a strong story, he says. As for effectiveness, W has seen it be effective in uncountable cases, for example keynote speeches and YouTube content. He stresses the importance of a well-­‐written story. In addition to that, he states that it is all about managing and controlling influence, which is in his opinion, best done by sharing a personal story. W shares that, from his marketing experience, a short narrative fits well to a music video. A narrative containing something simple and heavily visual gives the most impact, in which he links to the ‘love’-­‐related music videos in the past few years. He explains that the content of a music video depends a lot on the intended effect on the audience. If the intention of a video is describing the struggles of an artist, he wants to see footage from behind the scenes, or of the artist’s actual journeys. However, in the case if it is about a fictional love story, W would like to see a directed story, containing the challenges that are coherent to the music. He states that it is important to always consider the case in front of at hand and that there is no ‘one-­‐size fits all’ template for it. For S, storytelling has passively played a role in his videos. He implemented it within his entertaining YouTube videos. He mentions that, on YouTube and live broadcasting apps, he focuses on picking up the trends and implementing his personal touch, therefore also creating his storyline along the way. G indicates that storytelling could be a factor that is looked at when building up YouTube channels. He states that If content is made, then it is good to have a connecting story to go with it. An example he shows is the gaming channels. He states that there are many gaming channels, but this one particular YouTuber stands out by telling his story, in combination with playing retro games, resulting in touching many people. This distinguishes a channel from the others in the same genre. The example of a YouTube channel called RetroSneakers comes to mind when C is asked about storytelling. He explains how they used storytelling to develop the channel of only shoes to one that has a personality with the shoes. 4.4. Influence of Playback Devices and Channels on Virality From B’s experience, he recommends LinkedIn because of its potential for organic growth. He explains that, on one post, he managed to reach a million reach without spending anything. B takes the example of the viral game Flappy Bird and says, even though it is a mobile game, the creators of it targeted it in a great way. However, it was shared offline, mouth-­‐to-­‐mouth. That is the real power of going viral, says B. According to D, in order to understand the digital ecosystem, the behavior of the users in it need to be understood. He states that people are digital anarchists, meaning that the audience decides themselves which place, with what device, at what time, they want to consume certain content. D says that once this behavior is understood, the chances of connecting with fans on a creator’s content will increase. He advises artists to analyze their fans first, then decide when and where to place content. With Hardwell, they use an interactive bot to answer all relevant questions the millions of fans ask, increasing the artist-­‐fan interaction. 25 [Type here] To P, there is a clear difference in activity and in effectivity in the various channels. She states that an artist must start by asking themselves which channels should be used. The fact that a certain channel exists, does not mean it is effective or needed. She mentions Twitter as a channel that needs relevance, manpower and news value to be successful. According to P, regularly posting is important, as well as unity in posts. On Facebook, she says it is important to see a balance of inspiration, education, information, humor and engagement. If a post is randomly sent, people will ignore it. She states that if higher engagement is intended, it is important to pose questions in the posts. She articulates that looking at the time and analyzing what works and what does not is also important. P also advises that if the goal is increasing presence, it is wise to use a cross-­‐media campaign, whereas if the goal is for a high conversion, she advises to use Google and Facebook. Stepping to Mark, he mentions that if an artist is small, it would be tricky to do a cross-­‐media campaign. The reason he states, is that it is very time consuming. For an artist, he says that it depends. As a young singer-­‐songwriter, the artist should aim at Instagram and Snapchat. According to Mark, those are currently booming platforms for that target group and that artists should think of Instagram and Snap Stories for example. He also advises to start with a small strategy for the two platforms first, and then expand once those are established. R also articulates that it is wise to focus on mobile platforms. He does advise to keep in mind the positioning of a video, meaning in which plane it is filmed in. W’s point of view on playback devices and channels, is that all well-­‐prepared and well-­‐managed campaigns tend to perform extremely well. For his clients, he noticed that Instagram is the best platform. His team does their best to produce highly visual content, which is suits well for Instagram. From W’s experience, he points out that mobile performs best for them, since everyone uses social media on their phone these days. Dependent on the client in front of him, he states that in general it is best to focus on using 1 to 2, maybe 3, social media platforms than to try to be everywhere. However, W does mention that it is never a bad thing to have accounts on all the major social networks but be very active on the main 3. This is where he points out that, usually, it is a combination of either Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. Since S is a social media influencer, he possesses various social media accounts. However his main platforms are Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. He states that all girls and high school guys use Instagram. At first, from his experience, S thought that everyone had an Instagram account. Until he switched from broadcasting platforms, whereas at the ‘newer’ platform, none of the streaming guys there had Instagram, which was a surprise and weird to him. He feels that after getting out of high school, people seem to use Instagram less and less. Besides this, he also notices on Twitter, that everyone has Twitter, except for the younger girls. He states that currently his Instagram has 308,000 followers, while his Twitter holds less than half, a meager 115,000 followers, and he says that people would expect him to have roughly the same amount of followers. As for comparing interaction between the platforms, he mentions that it is difficult to do so since Instagram is picture based and when people see a picture, it is easy to double tap it to like it. Whereas on Twitter, he states that people post five or six times a day but people are not as obligated to click the favorite button as they are to double tap a picture. He adds that unless the notifications are turned on, they are most likely not even going to see the tweet. Tweeting once a day, he personally uses Twitter to tweet relatable things even though he does not like the platform. We then mention the platform of Musical.ly. He states that he now rarely uses the platform, but instead he uses the live streaming 26 [Type here] app behind it. He compares the new platform with the previous platform YouNow that he used. He finds that Live.ly is more thriving because it has an app to back it, whereas for YouNow, it does not have an app to back it. He mentions that YouNow does not have its followers coming from anything. It is just an app that is there. Since Musical.ly is already a huge app, which has just been sold for a billion dollars, Live.ly has their fans coming from it. On top of that, S states that Live.ly’s gifts to broadcasters are more girl friendly, unlike YouNow’s dull tip jar. From a YouTube audience grower’s point of view, G states that other social media channels are important. If a good video is made, the intention is for it to be shared everywhere. So it is important to have a certain presence on the intended platforms to drive the conversation. He advises that, when sharing videos, Facebook and Instagram should be involved. However, he adds that Facebook is becoming mainstream, whereas Instagram is the booming platform. C states that as the other social media platforms have just developed into something more, they are currently setting up to involve the other platforms. 4.5. Influence of Content Uniqueness on Virality B says that he is sharing his adventures and it’s working. His opinion is that someone does not have to be unique, but if they tell personal stories, that is what makes their things unique and personal. He states that his stories have been similar to what others have done, but still unique since his perspective might be different and how he shows it might be different. There is no particular strategy laid out by him, but he always thinks in the area of what is going to work this year and onwards. According to B, people dislike marketing campaigns and that now, it is a people business, Person-­‐to-­‐Person (also known as P2P). He mentions that behind the scenes pictures must be posted and also when something goes wrong, it must be posted. B indicates that even a ‘bad’ iPhone photo is better than, for example, having a photo taken from the internet of two guys in a business suit, who are not even working for the company. When asked about unique content, D replies in an amused way, asking whether there is any unique content on the internet. He emphasizes 3 factors which makes content ‘unique’: Timing, tone of voice and packaging of the content. The one thing he can consider unique is the music, even though a song is always sounding a little like another. However, according to D, this is due to the creators being influenced by others. As he mentions the case with Hardwell’s dog, he also tells artists and influencers to explore more into what they want to post, before posting. In P’s opinion, unique content is very important. She points out that, if content is not unique, then creators are always a step behind. All content, in her opinion, should be self-­‐written, self-­‐produced, self-­‐filmed and so on. She states that the content must always be personal, that it must touch the audience, be relevant to the audience, in order to make them feel involved and trigger shares. P emphasizes that a direct personal message on Facebook contains more value than randomly sharing a message in the open. According to her, personal affinity with a post is one of the keys for triggering shares. Two other factors she mentions is authenticity and accessibility. The content should meet the norms, values and interests of the creator. She states that the previously mentioned links to the reason ads on search words are purchasable. 27 [Type here] R finds that it is important to maintain creativity because of its power of spontaneity. He says that creators could replicate something of another creator, but there will be multiple people doing the same thing. This is where R poses the question of how a creator replicating the content of someone else can add their personal touch to it, therefore automatically triggering creativity. He emphasizes that it is important to stay true to oneself and see how the hooks of the audience can be hooked on to. He uses an example of two Idols contestants, Jim and Jamai, pointing out how they turned their personal touch into their strength, allowing their uniqueness to stand out. R states that the creativity will come eventually after finding the personal touch. He points out that the important genres to look at for videos, are drama and humor. People will watch those; However, he advises to not make the videos too playful. W’s response on unique content is that it is, to a certain degree, important because the audience does not want to see something they have seen a lot before. However, to him, it is not always about making ‘new’ content, but more presenting it in a new light. For W, uniqueness is all about uniqueness. Even if something has been in his feed on social media all week, he wants to see that piece of content presented in a new light, a new format, or from a new angle, personalized. He states that it is all about showing the audience something they already like, in a form that they find appealing, therefore, causing them to be drawn to it. All content W is drawn to has to have a ‘Wow’ factor. However, for a shareable post, it should be more relatable to trigger him to share. Therefore, he concludes that it is important to contain both. In his case, he says that it is often dependent on whether the medium and content are appropriate, but an appealing design can often give the post the ‘Wow’ factor to encourage him to share. As for content, S states that there are two things for YouTube. Either an own trend is created, or a trend is replicated and made better. The reason is that if a video is not trend related, then no one is going to watch a boring video. He adds to his answer that he would look at the trends and do something slightly different, whilst trying to put more effort in it than the others did and making it a better version of the original, in an attempt to make it funnier and more entertaining. An example he provides is a video which blew up because he was the second person to upload a video like it. The title and the content of the video was reacting to a certain type of girls’ Musical.lys, which his parents were not too happy about. He says that he was first not intending to post it, but after he saw the amount of views that came in, he did not regret posting it as he received 350,000 views. Thus far, he has not personally came up with something completely new, but within a circle of friends, they managed to come up with something together. S mentions that he only tweets that he posts are relatable ones and that these are meant to get followers and more retweets. As for sharing, S states that he rarely retweets anything unless it is something that promotes himself, and on Instagram, he states that he only posts pictures where he thinks he looks good in. On YouTube, it has been such that S filmed and edited a complete video and decided not to post it, with various reasons ranging from his energy not being hyped enough for his liking, or he did not look well and so on. He also states that if, for example, on Instagram, he likes the aesthetics of a photo, he tends to like it. G advises to look at what the tested formats are, stating that the wheel does not continuously have to be reinvented. He adds to look at what is popular and people are looking for. He indicates that we should look at the trending page and analyze how much original content is there. From this, he states that we will find that it contains mainly of tested formats. He articulates that it is not about making original content that no one else has ever made, but it is putting our own twist and our own 28 [Type here] personality in it. He indicates that a mistake many YouTubers make is too much chatter in the videos. The first ten seconds of the video is crucial to grab the viewers’ attention. Therefore, this is what G works on first with his clients, to keep viewers watching. In terms of genre, an example he provides is the case of gaming videos. So many people make them that, at some point, YouTube becomes saturated. At this point, he states that another genre becomes popular. Currently, G mentions that the entertainment angle is the popular one now. He states that creators are trying to emulate TV series, providing the example of StukTV, who are making what is similar to a reality TV show. As creators, we must show ourselves and be authentic, showing the ‘giving’ factor. It is important that the audience sees that the creator is no different to them. He uses Dutch YouTuber Enzo Knol as an example, where Enzo open-­‐heartedly spoke about his childhood in his vlogs, with which his audience could identify themselves with and that makes him human. G summarizes by agreeing that if our content is great and worth watching for the audience, then it should do well online. As for content, C states that creators they work with create new content, as well as looking at what’s trending and making it their own. But what it comes down to, he mentions, is that it is more about the person rather than the subject. If the audience likes hanging out with the person, then they are more likely to become fans of the channel, instead of just being there for an interesting topic of the week. C notices that the genre of vlogs is working best at the moment, and that within the genre of vlogs, there is also a great amount of niche genres. As for video length, he mentions that it depends on the creator. However, he advises a new YouTuber to aim for a 5 to 10 minute video. 29 [Type here] 5. Conclusions 5.1. Sub Questions 5.1.1. How effective is Viral Marketing in pop music? Viral music videos have been existing for many years. Looking at the history from the desk research, we see that PSY, Justin Bieber, the Harlem Shake dance, the Nae Nae dance and so on, have all gone viral. But, what is it that is truly happening with them mentioned videos? From 10 Yetis’ research, there was a process of setting up and executing the campaign of PSY. In the case of Justin Bieber, it has also been similar. As for the Harlem Shake and the Nae Nae, through P2P marketing, a large number of people decided to also make and upload a video of it, causing the dances to become viral. From the qualitative research, viral marketing is not the proper term to call this form of marketing. In the majority of the interviews, the interviewees have mentioned the term influencer in them. They advise artists to reach out to influencers, to get their music picked up by the influencers and enlarge their fan base this way. From this, it can be understood that viral marketing has become influencer marketing, where once one or more influencers think that an artist’s content should be picked up, the snowball effect will start. The interviewees have also mentioned that the costs of viral marketing are low. However, the time investment is higher than traditional marketing methods, but the outcome, if successful, is also high. Whether viral marketing is effective in pop music, we can say that, on it is not. From an influencer point of view, it is important to watch trends and to collaborate with other people who have a similar goal, which is to spread their content and build a fan base. This on top of a lot of hard work. To conclude, the desk research and qualitative research cohere to a certain extent, where going viral is a process to be well planned and prepared. However, viral marketing in itself has transformed into influencer marketing. 5.1.2. How can the success rate (reproduction rate) of a video be measured? The desk research mentioned two critical factors determining the success rate: Likeliness to share and the number of people to whom something is shared. The campaigns mentioned in the theoretical framework were strategically placed in order to achieve the reproduction rate. In the qualitative research, we get an insight to what digital media and marketing managers look at and consider successful. A major theme that rose from the interview is conversion rate. The conversion rate is seen from different metrics and perspectives. One metric is, if a creator has a number of videos, they can look at the historical data, analyze the number of views and look at the view curve. Another metric that can be used to be measured is the view per unique person, in order to distinguish the true fans, from the passerby’s. The metric of the number of shares can also be used to monitor the success rate. Asking questions through social media can also be used not only as tool for interaction, but also to receive feedback from the audience and from that, an artist can determine whether a post or an upload is successful. 30 [Type here] From an influencer’s point of view, the views of a live broadcast is important. For social media in general, the conversion rate is looked at. From an YouTube audience builder point of view, watch time is the crucial metric. As a conclusion, we can say that there are a number of metrics that can be used to measure how successful a video is, with watch time being the most important metric. A combination of all of them can be looked at as a target to maximize the success rate when planning to spread a new video. 5.1.3. What aspects of storytelling influence the virality of a video? From the desk research, we can conclude that a story must be unique, must have an original point of view for the audience to look again, must also be genuine and also be able to manipulate behavior. The qualitative research done tells us that it is important, when storytelling, for it to be personal, authentic, relatable and relevant. An artist needs to be ready to expose themselves and their fragility in their story, whether it is behind the scenes footage, personal experiences, or the journey to where they are now or anything. It must be made their own. The message within the video should cohere to, in an artist’s case, what the lyrics of the song of the video says. To conclude, it can be said that storytelling definitely plays an important role in the virality of a video. If a video is does not appear to be real to the audience and looks fabricated, the audience will not be interested in it and therefore, causing them to leave within the first few seconds of the video. 5.1.4. What aspects of playback devices and channels influence the virality of a video? In the desk research, we find that there are 8 categories of platforms where music videos can be found. The results of the University of Vermont’s research (Spinelli, 2015) shows that a computer, a tablet and a mobile phone are the most popular platforms for consuming music. YouTube is proven to be the top platform for video streaming, especially for younger audiences. From the qualitative research, we find that the power of getting content out there, lies in the understanding of the individual digital ecosystem, then depending on what platform the artist is present on, decide what, which, where, when and how to post. YouTube is proven to be the main platform to upload videos on. As for social media platforms, It is advised to select 2 to 3 to use. If a younger audience is the target group, Instagram is the top pick platform to share videos on, with Snapchat and Facebook coming after it. Live broadcasting can be done to increase artist-­‐fan interaction if wanted. Next to this, once an artist is more established and his millions of fans following them, it is possible to include some form of a bot on their website to increase the artist-­‐fan interaction. It is also advised to aim at the mobile platforms as the use of smartphones and such is continuously increasing. To conclude, it is agreed between the desk research and qualitative research that YouTube is the main platform to upload video content on, as well as that mobile devices should be the targeted device to film for. For a younger audience, the artist should analyze their active social media platforms and determine what is best for them to do in terms of uploading and promoting. 31 [Type here] 5.1.5. What influence does content uniqueness have on the virality of a video? The desk research indicates that video is the future of content marketing, with the video criteria of being one of a kind, relevant, uniquely valuable and a great user experience. The entire viral campaign should be unique and creative. The message content plays a major part in keeping the audience interested. The qualitative research states that content uniqueness is important. However, the opinions on the form of unique content varies. The majority states that content does not necessarily need to be completely new. The reason for this is because there is an uncountable amount of tested formats on the internet, which causes the making of content unheard before, very difficult. The interviewees advise to either create a trend, or look at trends and make the videos personal. Making it personal means putting a personal twist in it, putting more effort in, making it funnier, more entertaining, be relatable and be relevant. To keep an audience’s attention, what should be avoided is too much chatter in the beginning of the video and be interesting with the first ten seconds. An artist is also advised to look at what they have around them; The simplest situations, objects or life forms can be used as a great source of artist-­‐fan interaction. To conclude, both the desk research and qualitative research have agreed that content should be unique and creative. This uniqueness and creativity comes from either creating trends or turning trends into personalized content, of which the intention is to grab the attention of the audience, resulting in a bigger influence of unique content on the virality of the video. 5.2. Central Question What conditions are needed for a music video to have a higher chance to have a reproduction rate greater than 1? Unless an artist is already big, music videos are not popular by themselves. They are supported by a number of factors in and around it, besides the fact that the music must be good. For a video to be spread, the interviewees have emphasized that influencers should be involved in the marketing process. This allows the music video to be delivered to hundred thousands of people at once. The reproduction rate of a music video can be measured by looking at the conversion rate and the watch time of a video. The conversion means the amount of likes, shares, views and comments on the video. Measuring the watch time of a video lets an artist know whether what they are is right and, with a positive result, ensures that YouTube will promote the content. Knowing that watch time and conversions are crucial elements for building an audience online, this means that the importance of grabbing the attention of the viewer in the first ten seconds of the video is very high. The use of humor or drama is the most popular trend used in storytelling. In combination with good music, The chances of keeping the viewers will be higher and therefore, the chances of the reproduction rate being greater than 1 is also higher. Since it has been noticed by multiple interviewees that the mobile platform is growing, when recording a video, doing it according to the format and plane of the mobile phones can give the video a higher chance of going viral. This allows the audience to be able to share it at a more efficient pace. Next to this, it is important to put a proper, attractive title, along with the right tags, on the 32 [Type here] video for the audience to find and for YouTube to properly place and promote it. Dependent on which social media channels an artist or an influencer is more established on, it can then be decided where to push the video, and whether it will be sufficient on one channel or more. This will ensure a more consistent rate of spreading the video virally. The content of the video does not have to be new. Picking up a trend and putting more effort and a personal twist in it already makes it unique. On top of that, the music next to the story adds to the uniqueness. It is important to keep in mind that, if it concerns one song, that the story should be coherent to the lyrics to an extent. Having a matching story adds value to keeping the attention of the audience, therefore increasing the watch time of the video and the chance of it to be shared. In addition, it is important to remember to have positive thoughts; Not everyone will like the content you produce, but this is the case for everyone, not only artists. 5.3. Limitations and Critical Reflection A narrow timeframe of twenty weeks was given to do the research. Therefore, decisions needed to be made in terms of what exactly needs to be researched to answer the central question. Partly because of the short timeframe, it was a challenge to get a bigger number of interviewees, which was also due to the lack of time that many potential participants had. Even though some responses have gradually become saturated, it could be such that with more participants, there could have been a wider range of results. The lack of experience in interviewing people could also be the cause for small errors or asking interviewees questions that could not get the answers that answer the research questions. However, it feels that the best has been done with the amount of experience that was present. Interview questions were made to interview digital media experts at first, which went smoothly, until having an interview with a social media influencer and YouTube audience builders. However, during the interview, the questions have been modified in order to receive proper related answers. It is the nature of a human being to make minor mistakes. The research report has be read multiple times by the researcher and reflected on part by part before presenting the final version. The paper has been looked at by external parties to ensure higher quality, which includes advice on the layout of the report and the interview topics. 33 [Type here] 6. Recommendations Recommendations for the conditions that give a music video a higher chance to go viral is formulated according to the research results and the professional knowledge and perspective of the researcher. If the research is conducted again, recommendations could be different as there is a possibility that the perspectives of interviewees could differ, as well as the professional knowledge and perspective of the researcher may differ. 6.1. Network, Team Up and Progress It’s not only in the music industry that is necessary to network, but the entertainment industry in general is important for artists. The opinions of the interviewees prove that it is important to make connections with other artists, social media influencers and independent music managers: Develop ideas together, helping each other creating content, promoting each other on various social media channels, growing each other’s fan bases. A great example is the recent collaboration between the new boyband Why Don’t We and social media influencer Logan Paul. The two mentioned teamed up in the fall of 2017 and now the boyband is touring across America, selling out shows. Unless an artist possesses an unbelievably unique voice and an incredibly attractive appearance, working individually is impossible because of the amount of independent artists that are trying to get seen on the internet. The classic deals record labels give artists for the promotion is to get a cut from the artists’ recordings, tours, merchandise, streams, and so on. However, in the case with the record label, their main intention is to generate profit from all of their artists. As independent artists and social media influencers, the power is in your own hands. Besides the opportunity of sharing profits, the intention is to grow with each other, share ideas. As Henry Ford said, coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. When working and growing together, for example, a tour amongst other things, can be developed from it, and in addition, it can be made more personal, since as a group and uncontrolled by anyone, you, together with the partners and perhaps an independent manager, decide who, what, when, where, which and how. A manager could still be necessary in order to spread the workload. This includes doing the paperwork, bookings, ordering extra merchandise stock and so on. 6.2. Increasing Social Media Growth By Being Basic Many artists and influencers try to find the most perfect photo or video to post on social media, but this is unnecessary. No one is perfect. It is important to see what is in front of and around you. The audience wants to see that they can relate to an artist. Being relevant is the key to maintaining a fan base, as well as to expand it. Be it a dog, a trophy, baby clothing, food, anything. It must be kept in mind that the right caption, title, tags and so on must be correctly placed on every platform. It is also helpful to remember that it is more about the personality than about the subject. If the audience likes to hang out with a creator, they are more likely to be converted from viewers to subscribers. If the target group is teenage girls, then Instagram must be one of the platforms to be present on. Make use of the hashtags on this platform. It is also advised to make use of the Instagram stories, as well as occasional live broadcasts. Live broadcasts are essential to increase the artist-­‐fan interaction. If you love to game occasionally, involve fans by broadcasting live on Twitch. This allows fans to 34 [Type here] watch you play, join your game, talk with you and cheer for you. Besides the increase in artist-­‐fan interaction, it is another source of income. Next to Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are also great places to be present on. On Snapchat, teenagers are present on a daily basis, being interested in the lives of their friends, as well as the lives of their idols. Whereas Facebook is a good platform to promote on with Facebook ads, if a small budget is available. No matter what platform you decide to use, make sure the fans have your notifications turned on. This ensures that they know you have posted something and that they should go check it out. 6.3. Increasing Video Attention for Unknown Artists As music artists, it is that the music videos produced are seen, preferably at an exponential rate. YouTube remains the main platform to upload videos on. It is important to understand that it has no use to monitor how many times the video has been viewed. To trigger YouTube to automatically promote your video, a long watch time is what should be aimed for. For a longer watch time and to become, as well as remain, relevant, it is necessary for the content to be attractive for the audience. If a story is made in the beginning of a music video, make sure that it is connected to the song itself, and that the story is as real as it can be. The audience loves to see content they can relate to. Elements of humor and drama can only add value to the video, as long as it does not become too playful. What also can be considered, if teaming up with more influencers, they can be involved in the video, having them act and being part of your story. Even if you are a music artist, a consideration can be done to also do vlogs, challenges, parodies and so on, to entertain and reach the potential audience, who does not know you or your music yet. If you have this intention, this can show more sides of you and can increase your likeability. The content of any video created does not have to be brand new. But instead, take something that is trending and put your personal twist in it. If everyone must continuously only upload brand new content, a large number of YouTubers will have a burnout just by thinking too much about it. In addition, even the content should not always be thought about too hard. If you, for example, own a pet, why not involve it in your video? The added value of something personal increases the chances of keeping a viewer interested by miles. Just as all social media posts, make sure the title is attention grabbing but coherent to the content of your videos. This avoids the risk of losing a viewer, who leaves because of a misleading title, misleading tags and thumbnail. When a music video is made, an option is to upload inviting and catchy teasers for the various social media platforms to tempt your audience to watch it. 6.4. Further Research Suggestions For a subsequent research, it is suggested that it can be interesting to also see what the audience’s point of view is, on the reasons that content manages to grab and keep their attention. 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more-­‐fans-­‐social-­‐media/ 46 [Type here] Wallop, H. (2014, May 7). Here's How Pop Stars Make Money Now that People Don't Buy Music. Retrieved March 4, 2017, from Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-­‐
5?international=true&r=US&IR=T Weinberger, N. M. (2003). The Music In Our Minds . EBSCO Publishing . Wilde, S. (2013). Viral Marketing Within Social Networking Sites: The Creation of an Effective Viral Marketing Campaign. Hamburg: Diplomica Verlag GmbH. Woerndl, M., Papagiannidis, S., Bourlakis, M., & Li, F. (2008). Internet-­‐induced marketing techniques: Critical factors in viral marketing campaigns. Retrieved May 30, 2017, from University of Kent: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/25586/1/3_1-­‐-­‐33-­‐45-­‐Woerndl,Papagiannidis,Bourlakis,Li.pdf Woolf, J. (2016, August 29). Yeezys are the Most Influential Sneakers of 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2017, from GQ: http://www.gq.com/story/yeezy-­‐boost-­‐sneaker-­‐350-­‐design-­‐influence Young Works . (2011, August 15). WAAROM MENSEN ONLINE INFORMATIE DELEN. Retrieved February 21, 2016, from Young Works Blog: http://www.youngworks.nl/waarom-­‐mensen-­‐
online-­‐informatie-­‐delen/ 47 [Type here] 8. Appendices Appendix A. Environmental Analysis of the Client The following paragraphs will describe the environmental factors affecting the artist. The analysis will be executed from the macro level to the meso level. The problem exists through the rise of technology, the rapid developments of the internet and the various social media platforms. In this modern age, the young people are part of the millennial generation. This generation is the reason there is a lot of change in communication technologies (Boundless, 2016). A1. Macro Environment of Today The macro environment of the industry will be analyzed by means of a DESTEP model. The model consists of six factors: Demographic, Economic, Social, Technological, Ecological, and Political, which includes Legal (Frue, 2017). The DESTEP model was selected because of past experiences when analyzing the macro environment. Demographic A major global matter is the smartphone usage growth. According to GSMA Intelligence (GSMA Intelligence, 2017), the number of active smartphones is currently just under 8.1 billion phones. The global population, according to the United States Census Bureau (United States Census Bureau, 2017), is currently just under 7.4 billion. This means that there are currently over half a billion more smartphones active than the number of humans. According to research done by United Nations (United Nations, 2012), there are 1.6 billion youth and adolescents as of 2012, which makes up of 21,6% of the total global population. As of 2015, 73% of youth and adolescents possess a smartphone and are online daily (Pew Research Center, 2015). As new artists tend to aim at younger people as part of their target group, many doors open up for the artists. With the high smartphone usage, this means that social media is also being used much more, and therefore allowing artists to generate more awareness and engage with fans more. Economical An economical matter is the income from digital distribution. According to the Music Consumer Insight Report of 2016 (Maskell & IFPI, 2016), 71% of internet users consume licensed music, on various platforms and 48% of all internet users pay for music. The many options of licensed digital services provide listener with a wider selection, which also increases the number of consumers paying for streaming services as Spotify (Maskell & IFPI, 2016). For artists with an established fan base, placing their music on streaming services is a sustainable option. However, many smaller artists are seeing fractions of cents coming from streaming services and are also assuming that the consumers who are streaming are also consumers who would have paid for the tracks in another way (Swanson & Herzig, 2013). According to research on digital distribution revenue by Information is Beautiful, for an unsigned artist to earn the minimum wage of US$1.260 monthly, 700,000 streams would be needed on YouTube, 180,000 streams from Spotify or 70,391 streams from Google Play would be needed (Information is Beautiful, 2015). For an artist in the beginning of his career, it is a major challenge to reach these numbers. Therefore, a beginning artist must exploit newer and other income streams, as well as generate more awareness alternatively. 48 [Type here] Social Linking to the previous factor, content and information sharing is a major social matter. Social media platforms allow people to be more connected and to share content with each other. Five key reasons why people share online content are to entertain and teach others, to define themselves, to show involvement, to grow relationships and to spread the word (Alton, 2016). The sharing rate of teenagers in the US has grown by 12% within six years, according to research by the Pew Research Center (Madden, et al., 2013). Through the increased rate of content sharing, this provides artists with more opportunities to share their content and gives their social media strategy an increased value. Another major matter in the social factors is crowdsourcing, where people tap into a collective intelligence of the public to complete business-­‐related tasks that one would normally either do themselves or outsource it to a third-­‐party (Al Sever, 2008). Independent artists can make use of this method to generate fan-­‐oriented content and increase their fan-­‐interaction. Technological The internet is a continuing factor that affects the industry. Artists are no longer reliant on record deals with major labels and the internet allows up and coming musicians to launch their career independently. Thanks to the internet, distribution methods have increased and therefore also increasing competition, which have an effect on the cost of products. A re-­‐evaluation of how consumers use their products has been executed by record labels and artists due to the internet, which resulted in the so-­‐called “iPod effect”. This effect is where instead of having multiple CDs with a few favorite songs on each of them, consumers can now put their favorite songs on a storage medium (UK Essays, 2013). For independent artists, this has advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is that it provides a lot of independence and new opportunities for their content to be shared. A disadvantage is that it is accessible for anyone and therefore, creates a lot of competition. Political and Legal Government subsidies are a matter of concern for both artists and venues. In the recent years, because of higher costs and less revenue, venues must adjust their program to a more commercial line-­‐up. Many of these venues have depended on the government subsidies for a long time, which is now slowly diminishing (3voor12, 2011). This means that the independent artists will have less opportunity to perform at these venues, until they have an established fan base and is, therefore, a threat for independent artists. As for the subsidy of artists, Member of Parliament Arno Rutte of the Dutch political party VVD stated to the Algemeen Dagblad (Algemeen Dagblad, 2013), that it is absurd the travel agency of the ministry of Education, Culture and Science pays the trips of established artists. Rutte revealed that established artists like Caro Emerald received 5000 euros for concerts in England, Laura Jansen received 7500 euros for performances in China, Wouter Hamel received 15,000 euros in 2012 and 2013 for performances in China and South-­‐Korea, and the band Nits received a total amount of 10,000 euros (Algemeen Dagblad, 2013). According to Impala Music (Impala, 2012), as an established artist, Caro Emerald has received a Triple Platinum award, meaning that she has sold over 1.2 million albums in 2012. This means that she can effortlessly fund her tour in England 49 [Type here] without subsidies from the government, where the 5000 euros given to her could be put to better use in subsidizing less established artists. A change towards funding the less established artists who actually need it could provide many opportunities. A1.1. Macro trends The current macro trends that concern the industry is the continuously rising usage of smart phones and the rapid evolution of technology. Within the main trend of smart phone usage, the usage of various apps is on the rise. According to Forbes, the main trends occur in the app streaming and in having a better in-­‐app experience. The industry should look to integrate the music business with the app business to open new opportunities and potentially generate new revenue streams. The technological developments in the live streaming area and virtual and augmented reality are also current trends. At a macro level, the music industry should look to integrate the music business with live streaming apps and companies. Some of the factors that affect the increased popularity in live streaming is because of practicality of portable devices, improved internet connections and also the live interaction features. Therefore, becoming a more diverse platform for consumer, which is more accessible and has less interruptions. Virtual has seen less success so far than augmented reality. The app Pokémon Go is a major example of an augmented reality app, which brought millions of users together on a physical and simultaneously digital experience. Over the coming years, the virtual reality technology will continue to develop and it could be an area where the music industry could dive into. The trend factor of app streaming lets users reach content to other apps which have not been downloaded yet. This could potentially eliminate websites where information is gathered, being replaced by app streaming. As for the factor of a better in-­‐app experience, the social media apps are exploring into uncharted territories to improve the functionality and offer a more different messaging experience than consumers are used to. The vision is to eliminate the necessity to exit an app to find a functionality in another. The music industry could look into integrating more services into specified apps created for their company and their clients (DeMers, 2016) . A2. Meso Environment of Today The meso market factor concerns the dynamics of a relevant sector in an industry. As the Client is a musician, the factors within the performance sector will be analyzed using the Five Forces model of Porter. This model provides an understanding of the Client’s competitors in the industry and an insight on the impact they can have (Bristoll, 2013). Threat of New Entrants To start with, the threat of new entrants will first be analyzed. For the music industry, the threat of new entrants is low. The music industry requires a certain amount of experience and knowledge of it. The process of scouting an artist and becoming successful with them needs to have a certain expertise in marketing their product, managing them, as well as investing in them (Fountoukidis, 2013). 50 [Type here] Another factor which plays a role is the market share. As UMG, Sony and Warner are the majors, they control a lot of the market and as a new entrant, it is a challenge to win some ground from them (Ingham, 2015). Because of the power imbalance, this could be a point of concern for new entrants and the reason they would pull back (Byrne, How Music Works, 2013). Connecting with the previous factor with the majors, if the supply and distribution channels are limited or controlled by the majors, the threat to new entrants would be a lot lower. Before digitalization, the majors had the control of the traditional distribution channels. Today, independent artists and labels have more selection in distribution channels, while suppliers are willing to provide for the independents, as long as they generate revenue (Sander, 2013). Threat of Substitutes The threat of substitutes in the industry is high. Music as entertainment can be replaced by other forms of entertainment. For teenagers, according to research by Common Sense Media (Rideout, 2015), 30% selected listening to music as their favorite media activity. The other 70% consists of playing video games (30%), playing video games (15%), reading (10%), using social media (10%) and watching TV (9%) (Rideout, 2015). This shows that even though music is at the top of the list, playing video games is an attractive alternative as entertainment amongst teens. As an artist, live performances are important. Since this is considered a leisure activity, there is a high possibility that it can be substituted. This includes going to the theater for a show, visiting a museum, spending time with friends and family, visiting a game or a funfair. According to research by the Office of National Statistics (Seddon, 2011), even though 90% of teenagers enjoy listening to music, from the same group, 87% enjoy spending time with friends and family, and 72% enjoy going to the cinema. This shows that there are other activities people would participate as much as they would like to go to a live performance. Bargaining Power of Buyers The bargaining power of buyers is currently low. For a record label, for example, their buyers are distributors. These distributors then sell the products to music fans, who are the ultimate customers. Even with the technology today, distributors are still the main platform for selling products and services, whether they are physical copies, streaming or download services, music publishers or sync agents, radio stations, or tickets for venues or festivals (Thomson & Cook, 2012). The ultimate customer purchases these products and services and in turn, artists and composers receive royalties for these purchases through their distributors (Fountoukidis, 2013). For distributors, they do not depend on the type of product to be distributed, but on the supply of products from record labels or artists. Digitalization allowed music to become more easily reached and therefore, causing a rise in music consumption (Nield, 2015). The result of this is that distribution is no longer being controlled by the majors and that they can freely decide what they would like to distribute. Today, new content is the key to reaching existing and potential fans, as the fans want as much as they can get from wherever they can find the content they want (Byrne, David Byrne: 'The internet will suck all creative content out of the world', 2013). Because of this, there is an increase to the power of music fans, the ultimate customers (Fountoukidis, 2013). The freedom of finding personal tastes and music has become easier thanks to accessibility. But what appeals to consumers, 51 [Type here] is the ability to consume content without paying. Spotify has recently reached over 100 million monthly active users. However, even though Spotify possess the streaming industry’s biggest paid subscribers base, there are 30 million subscribers who pay for the service, while the other 70 million continue to enjoy a free streaming service with an occasional commercial break (Reuters, 2016). With the accessibility of social media, consumers have more power than before and therefore, can possibly demand more. As Forbes mentions (Mainwearing, 2011), consumers now possess the power to make or break an artist. Bargaining Power of Suppliers Music artists need to have a studio to be able to record their music. This means that either the artist is in possession of recording equipment already, or the artist needs to have the equipment supplied externally. Studio costs are pricy, however, due to the vast number of studios in the market, an artist has options to choose from. The main factor artists must be aware of before going into agreement with a studio, is the experience of the studio and the price to quality ratio. The most financially optimum solution would be to purchase equipment, but knowledge is also needed to operate them. The bargaining power of suppliers is currently low. The music industry depends on artists, writers and producers to supply their products and services to labels and venue, depending on whether they work independently or not (Allen, 2017). There are many artists in the industry, meaning many suppliers. 70% of independent artists surveyed by IFPI mentioned that their goal is to be signed to a record label, where 64% also mentioned that it would allow them to grow (IFPI, 2014). Therefore, the suppliers of the industry depend on the interest of the buyers. Because of digitalization, the competition between suppliers has risen a lot (Nield, 2015). The artists, who are also the suppliers, do not have to be signed to a label in order to have their music distributed worldwide, if they wish to remain independent (Adejobi, 2015). Majors have had control over distribution for a long time, but today, artists either do it independently or sign with an independent label, to a deal that is favorable to the artist (Adejobi, 2015). Major labels now have to let go of more ground to independent labels, since the suppliers’ power has risen (Ingham, 2015). Competitive Rivalry The competitive rivalry is medium. As an artist, there is always competitiveness in the industry. Since there are currently three major labels in the industry, they are the competitive rival of each other, whereas the smaller labels are competing for smaller percentages of the market (Sisario, 2014). As the majors have been present for decades, they will not be challenged easily. The smaller labels will, therefore, concentrate on niche markets, so that they can have a bigger chance of survival (Sisario, 2014). Because of the amount of competition, independent artists, who are at the start of their career, have a hard time creating a sustainable living (Coules, 2014). More opportunities and larger companies can rise from a consistent industry, whereas stagnation or declination of a market can cause one or more companies to become bankrupt (Johnson, Whittington, & Scholes, 2011). From an analysis by Ed Christman from Billboard (Christman, 2017), for the first time in 20 years, the American music industry sees the first double digit growth. In 2016, the revenue was US$7,65 billion, which was US$6,87 million more than in 2015. Therefore, a rise of 11,4% (Christman, 2017). Streaming services was the revenue stream that was pulling the business 52 [Type here] back to health, rising with 68,5% from 2015 to 2016 (Christman, 2017). Therefore, since the industry is growing again, competitive rivalry is positively affected and opportunities have opened. Fixed costs is another factor that has an effect on competitive rivalry. A rise in competitiveness in an industry could be the result of high fixed costs (Johnson, Whittington, & Scholes, 2011). By increasing volumes, companies intend to reduce their variable costs to a minimum because of the high fixed costs. This results in price wars, coming from the price cuts through larger volumes (Johnson, Whittington, & Scholes, 2011). For record labels, the fixed costs are fairly low (Hutchison, 2006). Their fixed costs include a mortgage, personnel wages and operating costs (Hutchison, 2006). For independent artists, since they only need a location for rehearsal and production, their fixed costs are lower than that of the labels. Even though costs can be minimized as independent artists, risks are higher as independents. They would have to invest themselves to be able to release their new product, which does not give assurance that it will be sold. Whereas with labels, since they have their network, they have more assurance that a new release can be recouped if they invest in it (Sherrard, 2006). Because of the higher boundary and risk, the amount of competition to getting signed has increased with independent artists. However, as technology continues to develop, the level of competition is lower. Less investment is needed to distribute music digitally and crowdfunding campaigns help support independent artists in their new releases (Jupp, 2013). As a differentiated industry, the competitive rivalry is low. Consumers will not step from Sony to Warner because they reduced cost, but instead, they would make the change because one label is selling a certain artist they are fan of. Since there is a high level of differentiation, it is easy for consumers to switch one competitor to another (Johnson, Whittington, & Scholes, 2011). Industry Attractiveness Analysis By analyzing the data from the Porter’s five forces analysis, an industry attractiveness hypothesis can be created. The main points include: • For current players, the low threat of new entrants is beneficial. However, new players, it can be an obstruction. • The threat of substitutes is high. Therefore, when targeting a market, the perceived value of the product being sold to consumers must be well thought through first. • Buyers currently have a low power, which is beneficial for businesses. If the power of buyers rises in long term, it could cause issues. However, these will not instantly affect the majors. • Suppliers currently have low power, which is beneficial for businesses. If the power of buyers rises in long term, it could cause issues. However, these will not instantly affect the majors. • In terms of competitive rivalry, there are high and low areas. For new entrants, smaller companies and independent artists, competition could be a concern. As for the major labels, the effects of competitive rivalry are not present yet. A2.1. Meso trends In the performing sector, there are three meso trends to be discussed. According to the World Economic Forum, virtual reality, also known as VR, is one of these trends. Virtual Reality is a phenomenon that has emerged recently. Platforms like YouTube, PlayStation, Xbox, computer gaming, mobile platforms have begun embracing it. Within this music industry sector according to 53 [Type here] World Economic Forum, some musicians are already making use of VR, in combination with a performance or as a marketing channel for a song. To be able to allow fans worldwide to experience a concert, VR is also being used to stream concerts live. Another way VR can be implemented is to organize VR fan days, where fans can pass time with their favorite artist in VR (Harding, 2016). According to the World Economic Forum, the second trend which could transform the sector is artificial intelligence, also known as AI. The website states that AI can potentially assist producers and musicians with many compositions and allow them to concentrate on creativity. However, on the other hand, it could also produce a major loss of income for many musicians (Harding, 2016). Last but not least, according to the website, the blockchain and bitcoin could be another trend. Many songs have data that is incorrect. Blockchain could therefore be a possible answer to this, where musicians can upload all of their information and payment details onto one secure platform. Some musicians already are trying to use bitcoin as a way of being paid. This is a currency that is becoming more popular across the years, according to the website (Harding, 2016). 54 [Type here] Appendix B. Interviews The researcher has substituted his name with the letter Y. B1. Transcript with B Y -­‐ What do you think of Viral Marketing? Is it effective? How much have you done it yourself? B -­‐ I think Viral Marketing is very important. I’m applying some techniques, like for example, I’m changing the way I do publications on social media. So, on LinkedIn… I just did it today. If I’m going to release a new eBook, I’m not just gonna post like “Hey I have a new eBook coming soon…”. What I would say is, “If you want me to send you a link to the new eBook, comment on this post or write “Yes, I want the eBook.”. It always works great. The last time I had more than a thousand likes and a thousand comments, over 600 connection requests. So, that’s when I started doing Viral Marketing, by just starting conversations and maintaining conversation. After a while I was responding, and the next day, more people start responding. The organic growth is just insane. I don’t really put a lot of money into social media marketing. I do a lot of things organic and do viral things. So, I think it works way better in creative media. It just requires more set-­‐up and it takes a little longer, so its way better. Y -­‐ So it just takes more time than financially-­‐based… B -­‐ Yeah absolutely! You spend a lot more time doing viral marketing things. With ads, it’s just create ads and let’s go, but the results are way worse. Y -­‐ So how exactly would you measure success and (what would you) consider to be successful? Speaking of 1000 likes and comments, is that already successful for you or do you expect to have a lot more? Or perhaps it’s over what you were expecting? B -­‐ I don’t really look at likes. I look more at conversions. And if a single post gives me 500-­‐600 connection requests so that they can download the eBook, without paying a single dollar or euro or whatever you want to call it, to promote it. I think that’s how success can be measured, by looking at conversions. Y -­‐ So have you done anything, videos for clients or perhaps websites even, and use the effect of storytelling. ‘Cause storytelling has been a hype in a lot of videos, like music videos I mean. Have you done anything similar to that for clients? B -­‐ Videos are super important but we are not doing that yet for clients. We’re focusing on a lot of different stuff. But back when I was 16 years old, I posted a video with a secret of a video game and I would put my SEO just right with keywords and then I started spreading it on Reddit for example, because it’s a site to go viral, and I reached 400,000 views I think. So that was already a part of viral marketing back at 16 years old. Y -­‐ So that’s a lot more search engine based basically, was there any story per se behind it or so? Or was it just something you posted? (Decided to post) B -­‐ I really just posted stuff on video games. But when I post it on Reddit, I show like what I discovered and people who are interested clicked on the video and actually got a bunch of likes and a 55 [Type here] couple of dislikes, so… I think it’s really important to not hide your message. There’s also a lot of things that are basic, I try to avoid that and make high quality stuff. And if they’re interested, I tease them a little bit. Y -­‐ OK cool, so you mentioned LinkedIn for the eBook. Did you use any other channels or perhaps devices and found them effective or not? What’s your experience with different channels and devices? B -­‐ I would recommend LinkedIn because the organic reach is just insane. Facebook is so saturated, while LinkedIn… Not a lot of people do LinkedIn right, but if you do LinkedIn right, it’s sooo easy to get followers whenever you want. I mean I’m up to 6000 connection requests now and I don’t even add anyone. They just add me because my organic reach is insane. I have like… In one post, I have a million reach without spending a single dollar on it so… it works really well. Y -­‐ So the content you have posted so far, is it unique content or is it more made personal? What do you think you’re doing right now, whether it’s effective? B -­‐ I’m just sharing my adventures and it’s really working. I don’t think you have to be unique, but I mean my things are unique and personal, ‘cause I just tell personal stories. … My stories have been something similar (to others) but still unique because my perspective might be different, the way I show it might be different. Sharing on LinkedIn, I’m not doing any... I don’t really have a LinkedIn strategy. I just post whatever I want, it always works for the audience. So that’s basically what I’m doing, I don’t really have a strategy in mind. I’m just always thinking: O... What’s gonna work in 2018 and onwards? People hate marketing campaigns. We’re in the people business now, it’s not B2B, it’s not B2C, it’s person to person (P2P), so that’s how it is. Y -­‐ So the people to people (P2P), you mean seeing the perspective of the people who post right? B -­‐ Yeah, you have to post behind the scenes pictures, you have to post when something goes bad, you have to post when something goes well. You need to stop using stock photography, and we need to make our own photography. Even if it’s just a ‘bad’ iPhone picture, it’s gonna be worth a lot more than having a random picture of two guys in a business suit that are not even working for the company. Y -­‐ So based on some past works, like Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake and things like that, is there any particular emotion or reaction you had to those? Or perhaps you noticed amongst your peers talking about it? B -­‐ Well, it went viral because it targeted the right market, which is little kids, and little kids like sharing so it became a word-­‐of-­‐mouth strategy. The thing is, the time it goes viral, most cases is really random. For example, Flappy Bird, it has been in the app store for like… what, a year? And then it just went viral out of nowhere. Just by word-­‐of-­‐mouth. People told each other. There was no marketing involved and sometimes it can go really fast. It was made by a corporate in America. Seen in Belgium and then shared to the UK where it went viral because 1 guy saw it and got a thousand likes from his share. Y -­‐ So right now, in your case, in terms of sharing content you would stick with LinkedIn, instead of using multiple platforms, right? 56 [Type here] B -­‐ LinkedIn is really valuable. Y -­‐ For example, Flappy bird, would you use Instagram as the only platform to share it, or would you mix it with Facebook, Twitter, etc? B -­‐ You can’t share Flappy Bird; You gotta do it face to face, offline, that’s the real power of viral. It happens offline. Like the Harlem Shake, the guy who did it first, did he ever spend a dollar on marketing? So viral goes through face-­‐to-­‐face, so it’s offline. If you want to go viral in a business perspective, you have to make it authentic, transparent, personal and you have to make it on LinkedIn. B2. Transcript with D Y -­‐ What’s your opinion about Viral Marketing? D -­‐ To be honest, viral marketing doesn’t exist. Because in the analog times, when I was having the record company at ID&T, we already had viral marketing. Viral marketing is just a marketing term of a marketing thing. The whole virality is not existing. It’s just like in the old days in the analog, when you had a record and you went to a radio station, or you went to the music director or to the DJ of the radio station, then you say I have a record and this is the story about the record, would you like to play it? When they were playing the records, then you were selling records, because it was on the radio. People hear it on the radio, but it’s not because it was on the radio one time; No, it was constantly on the radio. So, it has a fast position on the playlist. The same mechanisms are working in the digital world. It’s not because your music is on Spotify, or video is on YouTube. You need to generate views! It’s the same way that’s working like plugging at a radio station to a music director, or to a DJ: would you play my records. You have to send out or your video or your music to influencers. And when the influencers are picking it up, then probably the snowball is going to roll. So, viral marketing doesn’t exist. It has different terms. Now it’s called influencing marketing (or something similar). But it’s how it works in the analog world, when you would like to share music, then you had to go to radio stations or to DJs that they are playing your records. That’s still the same in the digital world, only the people and the channels are different. The mechanism remains the same. Y -­‐ Speaking of channels and devices, do you see a big difference in how far and how fast something can spread on different channels? What are your thoughts on it? D -­‐ To understand the digital ecosystem in general, you have to understand the behavior of the users of the digital ecosystem. It’s a strange thing, marketeers or people spreading their content, they’re saying: well, you have to consume the content on this channel. However, we as users of the digital ecosystem, are digital anarchists. We decide ourselves from which location, with which device, on which time, we consume such and such content. So, you have to understand that whole range of things and that’s the whole thing on marketing these days is that it became so complex. When you understand and when you are willing to understand. That’s the tricky thing, you have to be willing to understand. And not to say: “Oh, I’ll spread my music on Facebook…”. People think that simple, but if and when you understand the user behavior on each device, on each channel, then you also see the complete ecosystem and then you see where you can increase the chances to connect with your music fans on your content. So, for me it’s like reverse thinking. First, I analyze the complete 57 [Type here] ecosystem to understand where the users are, then I’m going to place my content on such and such time when the users are there, on those specific channels. Y -­‐ For artists, it would be understanding and analyzing the fanbase first, and trying to target them that way. D -­‐ Yes, that’s it! It’s a complete reverse thinking, because people… I don’t know how it came, I don’t know exactly how the idea was vested in the music industry, but somehow, we have a website, we have a database, we have fans and we have social channels… Well put it on and we’ll see… In general, that’s music marketing, and that doesn’t work. Y -­‐ So financially, you don’t need that much of an amount to get out there, right? D -­‐ No! With a really small budget actually, you can achieve a lot of your goals and objectives. Y -­‐ How about content? Does it have to be unique or something personal? D -­‐ Is there any unique content on the internet? It’s a matter of timing, the tone of voice, the packaging of the content which makes it unique. Those 3 things. In general, there is no unique content. When it’s music, it’s music. So that’s unique. And a song is always sounding a bit like another song, because the creators of that are influenced by other people. Well, that’s the same on content. So, if you have the right packaging, and the timing is right, and the tone of voice is right, then it’s on the spot. Y -­‐ So how about storytelling in videos? For example, 30 seconds to Mars, they have a narrative video in front of the video (Making of or behind scenes). Do you think it has an effect on the audience? D -­‐ Yeah, the better you are able to expose/disclose yourself as an artist. Because everybody wants to understand the artist, as a person, not only because it’s a great song. But we want to relate to an artist, like ‘Oh wow, it’s a great guy! Besides his music is great, he’s very enthusiastic about…’, take a topic, or take a theme, and create your story around that. That’s what people really would like to know. Fans want to have a likeable artist. You want to like the musician/artist. So that means you have to be relevant to people. And that’s the thing they relate to. So it’s not only by ‘Here I am, it’s a great song!’, ‘Oh I’m a big artist, Sia, my flashy life. Private jets whatever.’. Everybody is proud when they can fly in a private jet. However, it’s not a common thing you can relate to. When you see the private jet for the tenth time, then you’ll say like, well tell something different. Maybe are you worried about children in Africa, or something more down-­‐to-­‐earth. Choose something. Y -­‐ So the fragileness of an artist, their whole life is a major factor… D -­‐ I think it becomes more and more a major factor actually to be successful that people can relate to an artist and that means you have to have other relevant topics or themes which they can relate to. Y -­‐ In a person’s life, there’s positive stuff and negative stuff. Should an artist be expressing both sides or just filtering out and resort to only positivity? D -­‐ No of course you always get people who have questions, who have remarks and who have opinions. It’s always good to be out there and answer those things. So, in my opinion, we are 58 [Type here] entering in the stage right now where the relationship becomes closer. We already see this with a client of ours, Hardwell, which is a DJ. We saw that the artist fan relationship is the most valuable thing in this business model. This means actually, that to maintain millions of fans, that we need to answer all relevant questions. You can’t do that manually, so we built a bot on that. So, the bot is able to answer 80% of all questions already. And that’s all very simple questions. People have very simple questions: “Where do you play tonight”, “What are you doing at the moment”, “Where are you”. Y -­‐ It makes it more personal… D -­‐ Yeah, “Where are you”, “Do you have a picture of the flag of Mexico”, “Do you have a picture where you’re playing at Ultra music”. When you answer that with the bot, immediately people react like: “Oh wait a minute, I can approach him!”. That’s the next phase of communicating on an ultimate level, based on simple questions. And of course, there are also difficult questions. We are keeping them and try to answer them manually later. Y -­‐ There have been past videos which have gone viral, Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake. What have you experienced when you came across it? What are your thoughts? D -­‐ Sometimes it’s just luck. I had a couple of great hits in the past in the analog world. And I always thought like “Oh this is a great song”, I didn’t know which position it will enter in the top 40 or how many records we would sell. All of a sudden, we had a golden award and we said “Well, we can do it.”. You never can predict how viral you go, the same with videos. Sometimes you feel like, well, this video is gonna work, we will hit, in Hardwell’s case. Then we feel like, well this will hit 200,000 to 300,000 views. And then it just hits 50 or 100. And then you’re not happy. It’s still 50 or 100,000 views. Once in a while, you have this crazy thing. We had an Instagram post 3 years ago. We didn’t realize it at the time that we could have made lots more things on this. We just posted a picture of his dog called Jager. At that time, it had like a million views. Just a dog. So, it’s got nothing to do with music or whatever. So, this is like this lucky thing. It’s unpredictable. What’s predictable is that you can move things. So, you can move that it’s going to be viewed, or to be listened. However, the outcome you don’t know. Did we know how many views Gangnam Style would have? There’s no answer on virality. There’s a great book about it, the Tipping Point from Malcolm Gladwell. That’s explaining how epidemics breaks out and how it starts. It’s about virality. Y -­‐ How would you measure a success? D -­‐ What we do with our clients is just, based on historical data, when we have like 100 videos of you, then we are able to predict a sort of view curve. Then we will say with which number are we happy when it’s achieved. So sometimes we say 50,000, sometimes we say 100,000, sometimes we say 1,000,000. And that’s the whole path of growth we want to achieve. And that’s how the sentiment on the office and on all the people working on that particular project or content type, well it’s a success or not. Y -­‐ And these views, are they distinguished per person or can one person just watch it ten times or hundred times? D -­‐ That’s a different metric actually. So, for us, the view is just a metric. However, unique persons are also a metric. And what we want to see, is who is the heavy viewer, who watches it ten times, 59 [Type here] that’s a very important person actually. (Those are the true fans.) Yeah exactly, and the ones who are watching one or two times, those are just passerby’s. B3. Transcript with P Y -­‐ What is your opinion on viral marketing? How much of it have you done? How effective is it according to you? P -­‐ It is very effective but unpredictable, because it can’t be planned. You can’t assume that something you think of or create, goes viral just like that. The not going viral of a post/video/tweet is dependent of various factors. I have made a ‘viral video’ once as a teaser for a campaign. We wanted to generate buzz, to raise curiosity, so that it would stimulate the visitors to the website of the event. It was expensive (10,000 Euros) to make the video, but we had no idea what the result would be. It was a directed video, with actors. In the end, the result of the video was almost nil. I have concluded that the not going viral of your video can’t be planned. It must be picked up by the right people/influencers, and you can’t influence that. And it needs to be authentic and real, not learnt by heart or acted. Commercial messages fail to do this. People know when something is true and real, and also when something is acted, fake or commercial. Y -­‐ For a campaign, what is successful according to you and how is it measurable? P -­‐ It’s clearly measurable by the amount of views and how much something is shared. The most important one is how high the interaction is. Y -­‐ Looking at it financially, is it necessary to have a high budget or can it also be done with a small one? And why? P -­‐ Both can be done! And putting in a big budget doesn’t really mean guaranteed success, just as the same can happen with a small to no budget where you can possibly achieve a lot. A budget is handy to setup a basic campaign. For example, Google Adwords, SEO, so that your campaign is visible and also its measurability. On top of that specific campaigns with for example YouTube Preroll and Facebook ads. The setup of a media mix is good for campaign for sure. Also, don’t underestimate PR! I have once sold 8000 tickets just by PR! It was a show of Andre Kuipers in Ziggo Dome, where we got him on the show ‘Koffietijd’, on ‘Evers staat op’, and got him to do interviews in daily papers and radio and so on. That represents an enormous media value. If you would buy that value, the show wouldn’t be profitable, and purchased media value like TV ads aren’t as valuable, because it’s commercial. Editorial attention has more value in combination with a budget on the media mix ensures conversion. Conversion can always be measured. Meaning how many tickets or products I sell in a certain period, and it can also be linked to the campaign period. It’s crucial to always measure this, and to know which campaign works and what doesn’t. Y -­‐ For an artist, would you recommend them to focus on getting their videos to go viral or would you advise more? P -­‐ As I said, it’s unplannable and not in our control. You can make your video as great as you want it to be; it can be very relevant. But whether a large number of people will like it or not and share it, is something that’s uncontrollable and is dependent on various factors like timing, relevance and so on. 60 [Type here] As for the old videos of PSY and Harlem Shake, it worked for them but it was unpredictable that it would have such a major effect. Y -­‐ So, what is your opinion on storytelling? How effective is it according to you? P -­‐ Storytelling is always important, but it is often overlooked by companies. They skip a few steps because of too little insight, time or manpower and go directly into execution or purchasing. It’s important to apply the WHY HOW WHAT to your brand, as long as you know the identity of the brand. Look up Simon Sinek’s The Golden Circle on YouTube. Having knowledge of the base of how storytelling works is good to be able to determine which story you want to tell by external communication. Look at the consistent pattern of all the Disney movies. It’s important to know your message well, where you’re working towards, and what your best moments are and so on. Y -­‐ What kind of length of story do you think best fit to a (music) video or aftermovie? P -­‐ I have made aftermovies of 1, 2 and 3 minutes. The 1 minute video doesn’t achieve any less than the longer versions. You can create a whole story in an aftermovie, which is great to place your identity, your brand. But there is no guarantee that the video will be fully watched or works better than a shorter one! Most of the time, people stop watching after the first 10 seconds, so you have to ‘grab their attention’ with the intro. The current attention span of people is that of a nat and there are so many videos online. EVERYTHING is video and in the future, it will only become more and more important. I have realized that spontaneous videos, like videos recorded by artists in the studio, or short directed videos, like a short quote or recording of an artist backstage, work BETTER, meaning more likes and social engagement, than a 3 minute aftermovie of 50,000 euros or more. The choice is made then; Save your budget and post your storytelling through Facebook or Instagram or similar platforms, by making short, personal videos. Y -­‐ What is your opinion on the content of a story for a (music) video or aftermovie? Think of behind the scenes; story of an artist or event; a made-­‐up story; challenges; or anything else. P -­‐ Authenticity is important, teasing, behind the scenes, ‘Diary’ or a vlog, humor. The content is important! A story must be well built. There are video companies who are capable of doing that. Also, independent videographers will always start with ‘the story’. Y -­‐ Do you see a clear difference in activity and in effectivity in various social media channels? What is in your opinion the reason for this? P -­‐ Yes, there is a clear difference. A company, artist or brand must start by asking themselves which social media channels should be used. The fact that Twitter exists, doesn’t mean that it’s a channel that is effective or needed. It is only interesting if you are relevant or if you want to be relevant and have the manpower and news value to post several times on Twitter. Just like the difference between a static site and a dynamic site. Instagram also cannot be used sporadically; For all social channels, REGULARITY is important, and a UNITY in the post. Use of color, photos, variety in text and image and so on, ensures that if you would see all posts on 1 page, that it comes from 1 sender, 1 unit. For Facebook, it’s important to see the combinations between inspiration, education, information, humor and engagement. If you just randomly ‘send’, people will ignore it. The right balance in this, in percentage, is very important. By doing this, you can organize and secure your posts so that your followers stay stimulated. As for effectivity, this depends on your goals. If you 61 [Type here] want a higher engagement, you have to ask more questions in your posts for example. Also look at the time of your posts, analyze what works and what doesn’t. Do you get more likes on a small video than on a photo? Do you get a lot of reactions on an inspiring post with a quote? Does a Throwback Thursday post work? And so on. It’s important to keep a close watch on this. Y -­‐ Would you focus on one social media channel or would you combine multiple for a cross-­‐medial campaign? P -­‐ That depends on the budget and goal. Cross medial is better if your goal is ‘increasing presence’. Fully focusing on Google and Facebook for a conversion as large as possible is another goal. Y -­‐ How important is unique content in your opinion? Is it something completely new or existing and made personal? P -­‐ Very important of course. If you only share existing content, you’re always 1 step behind. As much self-­‐created content as possible, self-­‐written, self-­‐produced, self-­‐filmed and so on. So, not existing content. I can’t see how something that already exists can be made personal. Y -­‐ What triggers you to share? P -­‐ It must always be personal; It has to touch you, be relevant to you, meaning in terms of entertainment, lifestyle or health for example, you have to know the person who posts something you will share, to make you feel involved. To share a personal message on Facebook is a lot more valuable than a random sharing of a message. It’s all about the personal affinity with a post. Why do you share a post? Where does it touch you? Y -­‐ In your opinion, is a ‘Wow’ factor important for content or is relatable content more important? P -­‐ Both, alternately. Authenticity is important, accessibility. It needs to appeal to you because it meets your own norms and values and interests. This is why you can buy ads on search words and interest, hobbies and jobs. B4. Transcript with R Y -­‐ What is your opinion on viral marketing? R -­‐ What you see is that, the moment that you have unique idea, and sometimes it gets picked up by a news magazine like RTLZ or shownieuws. But even they mostly get tipped from somewhere like ‘Hey, there’s a new business idea’ and a lot of the time, that has something to do with something else. But in general, viral doesn’t exist and there’s a certain reason for it. So, if you’re fan of Redbull, and watch all their videos, then most probably there are one or two other brands in it also. It can vary by the day. But people cannot process more than that if they are continuously busy with it. So, if you see a video of a brand… I take it your talking about viral for a brand, right? Y -­‐ Well, actually I’m talking about viral marketing for an artist, but after all, an artist eventually becomes a brand. R -­‐ Yeah, what you see in that, is that in my opinion, and many share the opinion, is that something viral is something that someone films. If you have a brand, or a band or other artists, it needs to 62 [Type here] happen professionally. A lot of the time, it is already filmed professionally. That costs a lot of money. And after that it needs to be spread. So, you put it on YouTube, then you need a lot of luck. On Facebook, that the right person, if you place it in the organic way, sees it. Because, for example, if you and I want to go viral somewhere, but we don’t have a following. Our only following are our friends and that’s it. And if you think, this is awesome, and I have to share it somewhere. But that almost never happens anymore and most things that go viral these days are all paid. And I have a lot of experience with that because I have been asked to make things ‘go viral’. That is very difficult, moreover we say it’s almost impossible. But with KLM for example, in the meantime it’s not my plan anymore. We made advertisements for them for 3 years already on a global scale. And an example of what we do is, we let a video be uploaded, so not by ourselves, but other parties. So, we ask other parties if they can upload or post the video at the same time. And because of that, it looks as if it has gone viral. And then it’s the wait and see whether people will watch the video. The moment when people genuinely like it, you stop your advertising. Sometimes within 2 hours it has already worked. So, we really have just asked all the publishers whether they want to upload our video, and that we had to pay for. Y -­‐ Ah so there’s a bit of a planning behind it… R -­‐ Exactly, and for example with shownieuws, shownieuws is also paid to say certain things. Of course, they do it with their own script, but we do that to promote certain brands. And also, with a band, the list of Giel Beelen, he has to have seen it somewhere and he has to be enthusiastic to promote them more. What kind of artist is it? Y -­‐ Pop singer-­‐songwriter R -­‐ That’s someone who could occasionally go viral. But then you see a lot of the time someone behind you. There has been a great influencer sharing. And after that of course it must catch on and people must like it. So, that’s how I would think an artist would break through. I must say in the music scene, I’m not as good. But what we see with viral marketing, is that also in other countries, great people stand behind artists. And look at the talent shows, the people that come from there. There are only a couple that are truly successful in the end. For example, Jim Bakkum, he plays in all kinds of musicals and received the support from whole Holland. And not so long after he’s performing in the Efteling with a pointed hat. So yeah, if you want to go viral as a pop artist, you would need big people behind you and a lot of talent. Today, we really see that, the moment that you go viral, that there is someone big behind you who gives you a boost. Or it really has to be something that truly is viral, and these days, that only comes from consumers. And for that, something special needs to happen, like being blown away by the wind. The whole world wants to see that because it’s funny. So yeah, those work. And it’s also made on a mobile phone, undirected, and everyone sees that. And then it’s obvious that this person does not have the intention to become popular. He just filmed something that happened at the right moment at the right time. And people love it. Less commercial. You also see those small bands who suddenly get a lot of attention by a certain influencer who’s been there, made a small video, puts it on Facebook and for example, Robbie Williams says that it’s the newest pop artist and everyone should go to them. Then a lot of people check it out right away because everyone knows Robbie Williams. Y -­‐ So, you do a lot of video for clients, right? What do you consider successful? How do you measure it? 63 [Type here] R -­‐ It depends. With KLM, we had different kinds of campaigns and strategies. And whether people will watch the content, that’s a kind of combination between good planning and good content. So, if you look at, with KLM, we had a small dog that brought objects back to customers. I’m not sure how many views we got on it but it’s ridiculous, somewhere in the 2 billion, something like 2,6. But we did make sure that it would go live at the same time all around the world. And after 1,5 hours, we stopped with advertising, and we looked at the organic growth of it and see what is good for us. And we also had campaigns that looked at the consideration of KLM. So, the numbers show us that 70% of the video campaigns are campaigns to make sure that people become engaged with the brand. And there are different metrics to it. What we just mentioned were the basic metrics, do they go to the website afterwards, or do they click on a banner, do they buy a product, which doesn’t always happen directly after viewing a video. But it could be such that, consumers see an ad of a crisp brand on TV, and the next day, they buy a bag of crisps. So, online you can measure that, whether the visitor delivers more value. Another thing is the use of surveys. Then you would ask, have you seen a commercial lately of a certain brand. And then you would ask more about the usefulness of the campaigns. And then you have sales campaigns. Despite the fact that videos aren’t the best sales channel, then you must make sure you have the best offer. For example, the KLM world deals, we make use of the video to make sure people know that it’s there again and that they must obtain the best deal as soon as possible. Y -­‐ Financially, from what I understand, it can be done with a lot of budget, but also with a little, right? R -­‐ You must have a minimum. And it depends, but you must make sure that you will reach 75-­‐80% of your defined target group: People who have interest in music, and people who are in a certain area. Then you can find out the size of the target group in a certain area, and then you would say, in that range I would like to advertise to people who love music in that age category. Then advertise and I want to reach 80% of them. And minimum twice advertised, or else it’s useless and then you also see that the effect isn’t there yet. Then you know exactly how much money you need. And the moment you see that you don’t have that much money yet, you can decide that you make your target group smaller. Then adjustments can be made in age and so on. What we always do, is we look at the target group, therein we want to reach minimum 75-­‐80% of them. Then you know what you need to spend. Y -­‐ So, we still have Facebook ads, do these still work? If we post on Facebook these days, maybe only 10% of our friends see it, and the rest they don’t even see it. R -­‐ No, that’s true. A lot of people have ad blockers these days. Right now, we see that the age group who uses it the most is until 24. But it’s going to shift. Because above 24, almost nobody has it. It’s a thing that came 5 years ago for the target group 16-­‐18. So, they are now 21 around. Y -­‐ It grows with them. R -­‐ Yeah, but those are still students, so the world isn’t too worried about it yet. But it will come for sure. We’re not sure which direction it will go. For example, we work for Nuon, we make the productions. A lot of different videos. So not just one video, but for one campaign, we surely have an X number of videos ready. From that we see positive results from people who are members of Nuon, maintain a positive feeling about Nuon. Because in principle, see it this way, you pay every 64 [Type here] month for energy, and it hurts. And you don’t get anything back. Because, you put the plug in the socket and everything works. But of course, that’s the purpose of electricity. It hurts, so you think it’s annoying. So, the pain, we will reduce it by focusing on fun campaigns. So, for example in the newsletter, a variation of topics will be provided. And you see that a big group of people who get energy from Nuon, watch the video and actually like seeing the videos. Those are organically placed posts. Next to that, we also do some advertisements. Sometimes it works better than others. And that’s to build up audience. Because if you have been reached once on Facebook, that means as a consumer, you have adopted it. So, if you have watched it for a minimum of 2 seconds, then we have your data. That means I know that you think it’s interesting, what you like, what you do on the internet. Because the Facebook button, it’s on a lot of websites. That means that if you get on that website, then Facebook sees which website you are on. But for us, then we know what interests you have. So, for example if you go to iloverabbits.com, we can give you a personalized ad. But it doesn’t directly go to that person, because that would be a bit creepy if we know everything. It goes in bigger groups. So, we make it a general question. That’s how we retarget, where we then place it in a video or banner, ‘please become a member of Nuon’. So, videos on Facebook works well in that part. And next to that, you have the performance ads of Facebook. You know what display advertising is, right? Just the banners that you have online. So, Facebook is a part of display advertising, as a platform. And therein you see that Facebook has a much higher conversion ratio than other sites. Because in the app, it’s very easy to see something you like and go back and forth. And you stay within the platform. So, the site loads within the app of Facebook. And these days, Facebook is used a lot on mobile, around 99%. So, with that, we can also work with offline stores. For example, we see that you’re close to Tele2 but you’re a member of T-­‐Mobile, then we can send you a push message, that you go on Facebook and it says ‘Hey, do you want a new iPhone from T-­‐
Mobile?’. We can execute those kinds of tricks. So, at the moment, we see that it works pretty well. And the stupid thing is, we thought that the group of around 24 would not be on Facebook as much because they are using it less. But they use it more as a newsfeed, so instead of reading the news, they read it on Facebook. They’re not actively sharing things anymore, but they use it minimally twice a week. So, the funny thing is, people say they don’t use it anymore, but they all use it, just not like how they use Instagram, Snapchat and so on. As for LinkedIn, for eBooks it works very well. There was for a period of half a year where everyone wanted to be connected to as many people as possible. To write an eBook, it’s not really a brand. Someone writes a book and already for years there have been tricks in how to sell a book as efficient as possible. A friend of mine has written an eBook once on 10 tips on how to flirt with a girl. Written in a certain way. Well, that boy most certainly cannot flirt with a girl at all. But he has written that eBook so well and with an algorithm that, well I have no idea how much he sold, but he sold way too many, because he got rich from it and used the money to start his own company. And other people have also made fake profiles to try to pursue that. And eBooks, it’s a nice example and as a consumer, I can make sure you’re connected to 5000 people on LinkedIn. Very easy. A lot of people did that in one go. No idea what the reason was but it just happened, that’s more as a consumer opinion about it. An eBook is more consumer behavior than sales. A little bit entrepreneurial but not really a brand. For brands, we use it a lot in a qualitative way. For KLM World Deals it would work, but LinkedIn is quite pricy. So, the prices begin at 25-­‐euro cpm, and it’s 5-­‐6 times more expensive than Facebook at least. So, it’s really expensive and the relevance must be high. And if a company does an update and it’s a business update, it’s sometimes better to do it on LinkedIn than Facebook. It works better there. 65 [Type here] Y -­‐ We spoke about storyline/telling. You do a lot of storyline for companies as I understand. Do you think it has an added value? R -­‐ Yes, 100%. Especially in the artist world, people want to follow, people want to know what they are doing, and how things come together. Those are things they love. And that has been like this for a while, like how the Backstreet Boys at one point started a TV series, people were just watching a reality series with 5 boys who performed and that’s it. Consumers want to know everything. They want to know what happens behind the scenes, how a song comes together. I think, it depends, but as an artist, that it for sure helps. What I keep finding a tough thing, is that, artists are sometimes all about nothing. So, you for sure should think about storylines, for sure make entertaining videos, and see what works and what doesn’t. Maybe even just a video with your mobile or a good camera, some good videos come from them. View it first, see what happens. Before posting videos, analyze them, see where people stop watching, and sometimes, you’ll see for example, at the 14th second, it goes to slow or it’s something boring, so people stop watching. OK, edit it and make it again. The moment that you can understand that field and can analyze it well, then you gain knowledge on how you can shoot your videos in a better way, which story they want to hear, what they like, what they dislike. I think that the focus should be put there. Y -­‐ So, stay relevant and make them personal in terms of videos? R -­‐ Yes, and keep testing, normally if you’re not famous yet, it doesn’t really matter to test. If you have 50 views and then there’s a spike to 200, it’s still nothing. It doesn’t matter if you look like ‘a clown’ because of it. See it as a learning process. Because a lot of people want to get the gold medal in one go, but in the end, when the music of an artist is amazing, and also tell their story behind them in an awesome way. All the influencers also do that. If you look at StukTV and Enzo Knol, of course, they started a long time ago on YouTube, that’s their advantage. But Enzo Knol involves his friends, StukTV regularly has videos with a mother there, they make it personal while it actually isn’t really personal anymore. Moreover, we work a lot with StukTV. But 70% of the videos that they post online now are fully directed. So, it only looks like and feels like as if those people are really personal. All the posts that they make on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are thought very thoroughly. Moreover, they aren’t always posted by them. So, someone of them just asks, ‘Hey, I need some photos to be taken’, then there’s someone who receives photos, and coincidentally I know exactly who it is. It’s a man from -­‐company-­‐, he posts half of the stuff for StukTV. StukTV has now become a brand. Now people think that they think of and do everything themselves, but there’s a whole team behind, which thinks ‘OK, what does that viewer what to see’, continuously all the time, always analyzing how, what, when, where. So, I think, also as an artist, just try it. And of course, make good music. Y -­‐ Would you focus on one social media channel or would you combine multiple for a cross-­‐medial campaign? R -­‐ If you’re still small, then it would be tricky to combine. This because if you go for everything, it would cost you a lot of time. For cross channel, you can have a look at what works best for you. For an artist, it depends. As a singer-­‐songwriter of 16 years old, go for Instagram. Instagram right now is booming for that target group, it’s a must. Because that works, and you can do InstaStories and so on. They’ll watch it and they’ll like it. I would start with that. I would focus on 2 platforms. Start with Instagram and Snapchat. Write a short strategy for those and expand afterwards. 66 [Type here] Y -­‐ I take it that we should focus much more on the mobile platform these days? R -­‐ Yes, definitely. It’s abnormal how fast it progresses. What you need to be aware of is in which plane you’re filming, whether it is in the horizontal or in the vertical. Most people prefer horizontal. Y -­‐ How important is unique content in your opinion? What does ‘unique’ mean for you? Is it something completely new, or is it something that already exists but made personal? R -­‐ I think it is important to keep creativity in, the power of it is that it is spontaneous. The moment that you get started, and you already know how it works with certain people, and that you then copy someone else, then you’re not the only one because then everyone will do it. It has worked before and most probably others will take it over. But the question is, how can you take it over but add a personal touch to it. And the moment you add your personal touch to it, the creativity will automatically appear. And stay true to yourself and see how you can find the hooks of your audience. Something stupid like from Jim and Jamai, they had a weakness for Jim because all the girls though Jim was handsome. He had a nasal voice and it wasn’t such that it was such a fantastic singer, but he was handsome, he was young, they thought it was great. They liked Jamai a lot because he wasn’t just your everyday artist. He was actually too chubby, he had a certain humor. That’s the personal touch that he could bring to people. And finding your personal touch can turn it into your strength. And it makes sure that the uniqueness of the boys really stands out to people. And I think that, with the artists that are 15-­‐16 years old, that you should do that. By looking at what is truly something that makes him unique, and that is what you should highlight. The creativity will come eventually. Drama and humor are also important genres to implement in videos, then it doesn’t matter if you come from left or right, people will watch, but it shouldn’t be too playful. B5. Transcript with W Y -­‐ So, what is your opinion on viral marketing? W -­‐I find viral marketing to be an extremely interesting topic. As the Managing Director of a marketing agency, I love seeing campaigns go viral because it provides an opportunity for research, as well as an opportunity to view content that is evidently extremely popular. Y -­‐ And how much of it have you done (or influencer marketing)? W -­‐ At Woonton Digital, we often try to make our clients’ posts go as viral as possible. I’ve personally done a lot of influencer marketing, as well as influencer management -­‐ where the aim is to make every piece of content go viral. It’s a field in which I can easily, and accurately comment and am comfortable doing so. Y -­‐ How effective is viral marketing in your opinion? W -­‐ Viral marketing is effective in certain use cases, for example, in the clothing industry. If a clothing design goes viral, it will fly off the shelves. However, like every marketing tactic, it isn’t the best approach for every client which should always be kept in mind. 67 [Type here] Y -­‐ For a viral marketing campaign (video/post/tweet and so on), what is considered successful and how is it measurable? W -­‐ A campaign, in whatever format, has been a success when it achieves its aims. While this response may seem simple, it is important to remember that just because a campaign has gone ‘viral’, hence has lots of impressions, if it cannot convert viewers to customers/clients, it hasn’t been worth the considerable spend it takes to market. So, viral success is measurable in core metrics for whatever the intended goal of the campaign was, be it new sales, new followers and so on. Y -­‐ Looking at it financially, is it, in your opinion, necessary to have a high budget or can it be done with a small budget? Why? W -­‐ If you want to ensure virality, a large budget, when used correctly, can be used to promote ads which will be able to spread virally. It should be noted that a lot of ‘viral content’ goes viral by accident, often even by mistake. The beauty of viral content is that it doesn’t have many defined rules. There isn’t a template for ‘going viral’, hence all content that goes viral, whether it has a large budget or not, deserves to be there. Y -­‐ For a music artist, would you recommend them to focus on getting their videos to go viral or would you advise them to also go for other areas? Why? W -­‐ I will preface this response with the disclaimer that I don’t personally oversee any musicians (at the moment), so it isn’t my specific area of expertise. I wouldn’t necessarily say that a music artist should focus on going viral. If it happens it is, of course beneficial but, I don’t believe that it should be an artist’s focus. They should focus instead on creating great music to grow a fan base of their own, who will keep returning without the need for a heavily focused viral campaign. If they create one ‘viral hit song’, it will produce high income, but they want to avoid becoming a ‘one-­‐hit wonder’ and not being able to follow up on their prior success. Y -­‐ What’s your opinion on Storytelling? W -­‐ I think storytelling is vital for certain approaches. If you want to get people to interact, you need to convey a story to them. No amount of graphs and data is going to make the general public react heavily on social media. The entire idea of social media is about appealing to people’s social side, which is heavily driven by motives and emotional responses -­‐ if you want to target both, you need a strong story to pull it off. Y -­‐ How effective is it according to you? W -­‐ I’ve watched it be effective in more cases than I can count. Everywhere from keynote speeches, to YouTube content, storytelling is vital. I can’t stress the importance of a well-­‐written story in the marketing world. Everything should be about managing and controlling influence, and that is best done by sharing your story if you want it to be done correctly. Y -­‐ What kind of length of story (narrative) do you think best fit to a (music) video? W -­‐ From my marketing experience, a short narrative fits well to a music video, something simple and heavily visual is often the most impactful. This would be how I’d explain the prominence of ‘love’-­‐
related music in the charts over the last few years. 68 [Type here] Y -­‐ What is your opinion on the content of a story for a (music) video? (Think of behind the scenes, story of an artist/event, a made-­‐up (directed) story, challenges, etc.) W -­‐ The content of a music video largely depends on the intended effect on the viewer. If the video is trying to describe the struggles of the artist, I want to see footage from behind the scenes or of the artist’s actual journey. Whereas, if the video is about a fictional love story, I want to see a directed story, with challenges matching those indicated by the music. The point I stress through all my responses is that marketing is extremely subjective and there isn’t a ‘one-­‐size fits all’ template for it, always consider the case in front of you. Y -­‐ Do you see a clear difference in activity and in effectivity between various social media channels? And what is in your opinion the reason for this? W -­‐ On the whole, all well-­‐prepared, well-­‐managed campaigns tend to perform extremely well. I’ve personally noticed that Instagram performs best for our clients as a platform. We try to produce highly visual content which is well-­‐suited for Instagram, which we’d expect to be the cause of this. Y -­‐ Do you see a clear difference in activity and in effectivity between various playback devices (Mobile, laptop, smart TV, iPod, etc.)? What is in your opinion the reason for this? W -­‐ As I said in my previous response, a well-­‐planned campaign performs well across the board. However, it must be said that mobile performs the best for us. Everyone uses social media on their phones these days, which I’d expect to be the cause. Y -­‐ Would you focus on one social media channel or combine multiple channels for a cross-­‐media campaign? Why? W -­‐ I’d always base my response(s) on the client in front of me, but, in general, focusing on using 1-­‐2 (maybe 3) platforms heavily is much better than trying to be everywhere. I’d say it’s never a bad thing to have accounts on all the key social networks but be really active on your core 3 (admittedly, that’s normally Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for most people/brands). Y -­‐ How important is unique content in your opinion? W -­‐ Unique content is to a certain degree important because your audience don’t want to see something they’ve already seen a thousand times before. However, it’s not always about making ‘new’ content, as it is presenting it in a new light. Y -­‐ What does 'unique' mean for you? Is it something entirely new, or something that already exists but made personally? W -­‐ To me, uniqueness is all about presentation. I want to see a piece of content (even if it has already been in my feed(s) all week) presented in a new light, a new format, or from a new angle. It’s all about showing people something they know they like, in a form they will find appealing, and will be drawn to. Y -­‐ And what triggers you to share? W -­‐ Personally, I share mostly motivational/entrepreneurial content on my Twitter from various influencers I look up to and/or know personally. I like to keep my content in line with the posts I 69 [Type here] share. The nature of my social media is often dictated by the projects I’m working on/towards, as tone is important when trying to influence a large group of people at once. I very rarely share/RT posts that I find appealing, as I don’t think they’ll fit with my feed. I often like a wide range of posts which can be representative of what I’m viewing, but I also share via direct message a lot of tweets I see, so I can view them at my desk later on. Y -­‐ In your opinion, is a 'Wow' factor for content or is it more important to have relatable content? Or is there something else that appeals more to you? W -­‐ I think all content that I’m drawn to has to have a ‘wow’ factor, I’d say I’m more inclined to share something relatable. So, where possible, it’s important to have both. I’d say it’s often about the medium and content itself being appropriate, although a nice design can often give a post the ‘wow’ factor needed to encourage me to share. B6. Transcript with S After a short catch up as friends, we started the interview: Y -­‐ So, having discussed with digital media experts who do things with social media professionally… I want to find out how things are from your point of view, so how you got here, things that worked, things that didn’t…. How you got big on social media really… S -­‐ OK, so I started broadcasting on an app called YouNow… And I found what worked well with the current situation that I was in. Like I would find things that people thought were funny, or like trends… I would do stupid little things that a lot of people found funny or… like entertaining. Like I would do prank calls, and people would be really confused how I can make voices. Like I don’t even know how… but yeah… um, and then it’s all about working with other people, and… collaborating and…. Growing your fans together. It’s like the biggest thing in social media ever. Like without collaboration, it’s almost impossible to grow. That’s why you see all these like… sibling YouTubers both growing together because they’re always with each other and they’re always collaborating and they’re always bouncing ideas off of each other. But I did work very hard to get to the point where I was, I would broadcast 2 to 3 hours every single day, and the more videos you post the more time you’re out there, the better chance you’ll blow up, because the more content you’re putting out, the more of a chance somebody new will see it. Y -­‐ Did you realize anything changing in your broadcasts? So, you were doing prank calls and stuff, what kind of changes were there if any? S -­‐ Now that I have the base that I have, I like… have it. I kinda don’t like social media that much anymore as much as I enjoyed it back then. I kinda am just content with it. Like I like it but it’s not like my passion anymore. You know what I mean… Now I’m kinda growing… getting older and I’m kinda moving on from that… which is really sad because it’s been a part of my life for the past like 3 to 4 years. But right now, I’m just content. I’m trying to switch over to more things that I enjoy doing a.k.a. Twitch and stuff like that. Um… literally I do it every day… whether I’m on stream or not… I’m literally going to be doing it, because… hey… if I work hard enough, I know I can do it… I have the confidence… It’s not being cocky… It’s thinking positive thoughts. I think I can blow up on a different app so I’m working really hard to do it. 70 [Type here] Y -­‐ So, you’re keeping the interaction up basically also… with everyone… S -­‐ Yeah, and interact with people, ‘cuz I stream for much longer on that app, so if people are super loyal to me, and they have the time to watch me, they’re going to. Because they get to talk to me, basically… because it’s a smaller broadcast too, I’m gonna read almost every single comment, or see every single comment. So, it’s more of an interaction that people want to talk to me. Y -­‐ Yeah, on the side note, I think YouNow is a bit different than when we’re use to… It’s a mess… S -­‐ ~Nods agreeably with a mildly sad face~ It’s really sad… Y -­‐ Yeah, it’s weird right now… like what on earth is this… you know…. So, what about YouTube now? You still doing much with that or? S -­‐ I kind of post on YouTube…. I’ve really enjoyed it a while ago… And now it’s just like a…. It’s like something I would like to do if I didn’t have to edit half… hm… how should I put this… Y -­‐ Well basically, if it’s not as time consuming as it actually is you mean, right? S -­‐ As of right now… It’s not worth my while than some time ago… Y -­‐ And that’s because of? S -­‐ Like I’m not getting as many views as I used to… Obviously if I really really wanted to do it… And if I really really wanted to get big on it… I’m sure I could! I have the confidence in myself that I can blow up on it… But it’s just not something I want to spend time doing. Y -­‐ OK, and during the time you did those videos… It was seeing what other people were doing and making it your own thing more, right? S -­‐ Exactly, like I would look at the trends and then I would do something slightly different… and try to put more effort into it than they did… Make a better version of the original and try to make it funnier. Y -­‐ Yeah, that’s a good challenge really. S -­‐ Yeah, like I would try to make a version of what the original version was that blew up originally… so, mine can be like ‘this’ compared to the original. Y -­‐ And, so, you’ve got your own multiple channels of course… Instagram, Snapchat, Younow, Twitter, Musical.ly… Do you notice a big difference on the different platforms? S -­‐ Yeah for sure…. Instagram is strictly for…. Like… Everyone uses Instagram. Well OK… ALL girls use Instagram. Well you have to think about it… Now that I’ve done the Twitch side… All the guys that stream… Almost none of them have Instagrams. Which is weird to me… cuz I thought that everyone had it till now… But now a lot more people don’t have Instagram. Y -­‐ That is weird. S -­‐ I can understand how normal high school guys have Instagram… 71 [Type here] Y -­‐ So, age-­‐wise probably? S -­‐ Yeah, but once you get out of high school… I feel like it’s less and less. Y -­‐ I guess it probably depends which area you’re active in… S -­‐ I’ve noticed well most… Now it’s the opposite for Twitter… Twitter… Like everyone has Twitter, except for the younger girls. Y -­‐ So, would you say, after you found your success on Instagram, as you get older, you’d switch to Twitter? S -­‐ Well… I already do… I have like a 115,000 on Twitter, but if you notice…. I have a younger demographic obviously… I have a younger girl demographic. And if you think about it… You would think I’d have roughly same amount of followers on Twitter…. But, I only literally have less than half on Twitter. So more than double on Instagram than Twitter. Y -­‐ And what about interaction between the two? Probably Instagram has more also? S -­‐ Instagram is…. Well it’s kind of hard to compare the two cuz Instagram is picture based, so it’s like when you see a picture… It’s easy just to double tap it. Twitter… People are tweeting five times a day, six times a day, and all you have to do is hit a little like button below, like you’re not as obligated to hit the like button than to double tap a picture. Unless they have your notifications on, they’re probably not gonna favorite your tweet. Y -­‐ And how often do you post right now on Twitter then? S -­‐ I tweet once a day. Y -­‐ So in that way, it’s similar, you just post once a day…. S -­‐ Yeah but I’m different… I don’t like Twitter but I have it because it’s a good thing to have if you do social media… I mean, I just tweet relatable things… I don’t tweet like what’s happening like most people do. I just tweet relatable things to get followers, to get more retweets and stuff. Y -­‐ Do you still use Musical.ly and stuff now? S -­‐ Not really… I broadcast on the livestreaming app of musical.ly… Y -­‐ Live.ly. S -­‐ Yeah, live.ly Y -­‐ What’s the difference between live.ly and the rest from your experience? S -­‐ I’ll compare live.ly and YouNow. Basically, I feel like live.ly is more thriving because musical.ly is the app to back it. YouNow doesn’t have another app to back it. YouNow doesn’t have its followers coming from anything. It’s just YouNow. Musical.ly to Live.ly… Musical.ly is huge. It just sold for a billion dollars. And they have all of their tracking…. Like they’re literally sending people to go to Live.ly. And their gifts are more teenage girl friendly… Like they’re cool gifts… they’re animated… they’re cool… YouNow has like a little tipjar and its blue and that’s it. 72 [Type here] Y -­‐ Ah yeah, well that stuff is really dying anyway… S -­‐ Yeah, but YouNow did step up their game when they added these little light gifts… where you can like send them a Lamborghini or a helicopter or whatever those things are. Y -­‐ But it doesn’t have much of an added value I guess, for those to be there? S -­‐ Yeah, it’s just like an animation thing which catches people’s eyes. Y -­‐ So, your YouTube videos, there’s not really much of a storyline behind, right? It’s usually pranks, small intro…. S -­‐ I did one video that blew up because I was the second person to post a video like it… It was reacting to the F-­‐girl Musical.lys… My parents weren’t happy about that title… I wasn’t... I didn’t really want to post it but like after I saw the views… dude it was crazy… It was like 350,000 views I’m pretty sure which is good for me and my biggest video ever… Y -­‐ So, what about in your case, what makes you share something? S -­‐ I basically never retweet anything unless it’s a promotion… because don’t really understand Twitter, it just seems weird to me… I completely understand Twitter… I just don’t like retweeting things and I don’t know why… If it’s like promoting something that I posted, like a YouTube video, I’ll retweet one of my supporter’s tweets… If it’s a tour that I’m going on, I’ll retweet… But other than that… I don’t really do anything… I tweet things that are relatable… I post Instagram pictures that I think I look good in… I’m not posting anything with anyone unless I look good in it because I’m not sharing something where I’m looking like a potato or something. And then YouTube videos… I have not posted YouTube videos before, I’ve literally filmed and edited a full video couple times that I just did not post because I hated it so much. Whether my energy was not hyped enough for my liking or I just did not look like I looked well or I don’t even know… Y -­‐ OK, then if you don’t share that many posts, what makes you like a post? S -­‐ If it’s one of my friends, I like their post all the time. If I like the aestheticness of a photo, I will like it. I don’t know… if I just like the person then I’ll just like the picture. Sometimes I just skip over Instagram pictures and I think I like them but I just never do and I just like keep scrolling. I’m probably one of those followers on a lot of people’s accounts… Y -­‐ So, did you think about… like we spoke about doing things on YouTube others also have been doing, and honestly, I think I know the answer to this question already, cuz we thought about it together a long time as well, you know... what to do for your next YouTube video, what do you think is easier… making something of your own or making something new? S -­‐ The thing that works on social media… There are two things for YouTube basically… you either create your own trend… or you replicate the trend except better. Cuz noone’s gonna watch a boring video that’s not trend related or something you didn’t start your own idea and it’s funny. Y -­‐ So, we’ve attempted before to come up with something completely new, we both know how difficult it is… Have you come up with anything that’s… 73 [Type here] S -­‐ I haven’t come up with something, but I’ve been in a circle of friends that came up with something together. Y -­‐ And in a financial perspective, did u spend much (except material and equipment)? S -­‐ Not really. B7. Transcript with G Y -­‐ First of all, thanks for doing the interview! G -­‐ Yeah, no problem! Nice subject that you have chosen! Y -­‐ Yeah, it’s something that not many people not about and there are a lot of point of views on it. Of course, I have read in the e-­‐mail that a lot of times, it’s a ‘one hit wonder’. But for the research, I think it’s interesting to see the perspective from someone who builds YouTube channels. So, whether it’s effective and so on. So, what do you think about viral marketing? G -­‐ As I have said in my e-­‐mail, if you look at which videos go viral, and which don’t, a lot of it is just pure coincidence. Because what you saw in the beginning of YouTube, is that someone just recorded something innocent… do you still remember the video of the two babies, where one baby bit the finger of another baby? Y -­‐ Yeah, Charlie bit my finger. G -­‐ Yeah, it’s something you just record and suddenly gets 100 million views. There’s a little bit of randomness in it, if it’s about viral videos. A lot of the time it’s very unpredictable, what goes viral and what doesn’t. So, um… I do notice that, for sure recently, if you look at the trending pages of YouTube and also at what content is popular on YouTube, that you then discover certain trends in what kind of content goes viral. So, recently the entertainment content, the parodies, the musical content are doing well. Y -­‐ So, what do you guys do with channels because I understood you work with YouTube channels? G -­‐ Yeah. Y -­‐ Yeah, how do you build them up in general? G -­‐ If we work together with a channel…. We mainly work with channels that are still growing, channels that have 1000 to 50000 subscribers. That is kind of our area of expertise. At first, we look at the potential of the YouTuber, so, whether he is awkward or not in front of the camera, is it someone with a personality, is it someone that has the drive to make good content and also to frequently make content. So, that’s what we look at when we scout. After that, we look with the YouTuber what they do with their channel, what they can do better, and what will be the plan in the next 3 to 6 months to double your subscribers. So, that’s a bit of what we specialize in, that we look together with the channels how they can continue and how they can bring their content to a higher level. Y -­‐ So, do you guys only focus on YouTubers or also, for example artists that are doing well on YouTube? 74 [Type here] G -­‐ Well, we have one channel that is a full-­‐time YouTuber. That’s our biggest partner, but that’s just a hobbyist. For sure not a personality, not an artist. Y -­‐ And if you build up with a YouTuber, do you guys work with a story behind it, so a storytelling factor? G -­‐ Yeah, that indeed could be a factor that we look at. If you make content, then it’s good to tell a connecting story. So, what is your channel about? Gaming channels, there are dozens of them. But, this is a YouTuber who tells his story of playing retro games. He plays games that we all thought were awesome when we were all little. Uh… did you know that we used to play this and that… That’s a story that touches people a lot. And we let them think about the games of the past. It distinguishes a channel from the rest. Y -­‐ So, you also need to be a bit relevant… G -­‐ Yeah, and the story of the YouTube and his experiences. For example, we had a YouTuber who was fond of marble coasters. This was someone who was completely autistic about them. Well, he was autistic himself and that’s why he can completely lose himself in it. And that is also what he tells in his channel…. So “I’m Jelle. I’m autistic and I love marble coasters a lot.” And that makes him…. Like he overpowers his handicap and makes something nice of it. Y -­‐ So, YouTubers and if you work on YouTube in general, you got to do your best to tell your own story to the audience… G -­‐ Yeah, you need to show yourself, you need to be authentic because if you are authentic, then you also have a ‘giving’ factor. Then people see, this is someone who shows who he is, he’s like you and me, and that’s someone who has the tendency to become successful. It’s also like Enzo Knol. He posted things from his childhood in his vlogs. He didn’t have such a good relationship with his father and he open-­‐heartedly spoke about it and his audience can identify themselves with it. And that makes him human. Y -­‐ So, do you guys do anything with sharing on other social media channels? G -­‐ Other social media channels are of course important. If you make a good video, you want people to share it with their friends. And not only on YouTube, but also on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Snapchat, wherever. Then it’s important that you’re present there and that you can drive the conversation. And if you’re talking about sharing videos, then I would involve Facebook in any case. And also Instagram. Because those are streaming mediums. Y -­‐ And is Facebook dying… Or let’s say changing… G -­‐ Yeah, Facebook is becoming mainstream and these days, Instagram is the snazzy platform. Y -­‐ So, you would say focus a bit on Instagram and perhaps Snapchat? G -­‐ Snapchat is also possible… We don’t do a lot with it… And I also have a feeling that Snapchat is ‘slowing down’. I think that people don’t entirely have faith in it. Whereas Instagram… Everyone still talks about it. 75 [Type here] Y -­‐ So, in terms of content, do you try to bring out unique content, or to replicate someone else’s and make it your own? What do you usually do? G -­‐ Yeah, I think that you should look at what are the tested concepts… You don’t have to reinvent the wheel again and again… You can look at what is popular, what are people looking for. Look at the trending page and see how much original content is there, how much content that you have never seen anywhere else before. And you will see that it is mainly the tested formats. A challenge or a parody… It’s not about making extremely original content that no one else has ever made. It’s about putting your own twist in it, that you put your personality in it and that you make it yours. Y -­‐ And in terms of genre, which do you see more effectiveness in? G -­‐ For example, everyone makes gaming videos and at some point, YouTube becomes saturated because of it and that you only see known content. And then another genre becomes popular. What you see now is mainly from the entertainment angle, so vloggers, the comedy angle. I also have the feeling that popular content is slowly going to TV, so they’re trying to emulate TV series. Like with StukTV. Y -­‐ So sort of a reality TV show on YouTube… G -­‐ Yeah, and you see that the border slowly fades. And TV producers specifically make series for YouTube that becomes popular. Like the series Boos from Tim Hofman on BNN, where Tim Hofman as a sort of ombudsman who goes to companies that do weird things. And that’s a YouTube serie. Y -­‐ And does a YouTuber need to use a lot or is it mainly time consuming? G -­‐ The making of videos and the building of an audience, that is time consuming. And financially, I always say, just use what you’ve got. And start with it. I think that pretty much everyone has a camera on their phone. And with that, you can do something on YouTube. And as you progress, then you can develop professionally. And your content also becomes better. Y -­‐ And how do you measure success with a channel? What do you look at? G -­‐ There are two things that are worthless on YouTube. The first one is subscribers, and the second is the views. So, what it’s about on YouTube is the watch time. So, how long do people stay and watch your video. ‘Cuz what you see a lot on YouTube and what YouTube is trying to get rid of, it’s the so-­‐called clickbait videos. Those are videos that try to pull viewers by having appealing thumbnail or title. But the video is about something else… And that’s not a great experience for the viewers. And they click the video from which the video gets a view, but they are also gone within 3 seconds. And that’s why YouTube puts a lot of value in watch time, and the longer you make sure the viewers are remaining, the more YouTube will do their best to promote your content. And that is how YouTube makes certain content go viral. So, let’s say you have a certain video of 20 minutes, and viewers… they watch on average 15 minutes of the video. Then it’s a very successful video, ‘cuz the video has managed to keep viewers for 15 minutes long on the site, and if a lot of people do that, then YouTube thinks ‘Hey, this is a video that pulls a lot of viewers and they all stay around, and they might watch more videos!’. And then you’ll see that that video will be promoted by YouTube. So, it will be on top of searches and so on. 76 [Type here] Y -­‐ And it used to be such that people said with 1000 views, 1 dollar is earned… Is that still the same case? G -­‐ ~Chuckles~ Well… It’s a very general assumption. And in average, it’s a good estimate. But it’s fluctuates a lot. It depends on the type of content, it depends on the time of year, it depends on the amount of watch time you get, and it also depends on how you place the video, meaning the title, the description and that more relevant advertisement is done for it. But, the CBM, so the amount you get paid per 1000 views, it will go up in the near future. It has to do with that YouTube introduced new rules two weeks ago. The change is that YouTube has a boundary that you can monetize videos and that boundary has risen a lot. The reason is that, 2 years ago, everyone could earn money on YouTube, even if you had no subscribers, no views. Last year, they changed that to 10000 views on your channel. And this month, YouTube raise the limit even higher and you need minimum of 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time minimum in the past year. So, that means that only the big YouTubers who are pretty established, and the ones that know how to build an audience, they can make money with the videos. And not the rest. Then the advertisements become a lot more valuable. So, it’s a sort of inflation that you see. Y -­‐ So, from what I understand, it is more difficult now for new YouTubers to stand out… G -­‐ Well, look, the only boundary that has changed is in the area of money making. But if you do YouTube for fun and you like to see your channel grow and to progress. Then you still have the opportunity to share your ideas. And that’s what it’s all about, bring your message to the world. Y -­‐ And what about the length of a video then, what’s your experience with that? G -­‐ If it’s about what YouTube finds attractive to promote, YouTube finds it interesting to put longer videos high in the search lists, and it has to do with the watch time on which they put their value on. Longer videos makes sure that people stay longer to watch, and YouTube likes that. But if it’s about shareability, then shorter videos are more attractive. But in the title it needs to state what it’s about, and eventually it depends on the viewer to decide if it’s worth it. So, the length doesn’t really matter, but it needs to be a video which grabs you from the start and that you get the idea that ‘Hey, this is something. I want to see this. I want to share this. Others need to see this.’ And that’s the feeling you need to get with your video. A mistake that a lot of YouTubers make is that in the beginning, they talk too much like ‘Hey guys, welcome to my channel! I haven’t made a video in the recent weeks cuz I was busy at work, and school… But from now on I will keep making videos and in this video we’re going to…..’. It’s too much talking. A viewer’s attention must be grabbed in the first 10 seconds. They must think ‘Hey, this is awesome what I’m gonna see.’. What we try to improve with our partners first, is to make sure the start of the video is awesome, so that people continue to watch. Y -­‐ So, we were talking about length for YouTube. What is the length that they look at? G -­‐ Long videos are longer than 10 minutes. And short videos are 2-­‐3 minutes. Y -­‐ Aha, cuz the influencers that I know, they usually post videos less than 10 minutes. G -­‐ Yeah, that’s right. And that has to do with the shareability of the videos. So, that’s the tension in it. On the one hand, YouTube loves long videos. But shorter videos, they are shared more. 77 [Type here] Y -­‐ So, is that not so attractive for YouTube then? G -­‐ Well, if the short videos are getting a lot of views, then YouTube would also place those on top of the search lists. So, it’s really about the gathering of watch time. Watch time is everything on YouTube. Y -­‐ But in the end, it’s really about the content that grabs the attention, if your content is 100% then you should do well… G -­‐ Yeah, do you know the viral video of Koni2012? Y -­‐ Yes! G -­‐ Yeah, that is an example of a viral experiment. It’s a video of a half an hour with 101 million views. That is also a video which gave an insinuating message, that viewers thought ‘Wow, I need to do something with this.’. And they posted it on Facebook, shared it on Twitter, shared it everywhere. It was a story of who we are as people. The video starts off with other viral videos, saying that this is us and this is the content that we find important. But what else do we find important. So, the video posed as sort of a mirror, showing who we are as people. The producer of the video, he tried to put all viral tricks in the video, so that the focus is put on the child soldiers. B8. Transcript with C Y – So, what exactly do you guys do anyway? C – It’s basically like management for creators. So, signing up brand deals, securing more sustainable audiences. We have a whole audience growth branch that really just focuses on expanding viewership, looking at ways to optimize the channel, like metadata… All that kind of stuff. Y – And what kind of marketing do you guys focus on? C – Yeah, so viral marketing is a whole entity in itself, something we don’t focus on. But in terms of maximizing a specific video’s reach, we’ll look at different traffic sources, see where the different viewers are coming from, the demographics on the analytics side, then we’ll also look at watch time and retention rates, so when people are dropping off, and how to best place annotations and that kind of stuff. Y – And for the channels, do you guys only work with YouTubers or also music artists who have a YouTube audience? C – Well, we started just straight YouTubers. But, there’s been huge boosts in Instagram and stuff lately. And Facebook is tryna get into it. So we’re trying to slowly gear into other social media platforms. Our primary focus is still on YouTube. But when it comes to like.. bigger creators in our network, like we repped the whole Team 10, all those guys. So, we’ll focus on a bunch of different stuff… like Instagram, Twitter, all that. Y – If they have potential for YouTube, whether it’s music or vlogging, you guys will have a look at it also… 78 [Type here] C – Yeah, it’s mostly… because of the size, just that they already have a decent following on those other platforms. We don’t really yet concentrate on building up the platforms. It’s more about just getting all the viewers on like Facebook and Instagram, all those onto like one platform. So turning those Facebook guys into YouTube subscribers. Y – So converting them basically. C – Exactly. Y – So, how do you scout a YouTuber? Do they have to have a certain amount of subscribers and such? C – Uh, it depends. There are very basic requirements. YouTube just made a bunch of changes to YPP. So now everyone has to have 4000 watch time views and a minimum of a thousand subscribers. And that was more in response to the adpocalypse. That all went down pretty recently. So that’s for YouTube to allow other channels to link with people like us. They do have to meet our basic requirements and it’s basically bottling down to if they’re eligible to monetize content or not. So they’re trying to do some quality control over who’s getting monetized cuz of all the chaos has been going on in the past couple months. But then on our side, we kinda work with each channel individually. So, our audience growth team… They’ll focus on generating specific growth strategies for each channel as oppose to… there’s a 100,000 channels and it gets this and this. So, it’s kind of working at an individual level. Y – So you mean everyone has their own way too build things up right? C – Yeah. And also we just have different agreement setup between channels. This is a little bit more specific, but like the whole revenue share thing will differ depending on the channel size so that’s kind of like the requirements that we look at. So different requirements depending on the agreement for that channel. Y – And do you guys have a guideline to build up a channel? C – It’s different plans when they get up to a certain size. We do have a basic ten step guide for people who are really just getting started. That’s more focused not necessarily on like a growth strategy, but just some of the best practices a lot of the top YouTubers share. And that just bottles down to very basic stuff… like how to create the best thumbnails, the improper and proper ways to tag your videos, and sharing your stuff, and just kind of organize the channel as a whole. Y – So, that’s the starting part… And it goes deeper when it’s more developed. C – Right. Y – And do you guys, in your own experience, use a lot of storytelling behind it? Like their own background in videos? C – Um yeah. There’s one case that comes to mind. We have a channel in the network called RetroSneakers. He takes old shoes and refurbishes them. And one of our recruiters really work with him on how to get his personality really out there. Cuz when he started, it was just the shoe. And as 79 [Type here] the channel developed, it became more about the personality behind it. The person who is reworking the shoe and stuff. Y – And how do you measure the successfulness of videos? C – Watch time is definitely the largest metric we look at. Yeah so we’ll look at when people are dropping off… I mean we’ll also look at basic things like the likes and dislikes, but then we’ll also…. just to optimize the video, be looking at the best upload times, so when most people are watching and stuff, just so we know when the creator should upload. Stuff like that. Y – The content that the channels put out… Is it completely new content or taking what’s trending and putting their own twist in it? C – It’s a little bit of both. We definitely have creators that look at what’s popular and going on. But then a lot of the successful ones are more vlog type channels. And it’s more about the person rather than the subject. So if people like hanging out with that person, they’re more likely to be fans to that channel, as oppose to an interesting topic for that week. Y – So, if your personality is likeable by your audience then it doesn’t really matter that much what the subject is… C – Yeah exactly. I mean there’s nothing you can do to turn away people just based on the subject matter. But people are more likely to stick around if they find you likeable. Or interesting at least. Y – So, it’s kind of like if people like you then they like you. If they don’t, they just drop off. Do you guys promote the video also? C – Yeah so we’re building on that right now. Before we really just worked behind the scenes for a creator. But now that we’re getting a little bit larger, we’re trying to establish our own presence to promote content and all that kind of stuff. But that’s very new. So we just launched like a community forum. Think there’s going to be close to around 100,000 users on it. And then yeah, just building up Twitter and all those social media platforms. We haven’t concentrated much on other social media platforms yet, only in the past month we’ve just started. Y – In terms of financial wise, do you need a lot or not really? C – For production financing, we kind of leave that up to the creator. Because that’s a very personal choice with the revenue that they earn. But on our end, like maximizing watch time and all that stuff will increase the revenue. So hopefully they’ll put that revenue back in the videos. And it just keeps generating more and more revenue. But we don’t give them clear directions on what they should do with their money. Y – Do you have any personal opinion which genre works best? C – It seems like a lot of the vlogs is where most of the success is happening. How people work that kind of niche varies. So, some people do very news type stuff. But then you got Jake Paul, who’s just kind of like doing day to day life. It’s definitely vlogs but there’s a bunch of diversity within vlogs. Y – So, what about the length of the content? Shorter or longer? 80 [Type here] C – That also depends on what the person’s uploading. So, we have people who will focus on almost documentary type stuff which obviously would require longer videos. But if you’re just starting and you’re kind of new to the platform, if you have a 25 minute video, people are less likely to click on it, just because it requires an investment on the viewers part. So I think the range to shoot for is between 5 to 10 minutes for a new, typical YouTuber. 81 
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