Taste the future of digital music experiences: 5 examples

I’m a strong proponent of radical innovation in the music industry. My impression is that the people with power want to sustain the status quo, while it’s getting harder and harder for the artists, who just want to focus on making great music, to make ends meet. The disruptive emergence of digital means people expect to access all music, anywhere, at anytime, and the artist has been downgraded to supplying a commodity where the relationship between an artist and a fan is almost non-existent.

Digital has led to fierce competition, commoditisation and lowering margins (except for the very, very popular acts). But I’m not sentimental, the answer is not conservatism or fighting for the old ways. The reality is that the music industry is going to shrink quite a significant amount if they do not look more ahead and innovate more radically. If you’d ask them, they’d say they are adapting and innovating, but it’s way too little, too slow. Both the structure of the industry, business models and product strategy need to change, and they should start with fundamentally putting consumers’ needs at the centre of focus, not business’ needs.

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How to spot the future

How can you tell which innovation will become a success?

The terrific May Wired story “How to Spot the Future” notes that anyone trying to figure out which kinds of innovations are most worth paying attention to has to come up with ways to “size up ideas and separate the truly world-changing from the merely interesting”. I thought this was worth sharing!

“At Wired, where we constantly endeavor to pinpoint the inventions and trends that will define the future, we have developed our own set of rules,” writes executive editor Thomas Goetz. “We have seen some common themes emerge, patterns that have fostered the most profound innovations of our age.”

Wired lists seven rules for what to look for:

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How different age groups interact across the social web

A cool infographic from Community 102 that looks at how different age groups interact on the social web.

It shows that the most active social media age group is 35 – 44 year olds – quite surprising when you think about it – and that of the millennials (those born between 1978 and 1994) 75% have created a social networking profile.

Unsurprisingly it also reveals that teens on Facebook make three times as many wall posts as older Facebookers and have double the number of friends as those in their 30s and 40s.

Worth following: 13th Lab & augmented reality marketing

The explosion in smartphone and tablet sales has challenged the imaginations of creatives to come up with marketing ideas tailored for this space. Along with location-based marketing, augmented reality (AR) applications, which allows the virtual world to be layered onto or interact with the real world, have really come into focus for many brands, from luxury companies to small businesses.

Marketers are trying to engage consumers with relevant content and interactive experiences making the most of the wow factor of this relatively new communication tools. The question is, can AR marketing manage to grow into something truly useful for both marketers and consumers or will its hype fizzle out like cheap champagne? Continue reading

Web savvy businesses grow twice as fast

The below is a very interesting excerpt from a new McKinsey Institute report released last week at the eG8 Forum in Paris.

“The evidence is abundantly clear: Internet usage triggers a significant increase in performance in businesses at all levels and particularly among SMEs and other entrepreneurial endeavors. We surveyed more than 4,800 SMEs in 12 countries (our study group excluding Brazil) and found that those utilizing Web technologies grew more than twice as fast as those with a minimal presence (see Exhibit). The results hold across all sectors of the economy. Further, Web-savvy SMEs brought in more than twice as much revenue through exports as a percentage of total sales than those that used the Internet sparingly.

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7 digital media trends to follow

Super-investor Warren Buffett claims many social media firms are overpriced. If this is true or not will largely depend on how social firms and brands are able to capitalise on the below essential social media trends. Undoubtedly, the level of integration some brands have in social media is set to deepen. But how?

1. Social commerce and monetisation

Brands will look at how to get a return on their interaction when they have the fundamentals in place. Connecting e-commerce sites to social media accounts has been a tactic taken by several brands to date. However, you can expect to see a rise in f-commerce (Facebook commerce) where brands fully integrate online stores with their Facebook pages, enabling fans to buy products without having to leave the social network. Online fashion giant ASOS was the first European brand to set up shop on Facebook at the start of the year, and Dove and French Connection are reported to follow suit.


2. Mobile and location connected experiences

With large-scale mobile payments in the horizon some places and an increasing number of people owning smartphones, the coming years will be all about location and shopping on-the-go. The launch of Facebook Deals in January further enables brands to offer users real-time rewards and offers. For brands and agencies working with them it will be key to find a way to best use mobile services to offer offline and online experiences that complement each other and that add to the user’s brand experience. One focus will be to find a working model that allows brands to reward users who regularly “check-in” or mention the brand in social media updates with personalised deals.


3. Branded content

As people have become accustomed to seeing and ignoring online ads, and adding filters, branded content is an important trend for the coming time. Creating bespoke branded content that succeeds to enhance customers’ social media experience and offer value to them will be vital for smart brands wishing to stay ahead of the game. Fully integrating the content across all social media platforms, along with links back to the brand’s website, so that the customer experience is unison, will also play a key factor in engaging with consumers.

4. Consumer content curation

With an increased number of tweets, Facebook updates, blog posts and news articles, people are looking for ways to filter the rapid flow of content coming their way to a manageable size. ShinyShiny has previously written about social curation sites like Paper.li and Flipboard, and similar services can be expected to appear on the market in the coming time. Most of these filter content based on popularity, so for professional content creators like customer publishing agencies, it will be essential to produce quality content that has high sharability, as well as reach out to key influencers, to ensure the content does not get stuck behind such curation filters.


More bargains to the left? Roger that.

5. Group buying

The rise of Groupon and other deal sites is a sign of what is to come in e-commerce. In a time of austerity, people’s desire to obtain a ‘good deal’ and buy products or experiences at highly discounted prices will continue to grow. For publishers and brands it will be key to find a way to capitalise on this, either by launching their own group buying services or partnering up with existing sites.


6. Video content

Producing quality video for online distribution is becoming less expensive and more accessible. It is also arguably the most engaging way for brands to connect with consumers online. With people and companies using management platforms like Brightcove as well as video hosting sites like YouTube and Vimeo, we will see a growth in this sector.


7. Social gaming and online currency

Social games are a favourite past-time for many of Facebook’s 550k strong community and will continue to grow in popularity. There are already some games on the market with elements of brand connection, like Pet Society, as well as the entirely branded game Me to You: My Place, thought to be the first branded Facebook game in the UK. As micro-payments become more accepted we can expect more brands to enter the social gaming market over time.