This week, we were visited by Jack Clothier, of Alco-Pop! Records. Alco-Pop is a highly revered indie-pop label, formed in 2006 from a small loan and bet win (Cooke, 2017). The label is known for several acts, including Johnny Foreigner, Brawlers and Peaness, who have all achieved a fair amount of success. However – rather than the artists – the label is known for its innovative approach to marketing, with a primary focus on the eclectic and unique format choices made for the label’s releases. For example, crushed moon rock was included in the packaging with an old release, which subsequently performed extremely well (Clothier, 2017).
The activities of Alco-Pop records highlight a change in music promotion. As discussed in my previous blog post and by Steve Lawson (2009), music is considerably more accessible on a grassroots level than ever before – more producers, musicians and artists have access to almost everything within the music production line from the comfort of their bedrooms. Promotion can be done online through a myriad of outlets and networking opportunities. This has led to an oversaturation of music, simply – there’s a huge amount of choice for consumers across almost every genre on every level of the industry (due in no small part to the oligonomistic structure of the music industry (Wikstrom, 2009)), which has in turn led to a need for creative and unique marketing to stand out, as illustrated by Alco-Pop’s success.
It is, however, very easy to cite creativity as the answer to oversaturation – creativity isn’t tangible and can’t simply be added to a marketing campaign or PR stunt. It is a skill that can be nurtured, as explained using the ‘5 stages’ model (Taylor, 2014) in my previous blog post. Creativity must be used in relation to a deep understanding of the audience – fan experiences and audience-focused content are by far the most lucrative revenue streams from an artist standpoint, which again is illustrated by Alco-Pop!’s merchandise-focus and unique formatting and packaging.
Overall, it is clear Alco-Pop! is a strong showcase of what is needed to succeed within the music industry today. A smaller audience is targeted, but they are targeted extremely effectively in a creative manner focused on them, eliciting a strong and positive response.
- Clothier, J. (2017). Alco-pop! Records.
- Cooke, C. (2016). CMU:DIY presents Making Money from Music.
- Cooke, C. (2017). Q&A: Jack Clothier, Alcopop! Records | Complete Music Update. [online] Thecmuwebsite.com. Available at: http://www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/qa-jack-clothier-alcopop-records/ [Accessed 24 Mar. 2017].
- Lawson, S. (2009). Independent Music Manifesto. [online] Stevelawson.net. Available at: http://www.stevelawson.net/2009/09/independent-music-manifesto/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017].
- Taylor, J. (2014). The Five Stages of the Creative Process. [online] James Taylor. Available at: https://www.jamestaylor.me/creative-process-five-stages/ [Accessed 8 Mar. 2017].
- Wikstrom, P. (2009). The Music Industry. 1st Cambridge:Polity.