Week 7 Blog: Creativity, Oversaturation and Promotion

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.

 

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One thought on “Week 7 Blog: Creativity, Oversaturation and Promotion

  1. I like the way you’ve utilised Alcopop! Records as a case study to discuss creativity within the music industry as a solution to the undeniable over-saturation of new music as a result of many factors, which I feel perhaps you could’ve touched on to add context, such as the advances in technology which have given way to bedroom recording etc. A reading I think you may find valuable in expanding your argument about creativity as a solution is Creativity and Innovation in the Cultural Economy by Jeffcutt and Pratt (2009), as they discuss creativity as the ‘snake oil’ of the 21st century, referring to it as magic bullets, one-shot solutions to problems such as over-saturation. Other than developing your argument, or more so analysis of creativity, further than the brief offering here, I would look to use more examples of other record labels and artists, such as Frank Carter’s £200 hyper-deluxe box which featured raw files of the album for the consumer to remix at their will under creative commons law.

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