Pros and Cons of Indie Record Labels Using Social Media

Standard

What is a music record label? How can they incorporate Social Media tools to enhance their productivity? And what risks have to be taken into account to implement the system?

Record labels have been one of the most changing business models in the last couple of decades. In the last century, record labels were devoted to find and developing talent, record albums and singles and market and distribute the final product. But now, most of musicians with relative low-budget could create a studio and record an album, that’s not the critical part of the process. Also, distribution is not a problem; iTunes is there for anybody that has songs and could pay $ 35 dollars to be included in their virtual shelves. The critical problem now is: How to stand out in an ocean of music products that are on the market.

That’s why the record labels had to re-invent themselves to cater for increasing knowledgeable musicians that have all the resources to apply the Do-It-Yourself approach to the business. Record labels have to focus in how to work efficiently to make that their customers (bands) receive attention from the public and the media and could achieve a competitive advantage to get a share of the market. Epitaph Records is an indie record label that has risen up to the challenge servicing bands in the punk arena such as: Bad Religion and The Offspring.

Epitapth Logo (Taken from Wikipedia)

They are based in LA and have branches in Europe, Canada and Australia. In the ever-changing landscape of music industry, they have to implement a dynamic tool that would provide functionalities that could harness the enterprise collective intelligence and memory; for them Socialtext was the Social Media tool that help them to get the work done, together!

Socialtext is an integrated platform that includes elements of social media such as: microblogging, rss, wiki, broadcasting and social networking profiles.

Brett Gurewitz, guitarist and songwriter for Bad Religion and CEO of Epitaph Records explains: “If you think of our organization as a mind, Socialtext is our memory centre”. Following, there is a list of pros and cons of this implementation:

Pros (according to Epitaph Case Study):

  • All-in-one: Socialtext Dashboard is a customized homepage for each employee, presenting a glance of all what they need to know in the company.
  • Social networking: This is an impressive tool for the staff to get connected; even if Epitaph Records is based in LA it has branches in Canada, Europe and Australia and there are a significant number of employees scattered around the world that could help each other if they could connect. Socialtext People is a functionality that allows creating profiles with important information such as, interests and current projects; any employee could follow any other who is interesting to their objectives and likes; so the first employee would be well-informed about the other employee’s publications such as, blogs, wikis and updates.
  • Instant information: Socialtext Signals is the microblogging service of the suite. This element helps the employees to get to know the important projects, accomplishments, updates of the different members; staying on top of what the other people is doing and therefore collaborate or comment when is relevant; also, as everybody in the company would have a general idea of what the others are doing, this could prevent duplication of work. If an employee has a question, this one could be posed through Socialtext Signals so that any leads to solve the problem could be provided by the community. Click to see the Socialtext signals video.
  • A central place for sharing ideas: The blog functionality would create a place for sharing and developing ideas in the community. RSS feeds exist for maintaining informed the subscribed contacts. Epitaph Records have a blog system called: “Great Ideas Blog”, where employees are encouraged to write their ideas and suggestions. Also, there is another blog system named: “Interesting Read Blog” where links to different references from relevant topics are posted.
  • Process templates: Epitaph has developed several templates regarding diverse processes in the company which are in the Socialtext system, these items provide a standardized system for following procedures and in case that any of these processes would have to be improved, the templates are changed and the staff would have the revised template straight away.

Cons:  

  • Incorrect subscription brings un-relevant information: If the employees don’t subscribe to the right blogs or follow the right contacts, they could end up with a dashboard of useless information that instead of helping them would create hurdles in their efficiency.
  • Posting of un-significant information: The system is as good as the information put into it. If the employees fill the system with inadequate information, then it would be useless and the employees’ adoption index would slip to the ground. This could be solved with good education about the system and policies related.

Overall, this is a great tool for effective communication in an enterprise and if is ordely deployed the system would be the information and collaboration hub of the organization; quoting Gurewitz: “The Memory”.

As you can see I am into music business and I am interested on how Enterprise 2.0 has been implemented by successful companies in the sector, I’ll keep researching about this and if you are interested in this topic follow me!

Cheers,

Jacques Kerguelen Blog