I recently attended a session hosted by Google-Kenya which was targeting local artists. I was very lucky to attend because we all know how elusive and exclusive Google seminars are. And I was even more elated to attend the seminar because I felt there are so many mis-understood concepts on how social media can help a creative industries professional commercialize their art. As it is customary for this blogger, here are some of the things I learnt from the seminar about You Tube and social media in general and the impact it can have in commercialization especially for the creative industries.
When the internet came to being it opened a door to a mystical space where anyone bold enough to invent and create did so. As a result, it has seen the development of brands like Yahoo, Google, Explorer, You Tube, Sportify, Wikipedia , the list is endless. And the common thread among all these brands is their hunger to maintain that competitive edge. Now, here is the thing, we as the ultimate consumers also have to think outside the box and find ways to make these platforms work for us as too.
Majority of the beneficiaries have been those in the corporate world until the creation of platforms to boost social interaction within and across borders and continents. Using You Tube as my case study, when it initially began, the spirit behind it was more of a free marketing tool whose opportunities were not initially realized. Thereafter, it became a chief tool in discovering talent especially in the entertainment sector and making money. While all these was happening, they started seeing a growth in revenue stream for the music industry as corporate companies devised dynamic ways to push their consumer brands.
The more the creative industries products on social media became, the question of who owns what intellectual property became more prominent because of various legal claims apart from those uploading the content. Naturally, everyone wants to a slice of money pie. As a result, more stake holders became involved in the solution process. For one, You Tube created an option where music owners authorize the uploading of their music content and matrices of revenue share are negotiated and come into play. This means that the old model of an initial take down notice has found a way for the owners of IP to monetize further. How cool is that? This was an awesome discover to make.
Thereafter, we saw the partnership of three world’s renowned record labels to form Vevo. There has been a mis-conception that a Vevo account is the equivalent of an authorized account. It is an assumption that I had also made earlier. Therefore to have a Vevo account you need to be signed with the big three.
Bringing the situation home, we need to start re-thinking business strategies. How can we make it easier to commercialize? Have we envisioned joint commercialization ventures? How can we creatively change our business models?
When we bring the conversation to an individual level, how many of us have social media accounts as brands? How many of us are as active as we should be to ensure the continuity of a buzz about us? How consistent are we with how we have named ourselves in the various social media platforms we have created? To the techies it sounds like a silly reminder but for us non-techies, did you know that if there is inconsistency in your personal brand names, according to online search engines those accounts exist as separate accounts? We need to be consistent in how we name our brands online. Do you know the importance of meta-data to your online brand presence?
One thing that became clearer to me by the end of the presentation is that social media marketing is a job description on its own. We have been serious culprits at pulling one-man shows. It is time as brands in the creative industries embrace team workmanship. Some of our local brands that in my view seem to have got this right include Sauti Sol and Jua Kali who have various entities dealing with the different aspects of their brands.
In conclusion, social media is the golden goose for the creative industries to achieve commercial success. They are free to open and cost nothing. All you need is basic computer knowledge. So, do not be duped into paying thousands of shillings for opening and creating simple social media accounts. For those in the creative industries it is time you started thinking outside the box and venture into collaborations that can help grow and commercialize your art.
In my view, it is not just for the musicians. Even the actors, painters, writers and all the other creative professionals can make social media work for their art. Remember to be consistent and to ALWAYS read your terms and conditions before you sign up and to also read them when amendments to the terms and conditions are made and you are notified. These are pop-up contracts which are binding and legally enforceable, so ensure you do your due diligence and enlighten yourself on their contents.
Image sources: internet-fortunes.com , www.tripwiremagazine.com , blog.discmakers.com