Marketing Through Facebook: UMG and Talenthouse

TThe recent news that the world’s leading music company Universal Music Group (UMG) and social crowdsourcing platform Talenthouse are to enter a partnership is the latest in the Big Four’s utilisation of social networking for promotional purposes.

Talenthouse provides a modern approach to music marketing

The Big Four’s attempts to utilise social networking represent not only an attempt to modernise the image of the music industry, but also part of an ongoing initiative to tap unexploited markets. But even a company the size of UMG is not able to do all of its work by itself. By entering a partnership with Talenthouse, UMG is not merely gaining access to a talented global workforce, but also a company with a proven track record – Talenthouse has experience of promoting artists such as Queen, Lady Gaga, and Florence and the Machine.

Talenthouse outsources tasks to third party web users; by utilising the talents of virtually anybody online, Talenthouse exploits viral marketing to expand an artist’s online profile. In July, Billboard reported that a Talenthouse contest conducted for Florence and the Machine helped to attract 68 million Facebook impressions. Talenthouse’s partnership with UMG will see an increasing number of campaigns for artists signed to UMG’s array of record labels. The partnership will significantly increase the Facebook presence of UMG artists.

The partnership comes as no surprise following Lady Gaga’s partnership with social network game developer Zynga in May this year. Lady Gaga, who is signed to Interscope, itself a subsidiary of UMG, marketed her latest album, Born this Way, through Zynga’s popular Farmville social network game. Several tracks were first heard through social network game Farmville, which even offered Facebook users Gagaville – an in-game publicity farm for Lady Gaga’s Born this Way.

Although no financial details of the deal are in the public domain, there is little doubt that UMG’s decision to expand its artists’ Facebook presence was not made without the Lady Gaga-Zynga partnership in mind.

Farmville: Cultivate music here?

With fifty per cent of Facebook’s 750 million active users logging in every day, UMG’s initiative to target the social networking giant makes for revolutionary times in the music industry. Discourse within the industry is increasingly shifting from how to transcend traditional methods of selling music to how the music industry might transcend existing means of selling digital music.

With the London Guardian today reporting that UK music industry revenues experienced a £184 million drop last year, UMG and other labels alike are posed with the unenviable task of offsetting that drop through digital sales (where revenues increased 20 per cent to £316.5 million) – will UMG’s social networking adventures with Talenthouse and Zynga pay off?

Samuel Agini is the editor of Andrew Apanov’s Dotted Music Blog.