Feature Placements and DSPs: What Makes Your Music Stand Out to Stores? | Music Industry 360 Podcast

Episode 2 July 11, 2017 00:23:44
Feature Placements and DSPs: What Makes Your Music Stand Out to Stores? | Music Industry 360 Podcast
Music Industry 360
Feature Placements and DSPs: What Makes Your Music Stand Out to Stores? | Music Industry 360 Podcast

Jul 11 2017 | 00:23:44


Show Notes

Symphonic’s Director of Marketing, Janette Berrios, and Product Development Coordinator, Astra Dunbar, are chatting about feature placements and DSPs. We dived into what exactly are stores looking for when featuring music Press play!

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:21] Speaker A: Distribution. I'm Vanessa and Tariq and I are actually going to be hopping different podcasts to allow us to have more guests onto the podcast and also to not overwhelm you with all these different voices that you're listening to on your drive or while you're at work. We want to keep it simple so we actually will just get right into it. Today's topic is feature placements and digital service providers, also known as DSPs. And our guests today are Jeanette Barrios, our director of marketing, and Astra Dunbar, our product development coordinator. So welcome, ladies. [00:01:16] Speaker B: Hey, thanks for having us. [00:01:18] Speaker C: Hey there. [00:01:19] Speaker A: Thanks for coming in. Okay, so the first question I have for you ladies is what exactly are DSP features? [00:01:25] Speaker B: So DSP features are when we your distributor, symphonic will send your releases to our network of partners and basically we'll try to pitch those to those partners so we can get your release some love. So if you see, for instance, on itunes, we'll kind of see the genre of a new release. It's a new artist there. You'll see that feature. That's basically what we pitch your release to get some love. [00:01:49] Speaker A: Awesome. And are these guaranteed features or are these just you pitching them? [00:01:54] Speaker B: They're definitely not guaranteed, but the more marketing drivers you have, so for instance, press coverage and everything, the more you have, the better chance you'll have of securing that feature. [00:02:03] Speaker A: Good to know. All right, what do stores look for when featuring music in their platforms? [00:02:08] Speaker C: So basically, they're going to be looking for all the marketing efforts around that release. So that's going to count any premieres that you're doing. Also any radio success, particularly in EDM, if any DJs are going to be playing the music or supporting the music as well and all that reach. But primarily, obviously, these are music stores, so what they're going to be really looking for is that it has a solid sound. Ultimately, it's all about the music. So they want to make sure that that music is good, that it's mastered. Well, art cover is really important these days as well. Music is basically public image, so it's really important to have a good looking release cover because that's like basically your first impression of that music. And based on that, it even determines if you're going to give it a chance or not. So it's really good to kind of before you go ahead and pitch to your distributor, have these things in place, and you can even communicate with your distributor to see if maybe they have other outlets or resources to your disposal to then be able to also include that in your marketing drivers. [00:03:14] Speaker A: So would you say that the artwork, the social media presence, all that is just as important as having the good sound, the good music, or is one little more important than the other? [00:03:25] Speaker C: I think they're both going to be pretty vital because people will follow you according to what you're branding and what you're kind of communicating. And there's always like this quote that I totally love that it's like they say that your listeners do not consume your music, they consume your brand, that in the process creates their identity. Yeah, it's pretty deep. But I feel like in terms of branding, it does make sense because and you see that a lot in pop music, that people you identify yourself with a song and whatever that particular, let's say, artist does, you're going to follow it because you feel that connection with that artist. So the music has to be there. But in order for people to even give it a chance, your branding and your presence has to also be there. [00:04:12] Speaker A: Makes sense. So what are some tools that are available that musicians should be taking advantage of today? [00:04:18] Speaker B: I would definitely say Pandora, their artist marketing platform. Basically what it is is it's marketing tools to help them kind of promote their releases. So they have campaigns, featured tracks and audio messaging. Audio messaging is when you record a 15 to 32nd. [00:04:38] Speaker C: It's like a personalized message, basically. [00:04:40] Speaker B: Yeah, where you can kind of interact with your listeners. Whenever they hear your music or play your station, they'll hear that. So that's one good way to promote your release on Pandora. And then also the featured track. It basically accelerates discovery and feedback of the track by playing the track for a period of eight weeks. [00:05:00] Speaker C: And those messages are really cool because it's a personal message. So you're basically if you're listening to your favorite artist, it'll pause it and then you listen to a message from that artist. So that's pretty cool just to kind of like interact with it for sure. [00:05:13] Speaker B: And then there's also Google Play's platform. We can actually pitch on your behalf to Google Play through their services. It's emerging artists and also Dynamic Track Shelf. And basically what it is is it provides users with personalized access to the latest discounts on their favorite artist track catalog. So we'll pitch our releases to Google Play and then they'll try to feature it in one of their genres or one of their playlists on the site. [00:05:40] Speaker A: What would you say is the best feature that could be out there for somebody? Like, would you say itunes would be the best place to get featured or does it depend on the genre and the style of music? [00:05:51] Speaker C: It really depends on the genre. I would say like genre and your reach. And that's why we kind of try to preach that if you want to get featured, everybody now wants know you want to get support on itunes, you want to be on the front page. Now Spotify Playlists are huge now that people are always looking for support there. But it's kind of smart, too, to be able to kind of take a step back and talk to your distributor and ask them, what store? Where would I benefit from featuring my music? Or what are the ODS? That perhaps if I can't get featured front page, maybe I can be included in a newsletter, or maybe I can be included in staff picks. That's still going to get you reach and at least more exposure. So it's good to explore other possibilities. But going back to all of it too, spotify I feel is the one that has the most tools that are available and it kind of links back to what we were talking about, Pandora, because Spotify is the only company that and I think Pandora does a little bit of this too. But Spotify has a dashboard that you can access which is called it's basically artists first. Before it used to be called Fan Insights. And in there it lets you kind of basically know your audience. So it's going to give you statistics on their location, their demographic. In there you're also going to be seeing where your plays are coming from. Like if your music is in specific playlists, let's say, and it doesn't necessarily have to be Spotify branded playlist, but if your music is featured in user generated playlist, it will let you know where your plays are coming from. So that's a good tactic that perhaps if you're aware of how many plays you're getting from a specific playlist, then you can probably reach out to that user personally because there's way of reaching out to these people via Facebook or Twitter and be able to sort of connect with them because they are influencers themselves. So whenever you have your next release, go ahead and send that to them. [00:07:46] Speaker A: So that could also be helpful if you're a touring artist too, like you can actually see what cities you have the biggest following in. So, you know, like, okay, I should put on a show there because I will sell it out hopefully. [00:07:57] Speaker C: Yeah, no, and I'm glad you brought that up because we recently had it was like a workshop from Spotify and they were mentioning a couple of acts that have had success of Know touring success, because they use the data from Spotify to be able to then present it to booking agents or like, let's say even venues and such to say, hey, I have x amount of listeners here and they've been able to have success with that. And also in radio because sometimes if you want specific, let's say specific territories to get your music played, they would show that data from Spotify and then they were able to get successful placements. [00:08:36] Speaker A: That's definitely a really good tool. [00:08:38] Speaker C: And nowadays especially you can look at reports and whenever obviously your distributor just like know, we get reports based on the territories, know where your music is being listened to. But Spotify does it at a more granular level. So you can see a specific city, not so much the like you'll be able to see if your know, what city, what like it's more specific. [00:09:03] Speaker A: Okay, so you've mentioned Spotify, you mentioned Pandora. Can you name all of the DSPs that we distribute to and which one is your favorite and why? [00:09:12] Speaker C: Wow. [00:09:12] Speaker B: Name all of them. [00:09:14] Speaker C: All right, name yeah, we should do like, a song. Let's do that. [00:09:23] Speaker B: Oh, my goodness. [00:09:24] Speaker C: That's the next goal for this quarter. We're going to do a song with all of them. I think the old Amazon collateral. [00:09:33] Speaker B: Oh, my goodness. But I would say my favorite is definitely Track Source. They're good with showing us a lot of love to Symphonic, specifically, they give us features with our clients within their blog on their site, and also whenever we're pitching, they show us a lot of promo love and exclusives on their site. So that would definitely be my favorite. What about you, Jeanette? [00:09:53] Speaker C: I'm a sucker for spotify. I love Spotify because, first of all, I listen to a lot of our clients music. So you guys have to check out our playlist, our Symphonic playlist and stuff for the listeners out there. But yeah, I like a lot Spotify, especially now, they have the little Spotify codes that you can share. [00:10:13] Speaker B: Those are actually really dope. [00:10:15] Speaker C: Yeah. But they have kind of like that snapchat vibe of snapping the code. I love it too, because it has the ability that now you can discover a bunch of other independent artists other than listening because yeah, you go to itunes and you see all these major artists from major record labels. But I feel Spotify has been giving now the ability of more independent music to be discovered. [00:10:40] Speaker A: I definitely was checking out your puppies playlist, like, music to was it sleep to or to be calm? [00:10:48] Speaker C: Yeah. So basically, guys, just to kind of put it out there, what would you call it? Like a show mom or something. What is it? Those like, pageant moms with my puppy. So basically I created these playlists with all of our clients music, by the way, and it's like relaxing dog music and sleeping dog music, all that good stuff. It's actually good for even for people. I kind of listen to it sometimes. I was like, oh, my God, this is really relaxing. [00:11:16] Speaker B: How many followers do you have right now? [00:11:18] Speaker C: Well, I think in total I probably have like maybe almost like 31. Playlist has ten followers. That's like my little side hustle. [00:11:28] Speaker B: No, you all don't understand. She really goes hard for her dog. This guy has been like featured in. [00:11:33] Speaker C: Different Tampa Bay business journal. [00:11:36] Speaker A: So before we go down that rabbit hole or actually we started to a little bit Vito, but what kind of features are available through the DSPs? Like the blogs, the front page or the homepage? And which have we had the most success with? [00:11:49] Speaker B: So I know in Tracksource we get a lot of features within the new artist genres or the house tech house genres. We get a lot of features in those. [00:12:02] Speaker C: That's only one I yeah, I would say also we've gotten good success with itunes, especially when there is the right release that does have some solid marketing drivers. Specifically it's been with it even like pop, which is a really hard category to go in, especially for independent artists, but we've been able to solidify some there. We've had really good success too with reggae and dance music. So I would know even though itunes is such a big player, we've had pretty good success there. I think now we are getting much better too with Spotify. It is extremely competitive, obviously, but we've been able to secure some placements too. In playlists. [00:12:50] Speaker B: Beatboard is another one. We get shown a lot of love too. They allow us to feature different charts that our clients are kind of putting together, that they've curated, they feature those and also different new releases. [00:13:04] Speaker C: We do get a lot of love from Beatport specifically because we have a lot of electronic music. We've, we're in constant communication with them. So they're a really good partner. I was going to say you have. [00:13:16] Speaker A: A good partnership with report. [00:13:19] Speaker C: All right. [00:13:19] Speaker A: Actually last question. Is it possible to pitch to these stores without a distributor? Can one do this on their own successfully? [00:13:26] Speaker B: It's not impossible, but I would say probably up your chances if you went through a distributor only because I feel though the DSPs, they have more close knit relationships with the big names. So if you're say someone like I don't, you know, you would be able to have a deeper relationship with them and possibly get your music pitched. But if you went through a distributor, we can kind of just kind of because we have that relationship, we'll kind of give them that push that you need to really get your music out there with Spotify or itunes or whatever the DSP may be. [00:14:00] Speaker A: All right, so to wrap things up, do you guys have any other tips that you want to give our listeners? [00:14:05] Speaker C: So I would say primarily in terms of getting featured, one of the really vital parts to it is also planning ahead because it's important to understand that a lot of these features, they're basically coordinated almost a month before the release goes out. So including that in your release schedule in terms of like, okay, you're going to deliver it to your distributor at least four weeks ahead. Obviously from there on, then you're going to start doing your promotion setting in place, basically all your strategy and your marketing plan. And then also once, let's say, release is live or we even recommend even like a week before the release is live to reach out to us and give us some follow up on what's been going on. So send us over the links to the premiere maybe if you have like obviously you've shared your SoundCloud link going ahead and sharing. Let's say you got a lot of plays on that sending us that. Any traction that you're getting from the marketing, communicate it to us because a week before the release goes live, we can actually do a follow up with our contacts and provide them more information. And then the same thing, once the release goes live, continue to communicate with us if something's going, like if anything's happening. Because particularly itunes, they also have a category of post release. If you meet any of these criteria, like, let's say the music was shown on Good Morning America or you were featured in any dance, like those dance music shows, they have certain criteria and then if anything of these has happened, then it's considered like a hot list. So they kind of resurface it. So it's really important that even though the music is released, continue communicating with us because you never know, yeah, maybe you got the placement, maybe you didn't get the placement, but at least communicate to us. And there is a possibility that then you can get a feature because of it. [00:16:06] Speaker A: So you really can't over communicate with us. Like anything, like a website, like an article that you got mentioned in, just let us know about it. [00:16:14] Speaker C: Yeah, just keep us posted because some stores will be in the pulse of what's going on. But for the most part, if these things are taking place and just communicate it to us, we actually don't mind and we'll actually even share it on our social media because we always kind of celebrate those little successes. So yeah, send it over to oh, and also one other tip that I would recommend is that whatever store that you choose for Exclusivity, make sure that you are sharing that link for that store. So if you decided that Google Play, you're going to give your exclusive to Google Play and that's the store that you're going to be promoting, make sure that you're using the Google Play link because that also influences the store since they know that you're supporting their store. So same thing happens with streaming. If you decide that you're going to be streaming, then put your Spotify link and perhaps don't promote it as much on SoundCloud. So it's just making sure that if you are looking for support from the store, make sure that you're sharing that store's link. [00:17:23] Speaker B: So for those of you who don't know, the way that you get these DSP features is through submitting a form through us, we just honestly ask that you submit it at least three weeks in advance. I mean, the earlier the better because you want to give these DSPs time to really sort through your release because they receive so many different submissions throughout the process. So just making sure that you're doing everything in advance and kind of stay on top of things. [00:17:47] Speaker A: So definitely don't be like, oh, my release is in three days, can you feature it? [00:17:51] Speaker B: Exactly. I mean, we'll still try to do whatever we can for you, but at the end of the day, we need more time. [00:17:57] Speaker A: Since I have you here, why don't we talk about the upcoming events we have since you are part of our marketing team and you've helped coordinate all these events. [00:18:05] Speaker C: So in the coming weeks, we're actually going to go to New York. We're going to be at the Latin Alternative Music conference. This is the second time that we are going to be attending the conference, and we're actually sponsoring a panel there. So the panel's name is Latin music in the digital age. Where do we go from here? So it's going to be pretty cool. It's going to be Jorge Bre is going to be moderating the panel, which is obviously our CEO and founder. And we're going to also have in there reps from Pandora, from Spotify and a couple of other stores. So that's going to be really good. While we're there, we're going to be doing a ton of Snapchat interviews. So if you don't follow us on Snapchat, check out that code and look us up because we're going to be interviewing a bunch of all the artists that are going to be there. Besides that, then in August, we're also going to be doing Vibes of the Bay, which is basically kind of like our one day festival that we do here locally in Tampa. And we try to feature a lot of artists that are basically local in the scene that are kind of up and coming that we feel are kind of breaking. And we're super excited because the lineup is looking really solid. We haven't announced it yet, but we're going to be doing it soon. And it's going to be August 19 at Crowbar in Ebor. [00:19:21] Speaker B: Awesome. So a little bragging session. Symphonic was nominated under the fastest growing companies in Tampa Bay by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. So pretty exciting stuff. And then also reminder just to add your music to our fresh new music playlist on Spotify. It's doing really well. It has like 232 followers, so you can add your music on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Check it out. [00:19:45] Speaker C: Yeah. And we'll be promoting it on Fridays because we do like our new Music Friday feature. And through all those promotions, we also include that particular playlist. And it has about, like I think now, it has almost like 240 followers and it's only been like four weeks. It's pretty solid. [00:20:01] Speaker A: So to add to the fresh new music, does it have to be like, brand new or can you add your old music to it or does it matter? [00:20:07] Speaker C: Ideally, it should be new music, and ideally, too, just add one track. Yeah, just share the love. Good stuff. [00:20:17] Speaker A: So, like something that's maybe less than a month old. [00:20:20] Speaker C: Yeah, that's good. Okay. [00:20:22] Speaker A: All right. And then I asked Tariqa this last time, what are you listening to right now? [00:20:28] Speaker B: Currently, I'm listening to this. [00:20:30] Speaker C: Really? [00:20:30] Speaker B: Dope alternative R B artist. She goes by SZA and her album just came out, I think, a couple weeks ago. You guys should definitely check her out. I think the one I love is Love Galore by Travis Scott. Have you ladies heard of her? [00:20:41] Speaker C: No. Is that a distribution client? [00:20:43] Speaker B: It's not. [00:20:44] Speaker C: Why are you listening to music from the Symphonic catalog? [00:20:48] Speaker B: I wasn't supposed to share that. I actually listen to other. [00:20:53] Speaker C: Well, I'm I'm listening to I think I showed it to it's kind of like a little bit trappy but Middle Eastern vibe. It's an artist that I'm sorry, I'm going to butcher the last name, but I don't know how to pronounce it. But it's Sam gittery or Gallardy Galatri. Galatri. Yeah. We'll provide the pronunciation later on in the next episode to confirm it. But anyway, the release is awesome. I love it. [00:21:19] Speaker A: Well, I'm also breaking the law here. [00:21:21] Speaker B: With Ashley excuse me, partners in crime. Excuse me. [00:21:25] Speaker A: Because I'm listening to DJ Khaled's release featuring Rihanna called Wild Thoughts. [00:21:30] Speaker B: Oh, my goodness. [00:21:31] Speaker A: It's so easy to get in your. [00:21:33] Speaker B: Head, like, wow, catchy. I love that song. [00:21:36] Speaker A: The music video is just very seductive and sexy. [00:21:39] Speaker C: I love Riri. She's awesome. Are you ladies aware of this despacito thing? [00:21:45] Speaker B: Oh, my goodness. Don't get me started. [00:21:47] Speaker C: I love that. Vanessa, we have to introduce you to this song. It's Luis Swansi and Dariyanki. They're basically two Puerto Ricans, like, singers, and one is, like, regetong and the other does ballads and it's basically now, like, in Billboards the first and Third standing because Justin Bieber did, like, a remix of it or a version of it or whatever. But yeah, a lot of people say that when they hear that song, they want to get frisky. It is kind of like, sexy. [00:22:17] Speaker B: I love it because I feel like it's just reaching out to people of all. [00:22:21] Speaker C: Yeah. So we'll feature that too, as our background music, for sure. [00:22:28] Speaker A: All right, so I think that should wrap things up. One last thing. Make sure to comment on our SoundCloud, if you can and let us know if you're liking it and how we're doing. And we definitely appreciate any feedback that you guys have. [00:22:37] Speaker C: Yeah, let us know if you have any topics that we should be discussing. If you have any more questions, any follow up questions, welcome to Hit US Up through Twitter or Facebook or just hit us up at [email protected] for any additional questions. [00:22:52] Speaker B: We want to hear from you, so hit us up. Speak to us. [00:22:56] Speaker A: All right. And with that now we have finally wrapped up. Thank you so much for listening, guys. And thank you again, ladies, for being on the podcast. I definitely appreciate it. And thank you for all your advice on feature placements. And hopefully our artists and other artists that are listening can really learn from this. [00:23:10] Speaker B: Let's hope so. [00:23:11] Speaker C: Awesome. [00:23:12] Speaker A: So we'll see you next time. [00:23:14] Speaker C: All right, bye bye. Guys.

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