I was watching MTV last night. That is, MTV Italy. There was no music to be heard nor video to be seen. As my friend Joe would put it: they have become Empty-V. Music is now just the M in the logo.

But hey, let’s face it: who cares ? We’ve got YouTube, and that pretty much solves the problem. Why should music lovers spend their precious time in front of Empty-V nowadays ? If they want to watch music videos they don’t need to sit in front of the telly. They just go to the web. That’s where they find what they want, whenever they want. On-demand !

So why are record companies still investing to produce and promote videos that most probably will not even make it into the Empty-V playlist ? And if they do, that nobody is going to watch anyway ?

I was at a radio station the other day, a station with a soft AC format. I had a glance at the records on the PD’s desk and I spotted singles from the Ting Tings, Alphabeat, Scouting For Girls, Portishead and Death Cab For Cutie… So what’s wrong with these artists ? Nothing. There is something wrong about their pluggers, though… What’s the point of promoting music genres to stations that will never play them ? And even if they do, that their regular audience couldn’t care less about ?

We’ve been trained to think that all exposure is good exposure. Well, I’m sorry: it’s not. Most of the marketing in the modern music business is pointless. It’s just a repeat: we’ve seen it all before. And so have the consumers. In fact, most of the techniques that have been successfully mastered in order to build superstars and careers don’t work quite as well now as they did in the past.

Today competition is too strong and airtime too small. Traditional marketing is very expensive and very few artists can afford it. On top of that, consumers just don’t give a damn. And why should they ? They’ve got so many ways to entertain themselves other than listening to music or watching videos… They have less and less time and an enormous array of choices.  So how can they effectively be reached ?

Beating people over the head to interrupt what they are doing in order to obtain their attention is very old fashioned. Modern music marketing is all about establishing a relationship with them… It’s all about letting people come to you.  Letting the music and the audience interact and do the talking.

It’s a long, hard work. And there is no short cut. Bombing millions of careless and distracted consumers will not transform them into fans. As a matter of fact, it never had: it just turned a very small portion of them into buyers. It just shortened the process ignoring the relationship, in a very considerable – and very expensive – way.

I understand this perspective may sound very uncomfortable. Especially to those artists or managers who were so used to think that all they needed to do to develop a career in music was to sign to a major, cash in the Big Money and then show off in the wait for success to happen – and of course blame the record company if it didn’t… But I’m afraid those times are well over. That’s it, folks !

So here’s the bad news: you’ve got to get on your feet and start doing the job properly.

But don’t panic. There’s good news too.

And that is: you’ve got more opportunities to successfully market your music today than you ever had before.

In case you’re interested, that’s what we’re here for.

Welcome to Tune Fit.

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