Sandbox Issue 258: KIDS’ STUFF. Music’s youngest and most powerful consumers

Lead: we report back on our recent New Kids On The Block: Insight Into A New Generation online conference that we ran in conjunction with UK trade bodies the BPI and ERA, drawing out the 10 key lessons from the different panels and presentations. These include: children are much more active (and increasingly so) than previously presumed; […]

Sandbox Issue 257: Filter Tips. Making camera effects connect

Lead: Music-centric filters on social apps are designed to appeal not just to hardcore fans but also to get enough “shareability” to pull in potential new fans. They are also being used by labels themselves to create a form of augmented branding. We look at who is doing them well, if they are worth the investment and […]

Sandbox Issue 256: PRIMAL STREAM 📱🎧 Making lockdown concerts work

Lead: Livestreams have moved to try and fill the massive hole left by the total cancellation of tours and festivals around the world. As more acts do them, however, it becomes incrementally harder to stand out and draw in big enough audiences to make them worthwhile. We speak to those building a whole new gig economy here […]

First speakers and agenda details for Sandbox Summit Global

Today we’re announcing the first confirmed speakers and outline agenda for our Sandbox Summit Global conference, which takes place online in September. The event will include Platoon’s Denzyl Feigelson in conversation with Q&A’s Troy Carter, as well as interviews with K Camp (the artist behind the viral hit ‘Lottery (Renegade)’ and business partner Genius. The […]

Sandbox Issue 255: K-Pop. What the Global Music Industry can learn from South Korea

Lead: K-pop is eating the world whole and is changing what marketing – especially superfan-centric marketing – can do. We speak to those working in and around the K-pop world to learn how the genre markets itself, where its acts engage with their fans to build incredible levels of loyalty, why trans-media marketing underscores everything they do […]

Sandbox Issue 254: The Rise of Music Podcasts

Lead: If you aren’t making or appearing on a podcast, do you actually exist? Even with DSPs and record labels investing in them heavily and building whole podcasting divisions, there is still the issue of licensing music for them that is holding back their creative potential. Yet beyond that knotty problem, the sector is still an […]

Sandbox Issue 253: Music Marketing in Lockdown

Lead: We are now several weeks into lockdown and have moved far, far beyond just “doing a livestream”. There was some wavering at the start as to whether albums should be delayed by several weeks or brought forward, but now everyone is having to roll their sleeves up and get on with it. The music […]

Sandbox Summit Global online event set for September

Music Ally is delighted to announce that we are taking our successful Sandbox Summit events online with a new global edition taking place from 21st September to 25th September across two hours each day. The event is supported by Linkfire and Chartmetric and is entirely free to access thanks to this support. The event will […]

Sandbox Issue 251: Streaming and Music’s new formats

Lead: The playlist hasn’t killed the album… yet. Instead, artists and labels are caught between both and are starting to experiment with the shapes that releases can now take. Justin Bieber has begun chopping up his album into a series of EPs, designed in part to find the sweet spot on streaming services that drive […]

Sandbox Issue 250: The power of smaller playlists

Lead: The likes of New Music Friday and Today’s Top Hits might theoretically get your music in front of the most people; but if they are not listening, then what’s the point? In a business that has long run on the assumption that “big is best”, the opposite is proving true when it comes to […]

Sandbox Issue 249: What music can learn from YouTube’s biggest channels

Lead: Music is critical to YouTube while the music industry (beyond the politics of the value gap debate) is hugely reliant on the platform. But so too are other content types. We look at the biggest channels on YouTube generally – including categories such as comedy, education, film, sports and gaming (as well as music […]

Sandbox Issue 248: PERSONALISATION. Music marketing makes it all about YOU

Lead: Personalisation is a powerful way to stand out in a noisy marketplace and to make fans feel involved with things. It all, however, has to be handled with care as one person’s “tailored messaging” is another person’s spam. We look at how the personal – from recommendations and mixtapes to merchandise and location – […]

Sandbox Issue 247: All Triller, No Filler: Music’s next big launchpad?

Lead: Triller is not a TikTok killer – but it is certainly proving to be a hearty contender. At the moment, it is strongest in the US and it skews heavily towards hip-hop as its in-built soundtrack. Its ambitions are, however, more global and the genres it covers will naturally expand as it grows internationally. […]

Sandbox Issue 246: BAD INFLUENCE. Social media’s new fault lines

Lead: Influencers are a growing part of music marketing but tighter rules on what they can do (and how explicit they must be in declaring their interests), as well as a series of scandals, are making working here increasingly complicated – if not increasingly risky. Some are arguing they still have power, but others are […]

Sandbox Issue 245: Catalogue Marketing Rejuvenated

Lead: With pretty much everything available at all times, the fundamentals of catalogue marketing have had to bend to the needs of the streaming market and the social media landscape. There is still a role for the deluxe anniversary boxset, but finding new ways to shake up the old and shine new light on both […]

Sandbox Issue 244: How to Make a Big Artist Comeback

Lead: Don’t call it a comeback. Actually, DO call it a comeback. Fans today not only expect all the music in the world to be instantly available, they also expect every pop star to be available at all times. But musicians need to step away from the limelight and off the promotional treadmill every now […]

Sandbox Issue 243: The Last 10 Years and The Next 10 Years of Music Marketing

Welcome to the first Sandbox of 2020. Lead: It is now 10 years since we published the very first edition of Sandbox, so to start a new decade we speak to marketers from around the world about the tools and trends that shaped the past decade of music marketing as well as the ones they believe […]

Sandbox Issue 242: The Year’s Best Music Marketing Campaigns. 2019

It is that time again when we highlight the best music marketing campaigns of the year. We genuinely were flooded with entries this year and therefore had to increase the number that made the final cut to 50 simply because there were so many incredible campaigns to choose from. We list everything in alphabetical order (by […]

Sandbox Issue 241: Music Merchandising Moves On

A T-shirt or a flimsy tour programme was the bulk of merchandise in the “old days” – mass-produced items to shift quickly when an act was on tour. Fortunately, things have changed dramatically in recent years – with a clear drive to be as environmentally aware as possible. Print-on-demand technology is also allowing acts to […]

Sandbox Issue 240: Music Marketing’s Wellness and Fitness Drive

People are increasingly attuned to the need to look after their mental and their physical health – and music can and does play a big role here. The gym playlist is one thing, but acts crafting albums for meditation apps and artists working with a new generation of fitness brands is something else entirely. We […]

Sandbox Issue 239: Music and Advertising’s tense union

Lead: The old rules of advertising are long gone – as is a lot of the inherent guesswork around advertising’s effectiveness. In its place has come greater tracking of ad spend and ad impact, but the entire process itself has become much more convoluted. We speak to those working in this rapidly changing world to […]

Sandbox Issue 238: Remixes Hit Saturation Point

Lead: Lil Nas X might have broken on TikTok but it was his deft use of multiple remixes (and collaborations) that kept ‘Old Town Road’ in the air throughout most of 2019. He claims he has 25 remixes of follow-up track ‘Panini’ ready to go, although this might prove to be the most high-profile case […]

Sandbox Issue 237: VIEWTUBE. When Music Video Plays Get Juiced

Lead: Sony Music India artist Badshah claimed to have broken the 24-hour record on YouTube for 75m plays of his track ‘Paagal’ in July. Then people started asking questions. It eventually emerged that the track’s success had been boosted by TrueView ads before and during other YouTube videos, all of which counted toward the opening […]

Sandbox Issue 236: Power Plays. THE NEXT STEP FOR PLAYLISTS

Lead: Playlists are still enormously important for breaking acts and for building careers – but they are increasingly a moving target that gets harder and harder to hit. As they change what they are, how they work and what they do, those marketing through playlists could find themselves shunted back to square one. This is […]

Sandbox Issue 235: Talking TikTok Triumphs

Lead: TikTok is  an essential consideration for artist marketing in 2019, particularly for pop acts. But for all the strategies and careful coordination, the best things on the app are often those that blindside everyone. We spotlight the best recent uses of music (and surprise catalogue reappearances) on TikTok in recent months and also look […]

Sandbox Issue 234: The New Era Of Music Videos

Lead: In the 1970s, “pop promos” (as they were called) were the preserve of the mega-star act, but after the launch of MTV in 1981 they became standard practice across the industry. The arrival of YouTube in 2005 may have blown apart MTV’s dominance but the format of music videos did not change much; it […]

Sandbox Issue 233: Shopping Around: Making Online Stores Add Up

Lead: Working with D2C experts is one part of the business, but changes in how social media sites are structuring themselves can offer acts new ways to sell products to fans of all stripes. We look at where social platforms are being best used to sell merchandise, how casual fans (and not just superfans) can […]

Sandbox issue 232: Music Marketing in Trigger Cities

Lead: This issue we have a special extended feature looking into the phenomenon of Trigger Cities. These are places outside of the obvious music markets that are now – due to streaming and how algorithms are fed – playing a key role in helping break artists and genres. This represents a whole new dynamic for […]

Sandbox issue 231: Conversions. Tracking Cause and Effect in fan marketing

Lead: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half,” is a quote commonly attributed to Philadelphian retailer John Wanamaker in the 1800s and it has haunted the advertising and marketing worlds ever since. Spending money and hoping for a consumer reaction previously involved stacking up a […]

Sandbox issue 230: Why Email Marketing Is More Important Than Ever

Lead: Email marketing is far from dead. We look at why it is still relevant, how email tools and platforms are getting smarter and where they are allowing users greater ways to target audiences, segment audiences and personalise messaging. Yet there are still many pitfalls, so in this issue we outline how to use email […]

Sandbox Issue 227: TIK-ING BOXES. How TikTok can change music marketing.

Lead: TikTok is far more than a novelty app for people to whip up memes that have a shorter shelf life than a carton of milk. It is now breaking acts and songs in a way that other platforms cannot. We look at what the music industry is doing to capitalise on its phenomenal growth […]

The Dry Streams Paradox

Are you frustrated with the size of your fanbase? Tired of banging your head against a brick wall with ticket and merchandise sales? Unable to reconcile your streaming figures with the number of genuine fans? Then you might be suffering from The Dry Streams Paradox. What’s that? It’s the challenge that a growing number of […]

Sandbox Issue 226: What people just don’t “get” about digital marketing

Lead: what digital marketing trends are most underrated or simply misunderstood in 2019? That’s the question we put to the music marketing community and got them to hold forth on the subject. This resulted in a lot of ideas and a lot of new paths for marketing this year and beyond. Campaigns: TikTok goes all […]

Sandbox Issue 225: Retargeting in an Age of Privacy

Lead: Tighter regulations around retargeting have made the job of digital marketing much trickier to navigate. What this has meant is that marketers have to get smarter. We speak to those working around these rules about why – if they put the work in – this can be more blessing than curse. Campaigns: Billie Eilish […]

Sandbox Issue 224: Up Hit Creek. THE DRY STREAMS PARADOX

Lead: The Dry Streams Paradox is when there is a huge gap between the number of streams an act gets and the number of fans they have or can reach. Just because someone plays one of your songs, it does not follow that they even know what your name is. Does this all mean that […]

Sandbox Issue 222: SYNC IN. Music Synchronisation Gets Smarter

Lead: as synchronisation grows in importance, a new wave of tools is emerging to make that whole process work seamlessly and smarter, covering both micro-licensing and pitch management. We look at the key players here, what they do and where they are taking synch – plus consider how AI is set to shake things up […]

Sandbox Issue 221: Fake Views. Lies, damned lies and music statistics

Lead: Smoke and mirrors have always been part of music, but when it comes to data, truth is starting to play second fiddle to hype. The nefarious and ruthless are finding ways to “massage” social media and streaming numbers while offering the desperate and gullible a quick fix. But the platforms are getting wise to […]

Sandbox Issue 220: Vault-ing Ambitions

Lead: While Netflix viewers are currently obsessing over Marie Kondo and her rules on de-cluttering the home (instructing viewers to only hold onto the things that “spark joy”), a different approach needs to happen in digital marketing. Rather than binning everything but the essentials, archivists and markets should be retaining as much as they can […]

Sandbox Issue 219: The Tools and Trends That Will Shape 2019

Lead: A new year and a new slate. To kick off the year, we speak to marketers around the business and around the world about what tools they think will be indispensable and what trends they believe will shape 2019. From AR filters and scarcity to algorithmic personalisation of playlists, the continued rise of Latin […]

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