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Tom Petty and the Market-Breakers

Tom PettyWhat Tom Petty’s New Album Can Teach Us About Online Marketing

Not many artists can do what Tom Petty has done. Between countless hit singles, sold out tours around the world, and even performing at the Superbowl halftime show, Tom Petty has practically taken the music world by storm during his career. Now, Petty is in the midst of a task not many of his peers are lucky enough to do – reinvent himself with a fresh, new album.

The album, Hypnotic Eye, is very different from any prior, or any created by his peers. Why? Because Tom Petty understands the power of Internet Marketing.

Petty gave a digital download code to every person who bought a ticket to his show for the tour that just began.  If you go to see Tom Petty live, you get a free download of the new album. Not only that, but once you’ve received the album, Petty’s record company sent out emails that allowed fans to share the album with three people of their choosing. This means that a total of four people are able to download the new Tom Petty record, for FREE.

You might be thinking this is a huge loss for Petty. Why would he give away his album when he’s such a big superstar? The answer isn’t in the hypotheticals, the answer truly lies in the results. Between this offer and copious social media promotion, this album marks the first time in history that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers topped the Billboard 100, coming out at number one.

Considering all of the hit music that has come out this year, and the generational gap between Tom Petty and current hit music listeners, coming out number one on the Billboard 100 is a huge accomplishment.

This also becomes a huge testament to “free is the best price.” Offering such an easy medium for people to download your album like this converts into more customers (more ticket sales, more physical album sales, etc), especially considering that every person that received a free copy of the album is given another three. Giving away music like this creates incentive, and that incentive turns into listeners. What is there to lose?

Petty doesn’t have much to lose by giving it away, either. Giving away his album for free may hurt iTunes sales, but there’s a bigger picture. Tom Petty is a household name to many rock ‘n’ roll fans. His seats will be filled so long as there are rock ‘n’ roll fans out there. The exposure to new generations and old, is a huge gain as far as ticket sales and physical album sales are concerned. Taking over social media is a new way for Petty to connect with people; similar to how Weird Al Yankovic promoted his last record. Petty and Yankovic are trying to utilize this new medium to share their products with the world amidst our post-MTV culture, and it’s working. Both Petty and Yankovic understand that the radio, MTV, and the media in general no longer have control of the music industry. In the digital age, the music industry is dictated by us, the listeners. We’re slowly moving out of the world where we’re told what to listen to and into a world where the audience can decide for themselves what they want to hear. Social media is becoming the new music media.

I think the biggest lesson internet marketers can pull from this campaign is that exposure and connection are sometimes more valuable than money. Not only that, but an online presence and subsequent connections can lead to the sales your product deserves. Sometimes it’s not about gaining instant financial gratification; it’s about connecting with people in an easily accessible way.

Petty is definitely onto something here. After countless hit singles and albums over the years, his goal of reaching number one has finally been accomplished. At the end of the day, it wasn’t about a hit radio single or the best video on MTV. It was about providing incentive, accessibility and keeping an open mind about the ever-changing music marketing industry.

As content marketers, we should always keep an open mind to new marketing strategies, as Petty has.

To purchase the album, or to see his upcoming tour dates, visit TomPetty.com 

Watch Tom Petty perform “Forgotten Man on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!

Read more here: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/tom-petty-scores-first-number-one-album-in-38-year-career-20140806

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