Blog Post

FMC: The New Face of Marketing: Search and Recommendation Systems

[by Derek Slater] Production and distribution costs may be dramatically lower in the digital environment, but marketing costs remain high. Meanwhile, consumers are faced with a sea of music choices online. The second panel brought up one key point in cutting through the noise: search and recommendation systems.

Real’s Tim Quirk argued that consumers don’t trust a faceless company’s own recommendations. It’s important to push recommendations at consumers, but consumers also need ways of navigating through the choices themselves. One panelist noted that webcasting is only one piece of the puzzle – once thought of as the new radio, it will compete with simpler, automated recommendation systems and tools that are more interactive and enable consumers to share their tastes. There will be more on this later in the conference.

Online music services also offer new opportunities for labels to acquire data necessary to market effectively. On the first panel, Shawn Fanning discussed how his company Snocap can identify songs floating on the P2P networks that may be back catalog or otherwise unavailable material that labels might want to monetize. Snocap can report the popularity of those files to help gauge consumer interest. This sounds somewhat like BigChampagne’s work monitoring file-sharing. At this point, Snocap’s basically vaporware, but, if it works, the technology has potential beyond simply selling songs over P2P.