Small Record Company Uses E-Mail to Trumpet Band's Debut Album

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It's a combination of technology and rock music, only it's not techno music. A brand-new independent record label is using interactive technology to help promote the release of an artist's debut album to an Internet-savvy group of listeners.


Silica Records, New York, today released the debut album of the rock-pop band Second Left, titled "Fruitful Abyss." Next week it will unleash a major direct marketing effort via e-mail to help promote the album's release.


On Sept. 15, more than 70,000 people, whose names will come from an opt-in database provided by 24/7 Media, New York, will receive an interactive e-mail that will include the capability to forward the message to others. Rick Foote, president of Silica Records, said the campaign will target two distinct groups.


"The groups will be broken into 35,000 people each," Foote said. "The first group is going to be women in the age range of 22 to 45 who have identified themselves as people likely to purchase music from a particular type of artist similar to this."


The second targeted group is males of college age and slightly older who have identified their musical tastes along the lines of the Dave Matthews Band.


24/7 Media also is providing Silica Records with the technology, an Ice-9 interactive Java program, to produce the e-mail message.


As a new record label looking to push new artists, Foote sees this type of marketing tactic as the best way not only to reach a younger audience but also to help get the band seen and heard by as many people as possible.


"As a young, small, independent record company, how we measure success is different from how a major label measures it," he said. "They will look at 50,000 [in] sales as a flop, while I will see it as a hit. But in order to sell that many records, I have to take advantage of touching as many senses as possible in a small amount of time, and this allows me to not only let people see the band but to hear it as well."


When the e-mail is received, the recipient will be able to click on the message, and a self-contained window that can operate independently of a Web browser will appear.


A sample of the band's single will begin playing immediately. Across the top of the window will be several tabs: bio; radio stations, which will provide a list of request lines at various radio stations that they can call to have the song played; mailing list; and repeat, which will allow users to replay the sample of the song.


When one of the tabs is clicked on, a screen will open to the right, providing the text and further information on the topic selected. On the left side of the window will be a photo of the band along with the album cover.


The bottom of the window will contain links to other Web sites. Included will be a link back to the band's home page; a link to the Silica Records home page; and a third link to the site of an online music retailer that has not been determined yet.


An option allowing the user to forward the e-mail to a friend also will be provided. Foote said the technology would allow the company to track how many people the message has been forwarded to.


"There are also going to be incentives included for people to send the message on to other people," Foote said. "We will be offering them shirts and signed posters from the band for forwarding it."


Along with the direct e-mail campaign will be some print and radio advertising.


"As the radio play increases, so will the amount of advertising we do on the radio," Foote said. "And in order to build some credibility as a label and for our artist, we have done some advertising in local magazines such as Friday Morning Quarterback."


Foote said ads would begin running soon in major music publications such as Rolling Stone, Spin and Billboard.


This marks the first major advertising campaign for Silica and any of its artists.
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