Fielding Graduate University News

Marketing Music to Fans: Learning How to Play

Posted by Hilary Edwards on Thu, Jan 30, 2014

The Economist

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Fielding alumna Gigi Johnson, EdD (ELC '11), was recently interviewed for an article about the connection between music and social media marketing in The Economist.

The Economist- Dec 13th 2013, 12:41 by G.M. | SAN FRANCISCO:

It has been a tough decade for the music industry, but some are beginning to hear a happier tune. Employment for musicians is growing due to increased demand for live performances. The average hourly wage for musicians is now around $22, well more than the countrywide average of $16.

A 2012 Berklee College of Music report found that the average personal income of more than 5,000 surveyed musicians was $55,561, which is higher than the national average of nearly $43,000. (More than half of the surveyed musicians work at least three jobs, and income from musical work, such as compositions, recordings and performances, accounts for roughly 80% of take-home pay.) The industry also has several niche growth areas, including startups, video games to music therapy. 

"It makes me very hopeful for our musicians here and what they can do," said Peter Spellman, director of Berklee's Career Development Center, to Forbes. "But it does require a certain amount of business savvy and marketing savvy, in combination with your musical savvy, to succeed."

To arm musicians with some of this savvy, a handful of American universities are now teaching courses designed to help students get ahead in an evolving industry. In programs at Berklee; the University of California, Los Angeles; Belmont University in Nashville; the University of Southern California; and Syracuse University in upstate New York, among other places, musicians, recording engineers, tour managers and industry executives teach classes in marketing, promotion, social media, technology and entrepreneurship.

Musicians continue to struggle to get royalties, so Gigi Johnson, executive director at the Maremel Institute, a California-based media consultant, spends a lot of time teaching students how to exploit social-media data to make more informed decisions about marketing music to fans.

"Some of my music students have 50,000 YouTube fans, but don't know what to do with them," Ms Johnson said. She teaches her students how to discern the "psychographics" of fans from back-end diagnostics: where do fans hang out? How do they see themselves, and where do they eat? This data can be used to create targeted sponsorship campaigns with specific brands, she says.

To read the full article, click here.

gigiGigi Johnson, as Executive Director of the Maremel Institute, explores how technology is transforming media, creative industries, education, and our shared expectations for the future. Maremel advises organizations and creates learning programs to help university leaders, media executives, and creative professionals rethink how to thrive under new technologies and business models.

She speaks extensively and teaches part-time at UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, focusing on digital disruption of creative industries. She has enjoyed teaching as well for five years with University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain and at the launch of the new creative industries program at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi. Until 2005, she had been Executive Director of the UCLA Anderson’s Entertainment and Media Management Institute.  Before joining UCLA in 1999, she had been SVP/Managing Director at Bank of America, where she spent most of a decade in their Entertainment/Media practice, financing M&A in changing media industries.

Johnson received her doctorate in education/media studies from Fielding Graduate University, her MBA from UCLA Anderson, and her BA in Cinema-Television Production from the University of Southern California. She is a member of the Interactive Peer Group in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and actively involved in many research and industry organizations.


Tags: Media psychology, educational leadership, Marketing, social media, digital learning, fielding graduate university