deadmau5: How to Market Without Marketing

deadmau5: How to Market Without Marketing

December 2, 2019 100 By Kailee Schamberger


– I’m Alex Berman, and you’re watching Selling Breakdowns. Since its beginning,
the music industry has been heavily dominated
by mainstream pop acts. Every single and album
is supported by huge marketing budgets, and
it’s never clear where the PR ends and the artists’
private lives begin. This means it’s almost
impossible for artists to reach the top levels of success without this kind of planned
marketing campaign behind it. When Justin Bieber
released a single called What Do You Mean in 2015,
a different celebrity promoted it every day on social media. From skateboarding legend Tony
Hawk to comedian Kevin Hart. This is the sign of a very careful and very expensive promotion. A report from 2014
estimated that on average, record labels spend 11.4% of
revenue on marketing alone. So it’s refreshing when someone comes along and breaks the mold. Deadmau5, whose real name
is Joel Zimmerman, is one of the biggest electronic music
acts in the United States. And even though he’s
not competing directly with these traditional
pop acts, he’s had two top 10 albums on the
U.S. Billboard charts, as well as regularly
topping the dance charts. But it’s his approach to self-promotion and the way he interacts with his audience that we’re interested in today. Although some of this is unique to music, there are interesting
lessons to be learned about honesty and openness
with your customers, as well as getting the balance right between promoting but not overdoing it. The modern music world is very different from what existed just 15 to 20 years ago. For many years, the albums and the singles were the core products. Tours existed primarily
as a way to promote the recorded media because
that’s where the money was made. This is no longer the rule. For many acts, the recorded music is a way to get people to come to the concerts and festivals, as well as buy merchandise. Licensing for movies,
shows, video games, and ads has also taken on a more
prominent place than before. This means that fans’
desires have changed. Before, they were a traditional market. Artists made some music,
fans bought the music. Now, fans are looking for an experience. Music has always created communities, but these were normally entirely in the hands of fans, who started fans clubs and played tribute concerts and so on. Today a musician’s key
responsibility is growing a community, and this is
where Deadmau5 is king. Because he treats his market like real people and presents himself as one. In a blog post, Joel makes the
analogy with a rollercoaster. Even if everyone loves the rollercoaster, they’re eventually gonna get sick of it. We know this is true. Products and services have a life span. They either reach
saturation or a competitor creates a better or cheaper option. This is why you need a theme park. A rich variety of experiences,
some small, some big. Not only does this
attract a wider audience, but it also keeps the core
audience more engaged. It’s all about building a world. For businesses, the point of
creating this world is that your customers feel like
they’re getting more from you than just the product or
service that they paid for. And the benefit works in two ways. For the customer, they get better support and advice as well some entertainment, depending on the kind of world you build. For you, the business,
you create a core audience that you don’t really need to sell to. They’re already involved,
they know what new things are coming up, and when
they’re gonna be available. They’re practically
marketing you to each other. But, and this is a big
but, building a world is hard and its key ingredient is honesty. A touch of humor probably helps too. And this isn’t just honesty
about the product or service. It’s the honesty that you are a business made of regular people. Deadmau5 is the antithesis of a pop diva, who’s only really ever seemed fully styled and fully trained for their
media appearance of the day. He live streams red-eyed
in front of his computer, showing the long process of making music. And we, the people of
the world, want the real, the unpolished, the half
thought through ideas. We want to see these become the product, because when that happens, you
won’t need to sell it to us. We’re already invested in the journey. If you want evidence of this, look at the rise of crowd funding. Especially the kind on
Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Sure, some of the audiences are
looking for a good deal on a product that will be more
expensive when it comes to the market, but most of the backers
are buying into the world. To be part of the creation of something they want or they think the world needs. When it comes to Joel’s honesty, he combines it with a dry sense of humor. Just look at his album titles. For Lack of a Better Name,>Album Title Goes Here