Sunday, May 11, 2014

NZMM Day 11 – David Dallas

David Dallas is a New Zealand hiphop artist who has had an unusual track toward success, one that’s taken advantage of modern marketing opportunities. He’s an example of how new artists can break through using those new opportunities.

The video above is “The Wire ft. Ruby Frost”, and it’s his latest single. It reached Number 11 on the NZ chart and went Gold. It’s the third single from his current album, Falling Into Place, which reached Number 2 on the NZ album chart.

The second single from the album, "Runnin’" (below), hit Number 7 and went Platinum. It’s been featured in video games and has been used a lot as background music for ads and other programmes on NZ television. I especially like that song.

I first heard of David Dallas back in late 2011, when he released the “Deluxe Edition” of his second album, The Rose Tint. It was an unusual story.

I heard about him because of a piece on the news about how he’d opened a four-day “pop up” store in Auckland to promote the album. He later opened a one-day “pop-up” store in Wellington. That was unusual enough, but prior to that, he’d released the album as a free download to get noticed: “That's ultimately what you need,” he said. “You want people to hear it. You think, would you rather a thousand people heard it or would you rather sell it to one hundred?"

The album was downloaded more than 8,000 times in the first 24 hours, ultimately reaching more than 50,000 downloads. For free. To make money, Dallas released the “Deluxe Edition” that included four bonus tracks and instrumental versions of most of the original tracks, “for the aspiring artists or anyone who just loved the beats."

What David Dallas did is similar to what many artists of varying types are doing these days: Releasing their work for free, then offering deluxe or expanded editions people can buy. Or not. It’s sort of like “freemium” games that have become so popular on mobile devices: The game itself is free, but it either has limitations that make one want buy the full version, or they offer goodies that people pay for. The point is, the free content draws people in and then people may want to buy more (there’s actually a social psychology explanation for this called Reciprocity).

What David Dallas and many other artists are doing is using all the tools available to them to build awareness—and sales—throughout the world. David Dallas has been particularly good at it so far, and he’s an example of the sort of marketing and promotion we’ll be seeing more of.

And, in honour of Dallas’ “new marketing” efforts, the last video today is the only single from The Rose Tint, called “Take a Picture”. The single wasn’t charted in New Zealand, but the album it was from reached Number 3. Then, his current album reached Number 2. Not bad. His promotional efforts clearly worked.

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