(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Alive Records is launching with releases from two new artists from different ends of the country music spectrum. November 7 marked the release of Labor Pains, the debut from charismatic, traditional-minded country singer Michael Lee Austin helmed by veteran country producer Michael Wayne Edging, Following in January will be Deeper, the debut album by Brandi Valentine, a cutting edge vocalist with crossover pop-country approach
According to Armand Morin, one of Alive Records three owners (with Edging and Rex Wisehart), who has been a major force in online software marketing for the last decade, "Companies have been missing massive marketing opportunities online for years by neglecting one simple thing: relationships with potential buyers. If you don't know the fans who are visiting your websites, you can't develop a rapport with them and keep them interested. High tech must be complemented by an approach we call high touch."
Each of the Alive Records artist websites–those for Austin and Valentine are currently under construction–will feature a video kindly welcoming visitors and offering them a free gift for joining their digital fan club. This will help build a database of names and email addresses; fan club members will receive updates on product release dates, live performances and artist activities.
Employing Audio Generator and Video Generator, brand new technologies which allow the average person to put voice and video online, the label's artists will send people audio and video postcards–"Hi There, I'm Michael Lee Austin and I've got a brand new CD"–offering free downloads to those who fill in their contact information and agree to forward the card to three other people. The thank you page sent to those who participate will ask them if they are interested in purchasing the current album.
"With a previous client I worked with, we started off with 100 friends and eventually the audio postcards reached over 200,000 people," says Morin. "Word of mouth spreads fast on the internet and this creates a powerful viral campaign. Our artists are going to have an inescapable presence on itunes, MSN and the other major download sites, all of which offer the all-important ?try before you buy' option. But these alternative techniques generating from our artist websites are designed to increase sales exponentially."
To ensure heavy traffic on the websites for Alive Records, Austin, Valentine and all future artists signed to the label, the company will be advertising aggressively on Google Ad Words, on Yahoo! and other major search engines, as well as on www.myspace.com, which reaches over 20 million music fans worldwide. Alive Records is also launching various joint venture marketing efforts, both with major companies and on the more grass roots level of internet fan clubs.
"We know the techniques we have are time tested and proven, and what has worked for me in the software business will work very well in the music industry," says Morin, whose software company boasts a mailing list of over 200,000 names. "Once we develop individual fan bases for an artist, we can cross promote them with others on our roster. These kinds of marketing emails are not spam in any sense, but informational releases sent to people who have expressed interest in these artists and their music."
Ted Joseph, an industry veteran of over 30 years. 24 of them with Warner Bros. Records, in marketing, sales, radio promotion and distribution, is on board with Alive Records as a special consultant. "Our mission statement is to expose extremely good music to the traditional and nontraditional consumer of music products," he says. "The bottom line with any record company is high quality music. All of these ingenious marketing techniques are in the service of that bottom line. Major labels have been investigating these ideas for years, but they move very slowly to implement them. We believe that a small label like us has a tremendous advantage in an increasingly competitive marketplace." –Jane Cohrn and Bob Grossweiner