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JHS Pedals and the power of content marketing

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Ah, JHS Pedals. Known for their pedal mods and their original pedal designs. Every week their owner Josh Scott gives us a relaxing vlog of in-your-face distortion, drooling (usually over Boss Pedals), and stellar gear demoing.

If you were not in the loop, you would never realize that his vlog is a part of a larger marketing strategy to brainwash you into buying his pedals.

 

Uh. What?!

That was a joke (of course), but it holds some truth to it. That truth is that content marketing is one of the most powerful means of enticing users to purchase companies products.

A Golden Circle

A content marketer named Simon Sinek coined a concept known as the golden circle. It looks like this:

gOLDEN cIRLCE

1. Why? Why are you doing this?
2. How? How will this help me?
3. What? What are you selling me?

(editors notes: you should probably make it look like a circle…)

If you look at most manufacturers, the focus is on the “What” section. What they do, what they sell, etc. They then work their way back to the “how”. “How will it help us”. Then they work their way back eventually to the “why”. “Why they make things the way they do.”

However, JHS’s (and many other companies) success comes from flipping this concept on its head. Instead of trying to sell us on his pedals, one could probably watch a few of his videos before you realize he even sells them himself.

 

Ok… So, why is he doing this again?

JHS’s owner is so passionate about guitar and pedal companies, that he will create unbiased demos where he shows off his favorite pedals made by his competitors and usually throws in a quick, “oh, and here is one I make too, I based it off of this other pedal, it’s pretty cool too.”

He will even create videos that do not even relate to his company at all but rather focus on helping the consumer make a good purchase decision in their price range. JHS creates boutique pedals, most of them selling at about $200-$400 dollars. So, why is he creating buyer’s guilds for the “best pedals you can buy for under $100 dollars“?

It’s all about building report. Let’s think about how JHS’s vlogs apply to the Golden Circle.

Why:

We understand that JHS Pedals is passionate about guitar pedals, and his willingness to show off other companies products demonstrates this passion in a very easy to grasp way.

How:

The JHS Pedals vlog also serves as a brilliant tutorial for how to use guitar pedals in a real-world application. Unlike other pedal companies that simply show a pedal and give a quick demo of its sound, Scott will talk about how the pedal can be used, what genres typically use it, and why it sounds the way it does.

This approach helps to show both Scott’s understanding of its customers needs but also helps show the customer how many applications they can use their pedals for in a real-world scenario.

What:

In most episodes, Scott will include his products in his demos as well, showcasing them as an option or an alternative to other companies. He usually stresses that his products are not “superior”, but simply options. This humble mentality has helped him win over many fans by giving them the impression that he is not trying to lie to anyone about his pedals being the best.

Scott will also separate his promotional content from his vlogs, to also better help the end buyer to understand what is promotional, and what is informational.

 

Cool. Explain to me again why this works.

In a rock star’s world, anyone claiming to be the best will immediately face harsh critics, but by approaching it in a humble and interesting way, JHS Pedals has gained many loyal fans of his work. You don’t need to be able to afford a thousand-dollar guitar rig to be able to appreciate JHS’s videos.

In a way, helping people to get hooked on guitar effects at a lower cost means that JHS will remain front of mind for when they eventually are able to afford to upgrade their rig. When the time comes to buy a new pedal, they will instinctively think back to JHS and how they have helped them in the past.

 

The takeaways

Be nice to people! People value authenticity, and will reward you for it with their business. What may seem like a terrible short-term strategy can produce amazing long term results!

 

 

 

In the style of…

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Do type-beats have a place in modern music?

“All rap music sounds the same.” is an argument against liking rap and hip-hop music that I hear all the time. While this argument infuriates me as a lover of hip-hop, I think the biggest reason I am bothered by it is that it is absolutely correct from a certain point of view. When looking at what is at the top of the charts, one could easily come to the conclusion that yes, all rap music does sound the same.

Today, we will explore some reasons why.

The rise of the internet, the fall of the beat-tape.

When the internet made it into the music world, the culture of beat-making was forever changed. When the craft of beat-making started, a beat-makers’ only hope for recognition was to pass out tapes, demos of their skills and abilities, and hope that someone would vibe with it and further complete the project with them. In these days, anyone lucky enough to have the equipment to produce beats would have to work hard to hone their skill. In those days, the culture was still underground so if an artist wanted to be found, they would have to find a way to get their tape into the hands of a DJ or MC who would be able to play their work.

As the internet began to take hold in the 2000’s, beats began to take hold of the mainstream spotlight as well. With this sudden ability to share and copy music came the now iconic “producer tags” we now have come to love or hate. These producer tags were started when producers would find their instrumental beat being sold under someone else’s name and were created as a means to ‘watermark’ their work.

Today, the beat-tape is all but extinct, as producers choose instead to focus their efforts on marketing singles, as the need to collect compilations of instrumentals no longer makes sense to the average producer.

The type-beat

It has been said that people dont know what they like, they like what they know. The music industry is no different. Since Pachelbel’s Canon, pop music has been using the same four chords for almost every song. Humans are attracted to things that sound like what they know, as it gives any type of music a sense of comfort and familiarity.

Rap music is no different. When one art style becomes famous, every artist follows suit, hoping to cash in on the success of the previous. This might be intentional or not, but because of it, we end up hearing a lot of really similar sounding beats.

To gain a following faster, many beat-makers got their start by making type-beats to capitalize on this phenomenon. You are an up and coming rapper? You can either search through hours of un-exclusive beats hoping to find one you like, or you can search (your favorite artist) – Type beat, and then find something you know you will like. It has been proven time and time again, that this is a steady way for new producers to potentially make money, but it does create a problem.

Everyone begins to sound the same.

When a new beat-maker makes a song trying to sound like an artist, and takes off, then the next beat-maker will try to piggy-back the fame of the last. As time goes on, you create an oversaturation of similar sounding beats, and everyone suffers for it.

When everyone is copying everyone, the medium grows stale, and people lose interest. Its why country music is on the decline, and its why funk music, rock music, and countless other genres fall in popularity.

In this over-saturated market, its no wonder that fusion bands like 21 Pilots or Gorillaz have seen such a rise in popularity. The fact is, people want unique sounding music, but nobody knows how to find it.

Click Culture.

In a podcast by Sam Harris and Zeynep Tufekci, they talk about how the internet feeds us things we like, and how it will constantly shift our attention to the next thing so that we remain on any given site.

Because of this, we are constantly drawn to things that are similar to what we have previously found, and we are constantly fed what we already like. This is why so many youtube channels make their focus on helping people to make type-beats. This formula is tried and proven, and it evidently works.

I think that whether or not taking advantage of the system is helping or hurting the industry, it is definitely not going away anytime soon.

 

So what do you think? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂

 

Fax Machines: the future of music promotion.

Why social media is DEAD for music marketing (and why email works)

Today I read this article.

What the heck.
The last time I heard email regarded as “the future” or as an “innovation“, it was around the nineties, before I was born.

Email.

Freakin’ Email.

Maybe they are right.

In the world of over saturation in the music scene, It can be next to impossible to reach people in a meaningful way, and with the slow and painful death of soundcloud, reaching people with your music is getting harder and harder.

Where we check daily for deals, and to see which classes are cancelled, maybe Email is the next reasonable step!email-music-buy-rap-beats