Thursday, November 1, 2007

Star De Azlan – Using Social Media to Help Become a Country Music Star

I stated in my last post that I am doing a paper on “The Effect of MySpace and YouTube on the Marketing of Country Music”. Social media such as MySpace and YouTube offer us a chance to create a connection with others. Having connectivity with another person is a way to develop a positive relationship with that person, and quite often can lead to benefits (tangible and intangible) for both people.

Star De Azlan is a young woman from Martinsville, Texas who I discovered recently. Ms De Azlan is a new country music artist who has just released her first country single. On her MySpace page I found her amazing new song “She’s Pretty”. It is real country from a real country artist.

There is more to Ms De Azlan’s MySpace page than just her song. She has a short bio and, perhaps more importantly, a short video about herself. In the past, country radio was a new country artist’s major access to the majority of country fans. If radio program directors did not like you, your music, or feared you or your music could be cause division among their listeners, you had no chance at a successful country music career.

Ms De Azlan is now preparing to see if country radio will accept her. Unfortunately she has things working against her. She is a woman, and female artists have a tougher time getting played more than the male artists favored by country radio’s predominately female audience.

Female traditional country singers like Ms De Azlan have tougher time getting airplay than more country pop sounding females. Ashton Shepherd and Miranda Lambert are examples this. Ms De Azlan though has one other thing against her that Ashton and Miranda do not.

I have intentionally identified Ms De Azlan by her last name in this posting. De Azlan is not exactly Brooks, McEntire, Jackson, Williams, or Judd. Ms De Azlan is of Hispanic decent. Few Hispanic artists have ever been successful in country music. In fact, minorities of any kind have had difficulty in country music. Few have even bothered to try.

Star De Azlan is going to try, and in the old days I would rate her chances as not very good. Radio programmers would see her last name and think “what is she doing trying to get on my station.”

Today though, social media like MySpace and YouTube give Star a chance to get pass these uninformed stereotypes. People who visit MySpace pages are always interested in listening to and viewing things. Star has her song playing when you arrive at her page. You quickly hear her country sound, and you understand this is real country music.

More importantly there is a video on the page you can play that introduces Star De Azlan to the fans of country music. In the video you hear Star talk about her music, and where she is from. You hear her tell you in unaccented English that she loves country music greats like George Strait. You heard she got her start in Cheatham Street Warehouse bar where a young George Strait got his start.

Suddenly the connectivity between Star and the user starts to build. Star loves George Strait. Almost all country fans love George Strait. The visitor’s now starts to think, Star loves George Strait well so do I. A connection is made. As we watch the video we learn that Star’s life is like many country fans’ lives. She is one of them. More connections are made.

These connections allow Star’s brown face and Hispanic sounding name fade to the background, and her music comes forward. She is, after all, no different than any other country artist or fan. Once the connection is established, it spreads. The visitor to her page tells someone else that they have to check Star’s music out. That person is impressed, and spreads the word as well. Like a spider web, news of Star De Azlan will spread out amongst country fans.

It is those fans who will call country radio stations and request her music be played. Those calls will trigger program directors to play her music, regardless of their original thoughts of her. Once on the radio, Star’s career will grow, and stardom could be achieved.

Nothing is guaranteed of course. Still, those who can harness the power of social medium can boost their changes of success. Taylor Swift was once viewed a tall, skinny, 17 year old girl who had a song name after a country music superstar (Tim McGraw). Today, Taylor is a young country music star with over a million albums sold. Taylor used MySpace to build a connection to fans who then acted on her behalf to get country radio to play her music, and help become a country music star.

Star De Azlan must do the same. I hope she is successful. We need more traditional female country artists. However, it will be a tough fight. She will need to use all the resources at her disposable to establish a connection to country music fans. With her MySpace page she is off to a strong start.

P.S. – In case you are wondering, Star and her efforts will be featured in my actual paper.