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One other detail regarding the marketing back then was that when the labels shipped the CD units to retail stores like Target and Walmart, they essentially lost any control in how these stores marketed the artist (details here - The linked article brings out how grass roots marketing was exchanged for marketing that focused on which artists the retail stores thought were the most popular. For example, the article says, "...retailers like Target only put about 300 titles per year on shelves out of 3000 or more possible releases..."
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"Encouraging fans to reach out to friends could be a powerful sales generator." I remember reading an article detailing how a lot of the major labels were trying to cut down on expenses so they ended up getting rid of the artist development and promotions departments. The promotions department in particular sent out interns to advertise bands in record shops. This struck me as a kind of grass roots marketing campaign wherein the interns could positively influence customers in the stores to buy the CD, the customers in turn would spread the word and the band would profit. Also, great article :)
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Aug 17, 2012