Warner Brothers Records Nashville A&R Team

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Warner Brothers Nashville has come up with an idea that I think will be very interesting and fun for country music fans. They have launched a brand new section on their website called the A&R Team. Basically, you sign up for a free account on their website and you, the fan, get to share your opinion on some of the many decisions the record label has to make routinely such as which songs go to radio and even which artists make it to your store shelf or you online shopping cart.

For an example, right now on the site is a survey of a few songs of a new and upcoming artist. You listen to several songs, rate them and answer a couple yes/no questions, and then you can comment on the track.

The site is open and free to anyone that wishes to join and be apart of the A&R Team. To sign up, visit http://www.wbrnashville.com/arteam

Warner Brothers Nashville artist roster includes not only their country music artists, but their comedians as well. Big and Rich, Blake Shelton, Cowboy Troy, Faith Hill, James Otto, Jason Jones, Point of Grace, Randy Travis, The Dirt Drifters, The Wreckers, Whitney Duncan, Bill Engvall, Blue Collar Comedy, Frank Caliendo, Gladys Hardy, Henry Cho, Jeff Foxworthy, Kathleen Madigan, Larry the Cable Guy, and Lisa Lamppanelli make up the full Warner Brothers label.

Now, what do I think of this? Well, let's put it this way, I signed up before I posted this blog. This is a truly awesome idea. Not very many, if any, of the other labels have anything like this. They may have a site for rating songs, but usually those ratings are for songs already out on the radio and I am thinking are there to gauge more about how long should the song stay on the radio, rather than who should be on the radio in the first place.

The site itself is pretty easy to use and sign-up is quick and simple. Also, the whole idea opens up so many different windows for Warner Brothers Nashville. They now have a way to do 2 things. 1) The initial purpose of gathering information on songs to market to radio. 2)They have a way to directly connect to country music fans...but not just any fan. This is something an active fan of the music will love and be able to target directly the best of the best fans. With this site, its going to enhance brand loyalty, which can influence buying choices, at least some. This is such a great example of how technology can be put to work perfectly. The fans win by getting to hear some new music, share their opinions directly with the label, and hopefully in the future may some type of rewards/contests. The label wins by getting the feedback from the fans that most likely would buy the music.

I think this is a great start, and have a feeling that the label will expand it even more. There so many options they have with a feature like this. It will be exciting to see what comes of it in the future.

So, what would make it fail? Couple things. 1) Not maintaining the site... the members will need frequent updates to the surveys and activities on the site. If they don't do anything new for a few months or so, interest will be lost. 2) Lack of new content. If it just remains a couple surveys here and there with the same input being looked for, some people may lose interest. 3) This is a big one. The label will need to post comments in some form that make us believe that our opinion really did count. Now, I know, and most people know, that the opinion of the listener is a big part, but not the only part of making the decision on what is played, when, and where its heard. However, to what extent they can without giving too much detail that would be not for general public knowledge, let us know how our opinion and comments played into the decision that was made. Without the feedback from the label side, the members of the site won't take it seriously. 4) Don't promote it too much. Let the bloggers like myself get the information out and to some of the country music sites. Keep it within the country music community, those are the people that will be listening and buying the music. Its a great idea, no doubt, it isn't for everyone. Yes, you want a good cross-section of big fans and the casual listener, but need a good balance.

Those are my thoughts on this new program from Warner Brothers Nashville, what do you think?

Again, to sign up it is free. Jut visit: http://www.wbrnashville.com/arteam