Publishing messages in a variety of media formats is often more appealing to the fans. The music video has been used as a promotional tool in the record industry for decades, with original broadcasts on MTV in the 1980s. In the age of social media, people are viewing more video content online at their own convenience. During May 2011 alone, over 31 million people in the United States watched video content on social media platforms (“State of the Media,” 2011). Today, record labels are making music videos available to consumers online via licensing deals with YouTube and VEVO in hopes that views will result in greater music sales. “We offer consumers artist-branded channels on YouTube,” said Michael Nash, executive vice president of digital strategy and business development at Warner Music Group. “In a world where over half of the active rosters are signed to extended rights agreements, it is extremely important for us to have a strong marketing partnership with our artists,” (IFPI Digital Music Report, 2011). Justin Bieber is perhaps the poster child for the music video as a promotional tool on YouTube. With over 430 million views on YouTube, Justin Bieber’s song, “Baby,” was the 8th highest selling single in 2010 at 6.4 million units sold (2011). Other artists, such as the Black Keys, have published music videos of unreleased songs on Facebook through YouTube as a means of promoting an upcoming album release.
As yet another means of engaging fans, some artists allow fans to submit photos from concerts, which may then be published on the artist’s social media pages. Foo Fighters told their nearly 6.4 million Facebook fans to submit photographs they have taken at their concerts by tagging the artist in the photo. The band selected 130 of these fan-photos and published a photo album on their page called “Pics from our pals.” By engaging their fans on Facebook, the Foo Fighters shared their fans’ real experiences while narrowing the communication gap between artist and fan.