Matthew Effect Marketing
The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. That in essence is the Matthew Effect. The term was originally used in science but can explain how music marketing works most effectively in the digital age.
At the heart of the internet there are lists. Lists are traffic drivers. Most viewed, Most discussed, Most listened to, most this and most that. People use lists to filter their exposure to new music. People want the best of things. For anyone serious about spreading their creative content, getting on a popular list is an absolute requirement.
Once on that list, the Mathew Effect takes over. Listed content will always grow in popularity, the extent determined only by the level of emotional connection. The more it grows, the more it will grow. That’s cumulative advantage or in simple terms, snowballing.
It’s not just the lists as we know them. It’s also about visibility, about “dressing up” content. A search on YouTube for a specific video may show up the same video several times. Tests have shown that the clip with the most views is the chosen one; the Matthew Effect at its best.
This of course also applies to different clips within the same subject.
While we’re all seeding content in the hope that people will ultimately share or recommend it, the sharing dynamic only applies when the content is perceived to be worth sharing. Generally it’s not individuals who discover music that they then share but a group or community who decide what’s best.
This of course is why social network marketing is so attractive.
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Getting on the list to take advantage of the Matthew effect is the most difficult hurdle. Becoming richer when you’re already rich is much easier than going from poor to rich.
Matthew Effect Marketing is the art of bypassing the natural and often slow selection process and moving directly to relevant lists where visibility can create its own impetus.