When musicians are on tour during the time of an album launch, broader promotional issues arise. Artists simply can't be at two places at once to fulfill both demands. Social networks are a clear solution to this problem, allowing artists to speak to their fans in a cost-effective and scalable way.
Rihanna recently ran into this not-uncommon problem. When it came time to promote her album Talk That Talk, she was on tour.
Rihanna's team leveraged her 53.5 million Facebook fans to generate hype surrounding her album release through a Facebook app called UNLOCKED. The app implemented the "tipping point strategy" Groupon is notorious for. As more fans engaged on the platform, they could access various forms of content like music downloads, lyric sheets, logos, a website, the album release date and album cover.
The execution worked out well for Rihanna. Fans generated more than 928,000 total "stories" and the effort resulted in 420 million total Facebook wall impressions. On Twitter, the campaign received about 5,000 tweets per hour.
There is a wealth of opportunity in social media for musicians who find themselves in any number of sticky situations. For example, when musician Denison Witmer became the father of a newborn, he transitioned his live shows to Skype. Exciting developments like these will lead to a completely transformed music industry where fans can join forces and get up close and personal with their idols.