Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Marketing Music to Moms

Last week I saw this.
A new pr and marketing program from Child's Play Communications dubbed Music Moms hopes to tap into that market by putting music in the hands of influential mommy bloggers. Music Moms reviews music across all genres including children's music, and Universal Motown has already used the service. "Mom, I Need Help Marketing My Music" Hypebot.com, 6/19/09.
That got me thinking about mothers as a target market.

I can see pitching songs about motherhood to them. For example, here are songs from two Denver-based singer/songwriters written after they became mothers.

Wendy Woo, "Another September"
Angie Stevens, "Sleepwalking"

I can also see interviewing artists about juggling music and motherhood. Here are a few examples I found.
I wasn’t even married. Now I’m a wife and a mother of two. ... My priorities are always going to be my husband and my family now. That’s a huge, huge thing. "Gwen Stefani," ELLE, July 2009
[My daughter's] only eight months old, but already I have less time to do my thing, which is good. I have this little boss now, who insists that I step away from work - pretty unique in a boss. Work less! Work less! I think it's good for me not to get so far inside my own head. "The radical singer Ani DiFranco on music, motherhood and politics," The Guardian, 10/10/07
The twins have gone on tour with us since they were 12 weeks old, so they’re old pros at it now. It’s definitely a balancing act. It’s a crazy road and I would leave it to raise my children, but I feel God has created me to do music and be a mom. It’s a unique and beautifully chaotic life. "Natalie Grant balancing Christian music stardom and motherhood," Everyday Christian, 5/27/09
I love being a mother. It's very satisfying to me but it is hard. I spend time with Ruby on the phone. When I'm on the road, I call in every day. I have her homework faxed to me so we can go over that on the telephone."Suzanne Vega,The Art of Balancing Motherhood and Music," celebrityparents.com
You can find even more interviews at Musicians parenting articles - CelebrityParents.com.

And here is an entire book on the subject. Rock Star Mommy: My Life as a Rocker Mom.

There are also blogs by music-loving mothers.
MelodicMom.com - Mommy Blog, Rock Music, and Motherhood
Rock and Roll Mama
The Motherhood - Music Mamas

What I'm not sure about is any concept that mothers are a definable music-buying market. What unites mothers are some common lifestyle interests/needs. They need clothes and supplies for their kids. They spend time involved in parenting. They want to learn about schools, kids' activities, and meal planning.

In terms of music, many of them get exposed to kids' songs through children's TV. They may also be looking for live music events that are family-friendly. So I can see where having children influences their decisions in these areas. And because they generally (1) have less free time to get out to see live music, (2) may need to be home at a reasonable hour, and (3) may not have a lot of money to spend on outside entertainment, there are opportunities in providing concerts and club shows that meet the needs/interests of that vast underserved market of music fans: parents.

But in terms of their own listening preferences, mothers, I believe, are as diverse in their musical tastes as anyone else. Some like country. Some like hard rock. Some like soft rock. Some like indie rock. Some like jazz. Yet, based on some of the artists being targeted to the mom blogosphere, I'm getting the impression that music marketers equate the mom market with the Oprah market. The artists being showcased at various blogger conventions and events seem to be young, good-looking, single, singer/songwriter types, both male and female. There's definitely a market for artists like this, but is it mom music?

If the artists themselves aren't mothers, aren't singing about parenting, and aren't singing music for kids, what's the mom connection? Is it that although moms have as diverse tastes as the rest of the music-consuming public, they prefer to learn about and discuss music with other moms? Are recommendations from other mothers going to influence their music searches? I'm asking, as both a music fan and a mother.

Suzanne Lainson
@slainson on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. Suzanne,
    These are all great questions. I'm working on a book, "Rock and Roll Mama", which is all about moms and musical identity. Not that we all have the same one, but that we each probably have less time to devote to tunes once we become mothers. For some, that hurts more than others. My premise is that as we have less time and resources to devote to music, we slowly slide out of it before realizing what's missing- like the 10 pounds we may gain after the hoidays without stepping in the scale. And an indefinable piece that provided comfort and sustenance is gone, without us noticing.

    I'm glad that marketers are realizing this is an underserved population, but, along with you, am wary of being treated as a homogenous demographic.

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