The man that broke Linkin Park in China

Check out our interview with Huang Feng, Warner's marketing guy back in 2003 and the man responsible for bringing Linkin Park to Shanghai

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We have just seen the semi triumphant return of super rock/ metal/ rap/ electronica act Linkin Park at Shanghai Stadium.  You can read our review of it HERE.  Sure enough, Linkin Park have sold more concert tickets in China than any other international artist, and many people will put that down to marketing efforts by the promoters since 2007, and in part this is true.  But in reality, the push for this band started 6 years ago.  We spoke to the man who made it his mission to get Linkin Park to China. Huang Feng (黄烽) who was Warner’s marketing guy way back in 2003.

the RADAR: Tell us the story of the origins of the “Bring Linkin Park to China” campaign

HF: We chose Linkin Park because they were Warner Music’s global priority back in 2003.

We had an idea that Linkin Park was very popular with Chinese kids, and never had a big international band of their stature come to China for a live show.

When we decided to release and promote the album Meteora in China, it had already been released in the States for more than a year and pirated versions were available in the black market. We knew that Linkin Park fans had certainly already downloaded the album from internet or bought a pirated CD. So our problem was how to attract others to buy a non-pirated legal copy, while also keeping in consideration the difference in price. After all, these fans are mainly young kids who are very price sensitive. So we arrived at a good concept for the campaign, which basically was to ask Linkin Park fans the question:

“If you like Linkin Park and already have the [pirated] album, you are not our enemy. But do you want to see their live show? As a record label, we will not be able to convince bands to tour a market if there are no legal sales of their album.”

This is the reasoning that tied whole campaign together.

Secondly, we created a card insert for the CD on which fans could write about why they like Linkin Park and send back to the label.  We would report on the number of cards we received to the label and the band in the U.S. We promoted this campaign in all media specifically radio shows.

None of what we did had ever been tried before with an international band release in China. Additionally, we organized some events at record stores for Linkin Park fans to come and buy the CDs and then record short video messages for the band. We recorded what the fans said and took the video footage to the Warner regional marketing team. They all loved it, and decided to support the campaign further.  The video messages were shown to the band, who were surprised and loved what we were doing for them. After that, everything for the campaign was smooth. This sort of thing must have the support of the band [if it is to work].

After we received the band’s support, we continued with a normal marketing plan for the album. Unusual at that time was for the China office of a record label to have direct contact with an international band. So I decided to upgrade the campaign. Our work had really only just begun – we had a long way to go before we could even think about the band actually coming to China. So we offered a lucky draw – anyone who bought an original album and filled out the comment card and sent to us had a chance to win a trip to see Linkin Park play in Korea. In the end we sent 3 lucky draw winners to Korea for the show and to meet the band.

the RADAR: What was the actual benefit to the label?

HF: The whole campaign connected “Bring Linkin Park to China” with record sales directly. We sold 100,000 copies of the Meteora album during that period. This was unprecedented for an international album in China. The fans who went to meet the band in Korea brought them a gift: a huge banner (4×6 meters) filled with signatures from fans in China. The band was shocked and this left a lasting impression with them. Linkin Park signed their own names on the banner and then took a photo of it. The photo is included in the album artwork for worldwide release of the Live in Texas CD/DVD.

Our campaign was across the release of these two albums. Normally a live CD would never sell as well as a regular album. But the live album in this case also sold 100,000 copies. We continued the campaign and although the band still hadn’t come to China, after we sent the fans to Korea to meet them they expressed their interest in coming.

Even though several years have passed since the campaign and a lot of other international bands have been to China in the interim, Chinese music fans still haven’t had the chance to see a great live show by an international band (ED: I’m sure Beyonce fans would disagree!). Really there are so few good chances. So I think promoters and record labels should work closely together to develop the market. I think our biggest aim should be to bring more good live shows to China.

As I think back over it, I feel very happy. When Linkin Park finally made it to China in 2007, most of the fans at the show had never actually experienced any real live rock show. And Linkin Park performed for 140 minutes and the fans stood and danced from the moment they entered the stadium until the very end.

因为当时我再warnar,当时Linkinpark是华纳global priority,全球推荐的。应该是2003年。

当时最主要的差别,当时做ora市场推广的时候,在美国已经上师1年多了,中国已经有引进地下市场,我们决定引进这张专辑报批,在中国比在全球玩1年多,我们观察,这一年多的时间,理论上任何喜欢LP已经有盗版或网络下载,这久存再一个问题,怎么能够吧别人已经有的音乐让他爱支持正版,还有价值的差异,毕竟是孩子,对价格差异比较敏感。找到的办法就是在她们已经盗版的基础上在支持正版,整个市场部的compaign给他们的歌迷的宣传主打概念,如果你喜欢LP但是已经有音乐的并不是敌人,但是想不想看他们现场演出,如果想看,我们是唱片公司,乐队没有办法去一个没有正版销量的一个市场去巡演,整个campaign就是先宣传这个道理,第二是有一个卡片,让他们喜欢LP的故事,宣传中会讲,根据卡片的销售量,来传达到乐队,把计划确定下来后,所有的媒体推广和电台主题都是这样。当时最重要的音速是,LP的音乐确实收到青少年喜欢,而且当时还没有大牌乐队演出,合在一起,就让我们有机会做这个campaign,还有一些组织他们来唱片店,购买正版的同事,让他们来表达他们对乐队的感情,我们所有的方法对于国际唱片都没做过,我们吧歌迷说得花都拍下来,然后给华纳公司regional marketing看这个视频,他们非常喜欢。标示愿意支持这个campaign,传达到月队后,乐队也很喜欢,然后后来就很顺利,这样的行为必须要获得乐队的支持。

获得乐队支持后,就是很常规的做法,但是当时没有一个唱片公司肯作这样一个事情,大同自己china office和美国Label沟通,然后直接冲到哪里和他们的乐队接触直。然后我再把这个项目升级,让他们参加这个campaign的人都一定要买正版,然后我们就有一个抽奖,但是当时campaign刚刚开始,要让乐队国来演出,还是遥遥无期,那么把歌迷送出去看演出,送了三个孩子去韩国看演出。

还有媒体合作伙伴,费用对于marketing还不能全能power的了得,当时和easy fm合作,他们承担了飞过去的费用。





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