Social Media, YouTube, Television Key to International Success, Say Billboard Country Summit Panel
Social Media, YouTube, Television Key to International Success, Say Billboard Country Summit Panel

international (L-R): AristoMedia CEO Jeff Walker; Ted Ellis, VP, Head of Kids & Family Programming, Corus Entertainment, Board Chair, Canadian Country Music Association; Tim Holland, A&R/ Label Manager, ABC Records Australia; John Lomax III, President, Roots Music Exporters; Tom Lord, VP of Marketing, UMG Nashville; Victoria Shaw, Singer/Songwriter/Producer; and Paul Zamek, President, Paul Zamek Enterprises/ Global Consulting. (Photo: Michael Seto)

International touring is a viable part of an artist's career, be they new or someone who is well established. The key to that tour and selling product is how hard an artist is willing to work to establish themselves in new areas around the world, whether it be via social media, television or radio.

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In fact, songwriter Victoria Shaw, who was one of the panelists on the International Artists Panel during the Billboard Summit on Tuesday, said that new artists can go international easier these days because of the Internet and numerous ways to get the word out about their music.

"I would much rather go to Germany and do a few dates than travel up the road and play somewhere I've already been before," she said. "You can have a great career if you pick a country and work to build your reputation there, and once you are established there you can come back here with a following and look for a deal."

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She said the key to making it was self-promotion which artists can now do through all the social media outlets. She pointed out that technology helps get the word out about an album internationally immediately these days. "Digital retail gave us the opportunity for worldwide sales."

John Lomax III, president of Roots Music Exporters, agreed, pointing out that an artist's own YouTube channel was also a great way to get exposure for their music. He also said you only have to be a star in one country at a time; once an artist has conquered one area, they can move on to the next one.

thumbsup The panel goofs around before taking the stage. (Photo: Michael Seto)

Tim Holland, A&R/Label Manager for ABC Records in Australia, tended to agree, adding that in a country that doesn't have a major country radio force, social media is one of the major ways they have to get word out about new product.

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Holland explained how they break new albums in Australia without radio support. "We come here and film a 30 minute television special and take it back and air it a few months prior to the record's release," he explained. In the case of Lionel Richie, they did a one-hour special which had a major impact on sales of the singer's chart-topping Tuskegee album there.

Ted Ellis, vice president and head of Kids & Family Programming, Corus Entertainment and board chairman of the Canadian Country Music Association, pointed out that they have done all kinds of crazy collaborations to promote product, and they are very open to new ideas for promotions with artists.