Music marketers target female shoppers at home

Mon Jan 5, 2009 10:56pm EST
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By Ed Christman

NEW YORK (Billboard) - With CD sales dropping fast, the music business is exploring nontraditional ways to expose consumers to recording artists. Among the new sales and marketing vehicles are Tara Leigh Music Party and musicShop.

Both launched in November to target female music buyers. Tara Leigh is part of House Party, an Irvington, New York, company that stages Tupperware party-like events that consumer brands sponsor at private homes. MusicShop, run by Sherman Oaks, California, music branding company Musica, is a featured section of, the comparison-shopping engine.

Through Tara Leigh, former EMI marketing executive Josh Zieman organized 2,500 listening parties at homes throughout the United States. The gatherings attracted a total of 42,000 people, 88 percent of them female.

Tara Leigh grew out of Zieman's experience at EMI. He was vice president of marketing at the Manhattan label group before heading up business development operations at a Toronto-based digital media company in 2007.

"We were trying to reach adults and market music to them," he recalled. "We looked at the direct-sales market, which is a multibillion-dollar business, and wondered if you could sell music in that model."

House Party provides one such way to reach women in their living rooms. To launch Tara Leigh, Zieman printed 35,000 catalogs featuring 100 titles from 15 record labels, including albums by such names as Harry Connick Jr., Faith Hill, Enya and Tina Turner. He also compiled a 15-track sampler CD for party attendees and created a Web site.

"The host plays the sampler at the party and talks about the releases and encourages guests to check out the catalog and order product," Zieman explained. While 13,000-plus attendees asked for more information, Ziemen conceded that the first round of parties produced "minimal sales."

HOLIDAY PLANS   Continued...