News June 20, 2019

Is Tone Deaf really Australia’s biggest music publisher?

Is Tone Deaf really Australia’s biggest music publisher?
Image: The Brag Media CEO Luke Girgis

Stop the presses! Tone Deaf claims it’s now Australia’s biggest music publisher on .

In an email sent to the music industry on Tuesday, Tone Deaf‘s publisher The Brag Media says its music and memes Facebook page is now “reaching 5.43 million Australians per week”.

That’s a mighty bold claim (or an impressive achievement), so we asked founder and CEO to show TMN its receipts.

The Brag Media, according to Facebook’s “similar pages” data, suggests that Tone Deaf generated 13.6 million – yes, million – likes, comments, clicks and shares for week commencing June 11.

On face value, the number dwarfs competitors Happy Mag (3.2m), triple j (1.1m), Pedestrian (1m), Music Feeds (120k) and Music Junkee (122.7k) for the same period.

Girgis says Tone Deaf has averaged 10 million social engagements per week in the last quarter.

Australia’s biggest music publisher

The data only reflects one week though, which any publisher will tell you is too small a sample size. One major breaking story for a media outlet can result in a sizable traffic spike.

But if you have an artist to break or Big Mac’s to sell, the Tone Deaf audience are undeniably consuming their content by the millions, which puts the masthead in direct competition with Pedestrian (owned by Nine) and Junkee (owned by oOh!media).

The third headscratcher here is less obvious and way more interesting. Why are The Brag Media even concerned with Facebook? You’ve all read the headlines!

“Facebook is dead!”, “Engagement is WAY down!”, “It’s ‘pay to play’ on Facebook these days”. And my personal favourite, “Facebook and publishers are at war”.

All of the above may very well be true. But here’s the catch; brands are getting tired of impressions and waking up to other, more meaningful metrics.

“Other publishers shy away from Facebook because it’s a walled garden in terms of data, and mostly, there is a perception that Facebook is at war with publishers,” Girgis tells TNN.

“We don’t see it that way, we think Facebook is an extremely powerful content marketing tool and we are in the business of content marketing.

“It’s what sells tickets, increases artist profiles and drive sales.

“Website banners don’t, they’re mostly for awareness, which is how most other publishers commercialise their master heads.”

He’s right about that, content marketing works. Big brands like Corona, HBO and Google are employing Girgis and his digirati to help them go viral. Which ultimately funds its music journalism.

All the MREC and tower banners in the world won’t sell as many tickets to the next Jimmy Barnes tour as a well-crafted and perfectly planned content marketing campaign probably will.

“For media buyers who want to purchase display, they only care about .com audience numbers. This, however, isn’t our core business.”

Girgis adds that the success Tone Deaf is enjoying on Facebook stems from a combination of editorial, content marketing, memes and original video content.

“We have the same approach with all things we publish. WE ask ourselves, ‘Will music fans react to this? Will it drive shares, debate or conversation?

“If the answer is yes, we publish.”

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