Ultra Music Festival Attempting to Stay Relevant 365 Days a Year: Episode 1 of UMFTV (Avicii)

Ultra Music Festival is really pushing its branding efforts in a strategic move to stay relevant with dance music lovers all year long. By taking advantage of the huge trend that has brought dance music to the forefront and to part of mainstream American culture (Madonna appearing at an EDM festival??), the people at Ultra have put the festival at the top of people’s minds. Although the event takes places just three days out of 365 each year, Ultra is going big to make sure it remains a topic for the other 362 days. And how are they doing that? Besides announcing dates for next year’s Ultra (the 15th anniversary), releasing a feature film called “Can You Feel It” (streaming for free July 15th), and posting constant social media updates, the brand has started a webisode series that you can stream on YouTube – undoubtedly just another marketing scheme by one of the world’s biggest dance events.

JUMP down for my thoughts and to watch the video yourself.

The first episode chronicles Avicii’s first headlining spot at Ultra. While I’ve personally fallen off the Avicii train, it is pretty incredible to have witnessed his drastic rise to fame and his rise to mainstream success in general. It’s hard to imagine what things would be like for him if he had never released “Levels”, although he was riding a ton of momentum even if you take that track out of the picture. As he says in episode 1 in regards to Ultra Music Festival, “…to go from last year playing to now headlining, I don’t understand it myself”.  Although I have become relatively disinterested with Avicii, I you got to give him props and much respect for what he’s been able to accomplish – thanks in large part to his manager and mastermind of the Avicii brand, Ash Pournouri.

But I’m here more to talk about Ultra Music festival and what it’s become. Last fall, tickets to the festival sold out in mere MINUTES. Casual fans of dance music were more attracted to the festival this year more than ever, although the die-hards still made the trek to Miami. The legacy, the buzz, and the marketing efforts by Ultra all contributed to this phenomenon as did the rise of dance music in America. I think this video series is a cool idea, and a strategic marketing move to stay top of mind with consumers, but aren’t they just doing a watered-down version of Tiesto’s “In the Booth” series? “In the Booth” was enjoyable for me to watch because it showed behind the scenes footage of Tiesto’s insane life. UMFTV, episode 1, merely showed a brief interview with Avicii (something I’ve seen many times with other videos), some slow motion shots of him spinning on the main stage, plugged his music, and plugged the Ultra brand. Does Ultra REALLY need to stay in front of our eye balls at all times? It sold out so quickly last year, how can it beat that this year? Is it going to find a way to both sell more tickets AND sell those out in record time as well? Videos like these are becoming a dime a dozen (I’m referring to recap videos)…I want to see something unique, I don’t want to see a recap of Ultra 2012 for the next nine months…

Anyways, check out the video and see what you think. I’m hoping the next few episodes cover less mainstream artists and give us some insight into the smaller guys that may be doing it on a bigger level. Always happy to hear your thoughts!