Dreamforce 2018 - rocking fan engagement with Metallica

Profile picture for user slauchlan By Stuart Lauchlan September 26, 2018
How do you manage fan engagement when you're dealing with over 60 million fans?

Lars Ulrich Metallica Dreamforce
Ulrich rocks Dreamforce

Tonight at Dreamforce, Metallica will be rocking out for the third time at the conference's  DreamFest party. But there’s something different about the band’s presence this year as not only is it the entertainment, it’s also present as a flagship customer of Salesforce.

As one of the most celebrated group’s worldwide, Metallica has accumulated a global fan base over the past 37 years. As that fandom has moved online, the band now has over 60 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube.

According to Lars Ulrich, Metallica co-founder and drummer, music is about “connecting people and sharing experiences” which is “why we always have prioritized fan engagement”. Once upon a time Ulrich and his fellow band members would sit down and deal with the fan mail or the pleas for autographs themselves:

To me it was about connecting to people with the same musical appetite and connecting to something much bigger than yourself.

Noble as that sentiment might be, in practical terms you can’t be expected to sign autographs for or reply to fan mail from 60 million people, which is where Metallica’s new status as a Salesforce customer strikes the right note. According to the announcement of the deal:

Metallica is deploying Salesforce Marketing Cloud to get a single view of fans across email, mobile and social media. This will allow them to create personalized content and experiences for different types of fans, and deepen relationships with the entire Metallica family on social media.

Metallica also launched its new website on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, which provides improved merchandising tools and functionality, as well as AI-powered e-commerce. This will make it easier to shop online, with exclusive access to tickets, content and merchandise highly curated for each and every Metallica fanatic.


For his part, Ulrich argues that the music industry is another example of digital disruption driving innovation:

In the past, we would put out records and there would be kind of like a formula and it was always the same, no matter what year it was or what record it was. These days, when you put out a record, the release process becomes a creative process in itself…We always have to keep up with the trends and technology changes. In your phone now, there is streaming and social media and the practicality of buying concert tickets and experiences, it all starts with the mobile device.

The new relationship with Salesforce dates back to last year’s Dreamforce and a meeting with Adidas, another flagship customer which was heavily featured during the conference, recalls Ulrich:

Marc [Benioff] and I went down to the camp ground and we're walking around and he's very proudly showing me everything and I'm taking it all in. We ended up in the Adidas booth and II saw specifically how the fans and the loyalists of Adidas were so engaged in everything that that Adidas was offering. I had kind of a moment of clarity. I said to Marc, ‘There's gotta be a way to connect Metallica and Salesforce that would take our fan engagement to another level. And he said, ‘Absolutely, let's do it’.

That conversation led to nearly a year of conversations with Alex Dayon, Salesforce Chief Strategy Officer, as the tech firm and the heavy metal band worked to find touch points where Salesforce clouds could support Metallica’s aims. That’s been a success, says Ulrich:

We just launched our new website about a month ago, powered by Commerce Cloud and Metallica.com, which is very exciting. It's got a whole new look and a whole new interactive kind of thing happening, which is great. All our emails stuff is happening through Marketing Cloud and all our social stuff is happening through Social Studio. It's been an exciting time and we're looking forward to next spring when we launch our European tour in May and we're going to have our new app that's going to live in a mobile device.

My take

Rock on!