Friday, February 05, 2010

Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = The Business Model

There's a brilliant article on Techdirt giving examples of musicians making money in the digital age. As it says,

"In simplest terms, the model can be defined as:

Connect with Fans (CwF) + Reason to Buy (RtB) = The Business Model "

Some of the stories are well known (for example Trent Reznor and NIN), but here are two less well-known ones:

"The next example is Jill Sobule, who had a hit song in 1995 with "I Kissed A Girl" (not the Katy Perry song). Since then, however, she's been dropped from two record labels and had two independent labels she was signed to go out of business. When it came time to record her latest album, she decided to get her fans to help fund it. She'd already done an excellent job connecting with her fans, regularly interacting with them on Facebook, where she would hold fun contests each day and actually chat with them and respond to questions.
She launched a website called "Jill's Next Record" that -- like Reznor and Freese -- offered up many options for how her fans could support her to fund a new album. They could pay $200 and get free access to any shows for a year. They could get their name mentioned on a "thank you" song. At $5,000, she would do a home concert at your house. She even noted you could charge for that one, and maybe even make some money. She ended up doing five or six such concerts. At $10,000 (described as the "weapons grade plutonium" level) you could sing on the album. This was meant to be a joke, but a woman in the UK purchased it, and Jill had her flown out to LA where she did, in fact, appear singing backing vocals on the album.
Her goal was to raise $75,000, and she had no idea if she'd be able to reach that number at all. Yet, she broke through that number and ended up raising over $80,000 in just 53 days. With that, she was able to go into the studio and record a full scale production, including hiring famed producer Don Was to handle production."


"So, let's look at Corey Smith. In the earlier part of this decade, Smith was a high school teacher, playing open mic nights on weekends. But then, he started focusing on building his music career. He started playing numerous live shows, and really worked hard to connect with fans. He gave away all of his music for free off of his website, and used that to drive more fans to his shows. On top of that, he offered special $5 pre-sale tickets to many shows, which has a useful side effect: his biggest fans would convince many others to go as well, building up his fan base, and getting more people to go to more shows. He tried pulling his free music off of his website as an experiment, and saw that his sales on iTunes actually dropped when he did that. In 2008, mostly thanks to live shows, Corey was able to gross nearly $4 million. While giving his music away for free. Connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy worked wonders."

1 comment:

charlie gower said...

good catch Dan, really nice to see people thinking in the new digital economy we're accidentally created...

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