I was going through some old Billboard magazines today and came across an interesting quote:
“If the consumer wants their music delivered a particular way, then the consumer has, in this age, the ability to achieve that. As an industry and company you have to be focused on what the consumer wants, not just what you want to give them. In the old world there was a limited pathway to the consumers, so therefore the consumer had less choice and less ability to decide how and what they wanted, and how to get what they wanted and what it was that they wanted. Technology has empowered the consumer to make these choices.” Roger Faxon, Chairman/CEO EMI Music Publishing
That pretty much sums up the musician’s challenge in a nutshell. How can we figure out how to leverage all the technology available to give fans what they want? How do we know what we should offer as a free download, what social networks we should use, how we should distribute our album, etc.?
By now, the fact that major labels messed up their chance to harness the power of the industry-changing technology has been driven in the ground by journalists, musicians, and fans. Their trying to come around with “innovations” like Vevo, but in the end its just a way for them to make more money. The fan experience hasn’t changed THAT much.
Independent artists, however, still have a chance to break new ground with their fans using technology. Keeping the above quote in mind, artists should focus on using technology to ADD VALUE to their fans’ experiences. They’ll get your music if they like it…it’s up to you as an artist/artist team member to encourage them to get it from you. Not by pleading “please don’t pirate my music” or spamming them with self-serving emails or tweets. Not by joining every social network as soon as it pops up. Instead, artists can form real relationships with their fans by paying attention to their preferred social networks and communicating there, or checking out how they actually consume their music (iTunes? YouTube videos? Streaming service?).
Know how your fans get their music, use that medium, and give them incentives to get the music straight from the source (exclusive access to tracks, advance ticket sales, behind-the-scenes footage…). It works out for everyone involved.
How are YOU helping your fans experience your music? This week on Go Forth Music, we’ll examine a few issues related to helping you connect with your fans. In our four-part “How Much Is Your Music Worth?” series, we’ll take a look at how and why different people value your music. Our first “Strategy Session” column explores Next Big Sound, a tool that bands can use to find out where their fans are and how to engage them. We’ll also profile a couple of artists who have connected with fans in interesting ways. Make sure to come back throughout the week for more!