More Musicians Who Get It: Give Customers What They Want

from the realization-sinking-in... dept

We've been hearing more stories lately about musicians who absolutely understand what many of us have been discussing over the past few years about how the music business is changing (not how it should change, but how it is changing). The latest is the story of The String Cheese Incident, who has built a successful business by giving people what they want. They recognized, unlike many other musicians, that they don't have a right to make money just because they make music -- but that they had to work at it to set up a business. They talked with plenty of other successful musicians and looked at the industry and quickly realized the old models were going away. They also realized that the way to succeed was to do two things: (1) give customers what they want and (2) realize the music is an input, and not the end product. So, their route to financial success included lots of touring, but also setting up a travel agency specifically designed to help fans make trips to see them and other bands. They also heavily promote their music online. They sell downloads of their concerts, but don't put any copy protection on them, realizing that: "The more people are exposed to the music, the better it is for the band."


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  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Dec 30th, 2004 @ 8:32pm

    Value Added

    And musicians add true value when they can manipulate mob psychology and convince people they really are cool, not some fringe amateur band. Then people will climb over each other to pay more for the band's music. And which is the most effective tool for accomplishing this? Could it be mass media, like TV, billboards, magazines, controlled by industries Mike doesn't like? ;)

    Just because the technology is there doesn't mean that social values have changed.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Dec 30th, 2004 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Value Added

    I mean, I was in Ginza yesterday, where there were mini-iPod showrooms all over the place, and people from all over the world were wild-eyed and eager to buy these things.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    RJD, Dec 31st, 2004 @ 6:58am

    Back to the starving Artist

    This is actually a bit bleak for the 'artist' who simply wants to make music and make a living doing it. Street musicians may be back in vogue if you're required to be a MBA graduate as well as have artistic talent.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2004 @ 8:17pm

    No Subject Given

    Ugh. All of the bands out there doing this, and Fortune focuses on the String Cheese Accident. What a crappy band. Y'know, with the exception of the travel agency, a bunch of other bands make their shows available for download. Phish was the first to do it on any sort of scale, but most "jam bands" touring right now do some sort of instant live download thing. Pearl Jam does the same thing.

     

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  5.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jan 1st, 2005 @ 10:02am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Phish was the first to do it on any sort of scale, but most "jam bands" touring right now do some sort of instant live download thing. Pearl Jam does the same thing.

    We've actually mentioned both of these before. Don't you notice that we wrote "more musicians...". No one was claiming these guys were the only ones, but what's more interesting about this one is that this particular band clearly never had the type of large scale success that Phish or Pearl Jam had. So, for everyone who said that only really big bands who had success the old fasioned way could do this, this particular band shows that's not true.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Ian, Dec 7th, 2005 @ 9:13am

    Re: No Subject Given

    You realize grateful dead has given away their music since they started touring. It was actually a huge culture in San Francisco to collect every Dead concert.

    http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001612914

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Bill, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 4:14pm

    TV, Billboards, Magazines?? Huh?

    Seriously? In this century? I don't think modern people use any of those things to find out about new music anymore. Those are so last century. The net is where it's at these days. I would guess that social networking does more to introduce new music to customers than TV, billboards, and magazines, combined. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, IM, and especially music sites like iTunes have all had a huge impact. Opinions and news about new bands, new tours, or new releases now spread at the speed of light. Ten seconds after a track is released on iTunes thousands of people from all corners of the globe can already be listening to it. Ninety seconds later, you will see tons of real listeners already voicing their opinions on how good (or bad) it is all over the net. Why would anyone in this century wait to see an ad on a billboard for new music? *shrug* Welcome to the 21st century.

     

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