Even If You're On A Major Label, Connecting With Fans Is Important

from the the-industry-has-changed dept

There's no reason why bands who are signed to a major label can't take many of the lessons and business models we've talked about here and make good use of them as well. In the past, for example, we've been impressed by what the band Chester French has done, where it had celebrated a fan who was burning copies of their music and giving it out to people (and had created a video showing others how to do it too). In fact, we came close to having Chester French be a part of our Techdirt Music Club, but there were some logistical issues that were too tricky to work out in the time available. The NY Times now has an article on what the band has been doing to connect with fans as well, and it shows a band that is doing everything it can to better connect with fans in any way possible. They're using all sorts of online tools, and the two band members actively communicate with all sorts of fans. They also know that "free" is a part of the business model:
"We gave away an album for free," Wallach said, "and that was the single largest driver of new fans that we've done." They honestly believe giving away copies of their CDs gets them heard by others who'll go out and buy a copy.
But here's the thing that's not mentioned in the article. Chester French is signed to a major record label. In this case, Interscope, a subsidiary of Universal Music which has started going down a smarter path lately -- and that's definitely seen here. For some reason, people seem to think that we "hate" the major record labels, but that's not true at all. We just wish they'd stop fighting fans and making life worse for musicians. That's why it's great to see a major label like Universal supporting Chester French, and allowing them to do stuff like giving away free music and cheering on fans who burn copies of their CD.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    The Anti Mike (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    A correction and comments:

    "a subsidiary of Universal Music which has started going down a smarter path lately "

    Should be "started doing down a path that I, Mike Masnick, think is smarter"

    Comments: Mostly that while they are giving some music away, they are also aggressively marketing the music for sale. They are not following the Masnick theory of give the music away and make it up in Ticket sales (or miniputt games, I guess) but rather to promote their product. It also isn't clear to me that the music they are giving away is exactly the same music that is being pushed through the record label (no way to tell from the article). They are giving away "an album for free" but not "our album for free" so it makes me wonder if there is a difference.

    The potential here is they are using a "free sample" to sell the meal, which wouldn't really be a new way to do things, music sampler discs are a pretty old concept.

     

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      BullJustin (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 10:25am

      Re:

      Wonder no more! The last paragraph of the article says that the author was given promo copies of the album "Love the Future", which is their current album.

       

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    whatisjazz, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    A quick look at the Chester French website shows that they are not giving away their Interscope album, they are giving away a "mixtape". So, since they are using Salesforce to mine data on their fans, it's pretty simple to conclude that the band knew this new member of their V.I.P. Concierge Service was a journalist and so, of course, he would receive promo copies of the Interscope album.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 11:49am

      Re:

      Ding! Looks like they are using a very old technique, not something new and "FREE!" to get the job done.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 11:57am

        Re: Re:

        Did anyone say that the concept of free was new? Did anyone say that one must give everything away for free? This is the same exact thing we've been talking about here for the longest time, it's just that the free sample here is a little more old school.

        (between the random arguments and spelling free in all caps, I think it's Weird Harold)

         

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          whatisjazz, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think the main point is that Masnick's article is a bit selective in its information and, therefore, a bit misleading as to what this band is doing. The article, at first read, makes is sound like Chester French is giving away their Interscope album and encouraging the fans to freely copy it. But this is obviously not the case. By the way, despite Masnick's claim to the contrary, the NY Times article does mention that the band is signed to Interscope.

           

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 11:50am

    (oh yeah, as a side note, Mike was so kind as to disable my posting account as "The Anti Mike". A little sensitive, are we?)

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 12:12pm

      Re:

      (oh yeah, as a side note, Mike was so kind as to disable my posting account as "The Anti Mike". A little sensitive, are we?)

      I did no such thing. I'll check with our staff, but I most certainly did not disable your account.

       

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        Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re:

        It looks like someone here disabled your account because your email address looked like a typical spam account address. We get a fair number of spammers, and your email address was typical of a porn spammer. Still, this was a mistake, and the account has been re-enabled, and the folks reviewing these things have been reminded only to block based on actual actions, not because someone *looks* like they might be a spammer.

         

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          Ryan, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          lol, this is the best backhanded compliment/apology I have ever read. That's awesome...

           

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          whatisjazz, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 12:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Your class overwhelms me.

           

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          Hephaestus (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          hey ... Mike .... this isnt apple, you arent allowed to ban stuff nad people because you flipped a coin, the planets came into some weird alignment, your magic 8 ball told you to, or tea leaves said dark thing will occur ...

          ... GRIN

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 1:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's the old "walks like a duck" thing.

          Thank your "staff" for being so diligent.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 1:07pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I suppose you can't come up with a competent argument against Mike so this is the best you can do.

             

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              Why Have a Name, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 1:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not at all, Mike has said that "someone here" disabled the account. I thank his staff for being so diligent. I made the comments here because this is a place the name was used, nothing more of less.

               

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                Michael Ho (profile), Aug 6th, 2009 @ 6:42pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I'll admit to being the person who disabled the "anti-Mike" account. As you can imagine, there are a lot of comment spammers out there... and I sometimes get a bit overzealous about weeding out the possible spammers. But if you sign up with a "suspicious-looking" email address that has the word "porn" in it -- are you really expecting to be accepted with open arms? Seriously?

                (Sorry for feeding the trolls, but Mike Masnick made me sound all mysterious by not naming me... and I didn't want to leave it sounding like he was making up someone as an excuse.)

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 6:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Nope, I only expect to get blown out right after the very first spam. The first post wasn't spam, it was a very normal post for this place. I figured someone might look before leaping.

                  Hey, no harm, no foul, just a little odd. Next time I will use an email that has "ilikemike" in it, would that be better?

                   

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      Instead of jumping to conclusions prematurely why not give Mike the benefit of the doubt initially. Why should anyone ever give the integrity and goodwill of anything you say the benefit of the doubt when you won't even give anyone who disagrees with you the benefit of the doubt despite having a complete lack of evidence to support your accusations.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      "(oh yeah, as a side note, Mike was so kind as to disable my posting account as "The Anti Mike". A little sensitive, are we?)"

      people who don't want to add to the discussion but instead want to resort to premature accusations, personal attacks, and temper tantrums against anyone that disagrees with them should have their posts deleted. They can go somewhere else. Why should anyone take your opinion seriously when you can't even participate in a civil debate/discussion.

       

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    whatisjazz, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 11:53am

    And the music that Chester French are "celebrating" that fan for burning copies of is, again, not their Interscope album, but rather the mixtape that they are giving away for free anyway.

     

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    ijakings, Aug 6th, 2009 @ 11:56am

    Little Boots

    Another good example of this is the artist Little Boots, she has been connecting with her fans the way she used to, with her youtube covers which she records herself and then uploads.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/littlebootsvideos is the url to her youtube channel.

    She also has released a minimix of her latest album for free and gives fans extra reasons to buy her singles and albums on her website (limited edition stuff, tshirts, bundles, etc)

    Its not exactly give everything away for free and use some as of yet unnamed business model for earning money, but she gives people a good reason to buy. And her videos used to connect with prospective fans are aways there, and she will keep doing them.

     

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