Case Study: How Shpongle Went From Yelling At Fans To Embracing Fans

from the a-case-study dept

Over the last month or so, things have been quite busy at Techdirt, and we haven't had time to add to our case studies section, even though we have a few more lined up. However, Bas Grasmayer, sent over the following case study (also posted on his blog), which is a part of his thesis (which we've mentioned before). The case study is about Shpongle, a much respected group of musicians in a very specific niche, psychedelic chill-out, but it has attracted many fans of other genres too and is generally categorized as 'electronica'.

A while before they released their latest album 'Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland,' it leaked onto filesharing networks and fans of Shpongle started discussing the new album on the internet forum of Shpongle’s record label, Twisted Music. Obviously, Simon Posford, the main person behind Shpongle and owner of the Twisted Music label, was very unhappy about this and lashed out:

"So some fucker has released the album on the internet already.... thanks a lot, whoever it was... Maybe twisted will still recoup, maybe not... all i know is that we are teetering on bankruptcy, and are seeking deals elsewhere.... the 12 loyal fans on this forum are not enough to sustain a record label.... How much do you think Twisted has in the bank account? Have a guess? More than $10,000 ? More than $20,000 ? Well it is actually less than $1,000..... Raj and i haven't even been paid our advance for this album.... All the artists on twisted are seeking deals with other labels now... We can't pay a label manager, and we can't pay the artists.... always putting our hope in 'just ONE more release'.... "We'll be ok if the DVD sells"...."Surely the Shpongle CD will sell, right?"

[...]

This sucks, for Twisted, for myself and Raj who have spent 3 years working on the album.... Just as i started looking around and posting on this forum again, i remembered why i shouldn't bother.... I'm outta here... Soon to be followed by Younger Brother [another project by Simon Posford] and probably Twisted...

Enjoy."

He got understandably emotional, but misdirected his anger towards perhaps the most dedicated fans: those who really cannot wait until the release and decided to preview it. After all, Shpongle hadn't released an album in four years and their following is quite fanatical about their music. Later in the same forum topic, he adds some more thoughts, which are also relevant to this case study:

"It's all very well to speculate, but i can tell you as a fact, we made more money before file sharing... we could survive... now not so.... and i think you will find it the same all over the music business... the argument that "file sharing is promotion" is probably valid.... in fact, i agree...in a way it serves a similar purpose to radio.... but the argument that "file sharing is promotion and therefore you will sell more CDs" is clearly absolute bollocks, otherwise the music industry would be booming right now!

[...]

Also i'm sorry that "And if it weren't for the internet, I would have given up on music entirely".... for me, the internet makes me want to give up music wink But i guess i'm from a different generation.... I started making some of the trance that probably fills your 100Gigs hard drive before i'd even heard of the internet... and i didn't need the internet to find a deep love of music... the rush of buying a new vinyl, of collecting every release/picture disc by my favourite artists…. discovering new music i liked, all underground, no radio-plugged mix CDs or whatever... ALL without the internet!"

Later on in the topic, which currently carries over 600 replies, fans started to suggest ideas to Simon. They encouraged each other to buy more merchandise, to replace old t-shirts or hoodies, to buy an extra album to give to a friend and they came up with ideas to help out Simon Posford, Shpongle, and Twisted Music.

And it seems Simon has also learned from the fact that you indeed will not sell more CDs even when filesharing is good promotion, as he noted. Being a fan myself, I was very delighted to receive a newsletter, one year after the leak, which featured some interesting new business models and experiments. It does a few things very well and I'll highlight this bit by bit. The opening paragraph is as follows:

"Dear Twisted fans,

The new Prometheus album has been doing very well on Beatport with 4 of his tracks reaching the Top10 of the electronica charts. If you haven't got your copy yet then Benji and Twisted would be happy if you could get onto Beatport and purchase at least the electronica tracks. We'd love to see him get to Number 1!

Ott is beginning his 6 date tour of the USA starting tonight! You can see and buy tickets to all his tour dates at the bottom of this newsletter. You can also join his Facebook Fan Page here.

We've also got two new tracks of Younger Brother and Shpongle available as a free download, keep reading to find out how to get hold of them."

What a dramatic change of tone, compared to the rants on the forum. This is how you connect with fans! First of all, it acknowledges fan support in terms of chart positions and makes a polite request (as opposed to lashing out or guilt-tripping fans, like on the forum). Also, it tries to unite the fans and give them a purpose; a mission. People love accomplishments, individually or in groups, if only for the little dopamine rewards our brains release.

They then give the fans more information and ways to connect with one of the labels artist's and finally reward fans with free music. That's a great way to open a newsletter.

As for the free tracks, the newsletter featured two images with links to the place to download the song. Once on the page, the page showed a download button, which when clicked, becomes a box in which people must enter their email address (as seen on the left). So actually, they can see which email addresses support which artists, but also, when people choose to use one of the share buttons, they help Twisted Music get more email addresses than just the ones they already had for the newsletter.

Younger Brother's page was a little more complex (see screenshot on the right), with more information, but basically boils down to the same thing.

The newsletter then continues with another exciting way of dealing with the reality created by the internet, which is crowd-funding:

"Many of you have already pledged on the Younger Brother album 'Vaccine'. We're working with pledge to raise money and to set up the best possible foundation to promote and release the record next year.

We're calling on the loyal and faithful to help. In exchange we're offering loads of interesting things from studio time with the band to limited artwork and access to rehearsals."

Again, a great way to involve fans and to offer them something exciting. It basically offers them a reason to do it for themselves, instead of telling them to please buy a CD because the label needs it (see forum post). Some of the 'items' on the list for people that pledge: signed CD (£15), new album and entire back catalogue (£25), coming to one of their rehearsals (£40), studio workshop (£300), being in one of their videos (£150), a unique personal remix of your favourite track of the album (£600), and much more.

The newsletter closes with more standard stuff, such as tour dates and the like.

RECAP

The strategy here is simple, yet complex. First of all, the label releases some very unique, high-quality music, which has given them a fanatical and evangelical following (Seth Godin would call this a tribe). Secondly, this following, together with the label, has turned into an ecosystem; when things were not going well, the ecosystem started figuring out ways in which it could survive as a whole. Thirdly, Simon Posford started paying close attention to his tribe and started catering directly to their needs. When reduced to a communication and business strategy, it becomes the formula of CwF (Connecting with Fans) and giving fans a RtB (Reason to Buy).

Giving away free songs is a good example of connecting with fans by rewarding them. The clearest reasons to buy in this mailing are the mission to get one of the label's artists to number 1, as well as all the rewards for pledging money for the new album.

It is important to note that this should not be done to generate profit, but should genuinely be done to please the fans and to give them what they want. I thoroughly believe that if you betray your fans' trust, you will lose them and your (potential) income.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Darryl, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 5:46pm

    They are not his 'fans'..

    but misdirected his anger towards perhaps the most dedicated fans: those who really cannot wait until the release and decided to preview it.

    Here is a guy trying to make some money, trying to make his content available to as many as possible, WHILE STILL BEING ABLE TO SURVIVE..

    And what are you saying,, its not the illegal file sharers fault, they were just too keen and wanted something before it was available.

    Yes, they will 'preview' his alburn, but they will not go out a buy a legal version, they wont, they allready have it.

    They did not illegally download it because they are his fans, fans do not steal off the person they idealize.

    They illegally downloaded it because they could, (illegally) and they are happy to screw the creator of the content.

    Here is a guy, laying it on the line, actually how it is, and the problems people like him have to deal with just so they can do what they love to do, and mabey even make a living out of it..

    And here you are, appoligising for the criminals, why do you think it matter, if it was 4 years since his last release, if they waited 4 years, why not wail another few weeks and buy a legal version..

    This guy will not produce another alburm, it was lucky he produced that one..

    But after being screwed by the criminals, who think if they CAN steal something, they have a right to do it..

    So this guy will giveup trying to create content, so if they were really his fans they would reasize this and worry that their criminal activities has taken yet another creator of content away from EVERYONE..

    including his "so called" fans, that you talk about..

    With 'fans' like that, who needs enemies...

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 6:03pm

    /"yeah but labels are all greedy rich corporate types that rip off musicians" /sarc

    I'm actually surprised Masnick posted this article, because it gives some actual factual insight into what musicians and labels are going through.

    While the whole thing still reeks of pirates holding the artist and his living wage hostage, these people are at least lucky because their fans have some semblance of a conscience about what they do/did. Unfortunately most pirates just rip away, and spend their money on a burger or beer.

    Maybe Masnick should interview Simon and ask him if his views on piracy have changed.

    I won't hold my breath.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    Except noting was ever actually stolen, the "pirates" manufactured their own copies of the album using that wonderous assembly line known as the internet.

     

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  4.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Dec 15th, 2010 @ 6:37pm

    Re:

    Did you read the whole story before posting? Sounds like Shpongle is coming around to the idea that their infinite goods aren't the basis for a business model.

    Pity that they likely alienated some of their truefans in the process, but better late than never.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 7:29pm

    Re:

    Wanna know why their fans have a "semblance of a conscience"?

    Connection, it is not about the product(i.e. the plastic disc, apparel, music), it is about connection, about feelings.

    Respect your fans and they will love you and support you, don't and they will not care about what happens to you.

    It is not piracy destroying anything, just ask the top 100 artists if they are making less than their counterparts of 10, 20, 30 years ago.

    Numbers don't lie, artists are making more money today than they ever did before, recording companies on the other hand are falling like flies from the sky. No fluffy rose clouds for them.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 7:54pm

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    "But after being screwed by the criminals, who think if they CAN steal something, they have a right to do it.."

    Those criminals you speak of, do not think they can "steal" it, they know they can. That is not some imaginary concept, it has been going on for over 40 years now, do you need another 40 to see that it won't go away?

    Besides people have been stealing since forever listening to radio and watching TV for witch most don't pay a dime to get it into their homes. True fans would have send a check to every person who ever talked or showed up in a radio or TV show right?

    "Here is a guy trying to make some money, trying to make his content available to as many as possible, WHILE STILL BEING ABLE TO SURVIVE.."

    Who cares I don't, I wouldn't buy anything from anyone who thinks listening to music is stealing.

    Although they seem to realize what "connection" really means.

    "Yes, they will 'preview' his alburn(GC: album), but they will not go out a buy a legal version, they wont, they allready(GC: already) have it."

    As an engineer you are familiar with the concept of vectors right?

    The music is the vector that leads to other sales of other goods. Instead of selling just a plastic disc with music in it, why don't sell other goods too.

    "They did not illegally download it because they are his fans, fans do not steal off the person they idealize."

    If people didn't care why should they download anything?
    If those people didn't care you think they would have bought anything if they didn't like it?

    The only people wanting that crap is people who like that and are potential buyers of their merchs.

    "Here is a guy, laying it on the line, actually how it is, and the problems people like him have to deal with just so they can do what they love to do, and mabey(GC: maybe) even make a living out of it.."

    How it was, not how it is. You think people buy discman's today?


    * GC = Grammar Correction(powered by Firefox Auto-Correction). Thinking about it I could have used FAC as an acronyms :)

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:22pm

    Re:

    reeks of pirates holding the artist and his living wage hostage

    So now they're actual pirates? Cool!

     

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    Mr. Oizo, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 8:54pm

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    I don't know whether you actually 'know' the group and their entourage. But they do have quite a fanatic following. In any case, even one of the artists at the label (younger brother) complains about the fact that he would never get any money from the standard business labels: http://ouim.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=100082&sid=baec584151f144db69f8a26bdff175a3 on the question 'And you'll get paid to travel the world and play festivals...'

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Re:

    Feel free to prove that "artists are making more money today than they ever did before".

    I asked someone to do that in another thread and the silence was deafening.

     

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  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 1:11am

    In reality, there seems to be an issue with the business tactic from the get-go, of course. "released the album on the internet already" suggests that the album was already completed and mastered, but being artificially held back to honour an artificially set release date. This has far less capital in a digital world than with physical media. Hype before release is necessary to shift the X number of CDs you've already pressed, not so much if a single file is able to be replicated infinitely at any time.

    It also causes some actual fans who buy the CD anyway to be impatient and search the album out elsewhere. They may still pay for the CD, but as a fan there's nothing worse than "the album you want is finished, but you have to wait 6 months for us to work out how to market it". It's childish, maybe, to "pirate" it instead, but it's a natural reaction from the very people you want to buy your product.

    "But i guess i'm from a different generation"

    Apparently so, though it's a shame. According to Wikipedia, Posford is only 4 years older than me but he's apparently forgotten the frustration and limitations of music discovery before the internet, especially in more underground genres. I'd not give up the internet for the world on this front, yet his comments are more like "in my day we didn't have those newfangled gadgets and we liked it, dammit!" - a shame for someone who depends on digital technology to make their music in the first place.

    I hope he's seen the way forward here, but it's a shame that even a person who's spent his life working in a niche market can't recognise when things are changing and adapt. He now has access to millions more people than tape trading, mix tapes, pirate radio and other oldschool "piracy" techniques my generation used to use would have given him access to. He just needs to capitalise on it, and hopefully this is a strong step forward.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 1:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    In 1987 Michael Jackson made the most expensive tour the world have ever seen and he grossed 250 million dollars

    Since then 17 other live shows have surpassed that in 2000-2010.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_concert_tours

    You were saying?

    Want a chart?

    How about you get all the bands from 2010 and compare them with 2000, 1990 and 1980?

    Do that and see for yourself punk.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 2:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Feel free to prove that "artists are making more money today than they ever did before".

    I asked someone to do that in another thread and the silence was deafening.


    Weird. Actually, you asked and there was not defeaning silence at all. Instead, multiple people pointed you to studies showing it was true. In response, rather than responding to the studies that were pointed out, you falsely claimed that the only study covered Norwegian artists. That was not true. The link that was given to you pointed to studies done of the US, the UK and the Swedish music industry (and the Norwegian music industries).

    Your response was that you wouldn't accept studies done by "pirate sites." Except none of the four studies mentioned above were done by pirate sites. The UK and Swedish ones were done by music industry insiders. The US one was done by Harvard economists.

    You can see the full thread right here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101212/23363612247/journalists-continue-to-rely-bogus-research-ab out-file-sharing-as-if-it-were-factual.shtml?threaded=true#c346

    The only "defeaning silence" I see is after I showed that you were lying.

    As you're doing again today by claiming -- falsely -- that there was deafening silence. I'm constantly amazed at your ability to live in denial.

     

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  13.  
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    The eejit (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 4:16am

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    But he hasn't, and his lkabel's doing reasonably well, all things considered.

    2/10.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 4:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The Swedish and UK studies only showed that as a "gross" number, artists were taking in more money. But it is rather misleading, because the artists before were receiving "net" money through labels, management, etc.

    Now the artists themselves get the money, and turn around and pay for all sorts of things they were not paying for before. Now they have to pay management, they have to pay tour expenses, they have to pay their recording costs, distribution, marketing people, press people, and all those other things that use to be someone else's issue to pay.

    The question isn't in the gross, the question is in the net, and that number is just not being reported anywhere. However, it is clear: if the pie is smaller, there is little reason to think that the artist is suddenly taking home a huge increase in net money.

     

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  15.  
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    martyburns (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 4:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Zing!

     

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  16.  
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    Bas Grasmayer (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 4:49am

    A comment from the author :-)

    Thanks for publishing, Mike! :)

    So many comments to reply to... Let's go from top to bottom.


    @ Darryl: You are making a lot of poor assumptions. My reason for saying it's misdirected is because you're not going to have a good relationship from people you shout at. I thoroughly believe that this good relationship is what's monetizable now (and very effectively so).

    Simon didn't actually blame the filesharers/fans; there was 1 leaker, most likely a journalist, and Simon blamed himself for risking a leak by sending pre-releases.

    As for "They did not illegally download it because they are his fans, fans do not steal off the person they idealize.

    They illegally downloaded it because they could, (illegally) and they are happy to screw the creator of the content."

    Go open the forum topic. You are so wrong. People were quite upset with Simon's response and felt very empathetic. Many indicated that they had pre-ordered the album, but really wanted to check it out. Yes, of course there are also pirates who dont care, but they're not part of the ecosystem anyway (an artist's goal should be to drag them into it).

    "This guy will not produce another alburm, it was lucky he produced that one.."

    You're quite wrong. They've anounced another album. Again with these poor assumptions.

    I doubt you actually read the whole post. You just want to read the part that feeds your hate.


    @ Anonymous #1: his views on piracy don't matter. Anyway, read the forum topic that's linked. He understands piracy, though he's not a pirate himself.

    Why I say his views on piracy don't matter; is because piracy is going to be a reality of the internet and the future, no matter what (and I think piracy is a poor label, but w/e). What matters is what you do with it and I think Simon is going about it quite well.

    My personal goal is to explore and develop 'piracy-neutral' strategies for content, so that we can finally move on, already. It's nearly 2011.


    @ Anonymous Coward #2 (7:29pm): well, but it's not about the top 100. Smaller artists definitely struggle, as they have always. The goal of this case-study was to show that even smaller niche-artists can find ways of dealing with the digital age, perhaps even better than the top 100 artists (they can adapt to new realities faster).


    @ Mr. Oizo: Thanks for that link. Interesting! :)


    @ PaulT: re " but as a fan there's nothing worse than "the album you want is finished, but you have to wait 6 months for us to work out how to market it"

    I think in this case it was a matter of days, or maybe 2 weeks or so, but I get what you're saying.


    @ Anonymous Coward 4:36am: "Now they have to pay management, they have to pay tour expenses, they have to pay their recording costs, distribution, marketing people, press people, and all those other things that use to be someone else's issue to pay."

    IF you were lucky enough to get a contract, that is. Anyway, not having to deal with such contracts also gives a lot more freedom and with freedom comes responsibility.

    Compare it to a random office worker versus an entrepreneur.


    @ all above + others: Thanks for commenting! :-)

     

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  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 6:53am

    Re: A comment from the author :-)

    "I think in this case it was a matter of days, or maybe 2 weeks or so, but I get what you're saying. "

    Thanks for replying, and for some insightful writing :)

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    Did you read the whole article? Seems you didn't reach the happy ending :)

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Quit trying to worm out of it, Masnick.

    Post the proof that US musicians, adjusted for inflation, are netting more money than ever before.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Define US musicians. Do they only include the big names? Do music teachers count?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Re: A comment from the author :-)

    "@ Anonymous Coward 4:36am: "Now they have to pay management, they have to pay tour expenses, they have to pay their recording costs, distribution, marketing people, press people, and all those other things that use to be someone else's issue to pay."

    IF you were lucky enough to get a contract, that is. Anyway, not having to deal with such contracts also gives a lot more freedom and with freedom comes responsibility. "

    thanks for the answer.

    In fact, all of your answers make it clear: this isn't some magic road to riches, it is a business like any other, with a ton more responsibilities than label artists might have to face. Running your own business, while also trying to be a creative artist is surely a challenge.

    I have to ask the obvious question: Do you have a day job? Are you making it 100% as an artist, or is this a hobby? (or if you are not the artist directly, replace "you" with "they").

    thanks :)

     

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  22.  
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    Transbot9, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, the artists do pay for it - what the studio pays for is technically loan to the musicians.

     

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  23.  
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    Transbot9, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 9:25am

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

    Bah...I'm a little spacey today. Loaned not loan.

    It's not unusual for a successful indie group to keep a higher percentage of the profits than with a recording studio, and nor is it a new thing. Back in the days of MC Hammer, he turned down his first recording contract because he was making more money selling recordings out of his car than what he would have through industry channels.

     

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    Eamon (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 9:35am

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    Wow, I think you really need to read this post again. It clearly went waaaaaay over your head!!!!

     

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    bdhoro (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 9:53am

    Ahh electronica music

    I love the genre of music and am probably one of the few avid readers of this site who knows the band and their fanbase pretty well. The fact is these artists and many similar bands who they collaborate with have been struggling with the whole CWF RtB for a while.

    The best thing they've had going for them is really amazing live performances, lots of tour dates around the country, and fans who are really obsessively dedicated to their music.

    They are borderline in the genre of electronic jam bands, and they often record every live performance, and each show is very unique because they improvise a lot. This makes it desirable for their fans to purchase/download every one of their performances. Its a great model that generates a whole lot of interest for their concerts when they come around.

     

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  26.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Quit trying to worm out of it, Masnick.


    I love it. We post four studies proving you wrong, and your entire response is the above.

    Your level of denial has reached new levels of stupendousness.

    It seems clear that you will simply ignore the proof we presented, lie and claim no one presented you proof and continue to live in denial.

     

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  27.  
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    RandomGuy (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Ahh electronica music

    You're not the only Techdirter with a taste for Shpongle, and psybient in general. In fact I'm heading to a music festival in just over a month where they're headlining, and I'm glad that they're getting a slice of my ticket price.

    The internet is the perfect distribution for niche genres like psybient. Music shops are predisposed to fill the shelf space with the Miley Cirii of the world, however the internet can be as long tail as it likes.

    Glad to see Simon saw the light, hopefully this bodes well for Shpongle and Twisted's future.

     

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  28.  
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    Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    "Yes, they will 'preview' his alburn, but they will not go out a buy a legal version, they wont, they allready have it.

    They did not illegally download it because they are his fans, fans do not steal off the person they idealize.

    They illegally downloaded it because they could, (illegally) and they are happy to screw the creator of the content."

    And therein lies one of the most fundamental errors of fact of the position you represent: the assumption that nobody will buy something they've already downloaded. If that were true, I would own a grand total of 0 albums, rather than the hundreds I have in my CD cabinet. And I'm not alone; not even close. Of course, as I'm known for being a music evangelist that obsessively promotes what I like, this goes far beyond me, and you can also attribute the albums I've incited other people to buy to "illegal downloading", as well.

    Fans are fans whether they download or not, and they will support those they love and (very importantly) respect either way. The new reality is that downloading is the gateway drug to buying, and to becoming fans. Attacking downloaders will only end up causing you to lose actual sales in the end, as being abused is how people stop being fans. If that's how you conduct your business, you have nobody to blame but yourself for your own financial failure.

    But hey, don't let reality get in the way of your vitriolic rants.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

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

    Translation: you don't have the proof.

    It's not in the one link you posted that referenced the US, the Harvard study, so where is it?

     

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  30.  
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    Yair Yona, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    He's right, being furious

    However, in the internet days - think before you click. the emotional response is understandable of course but the label should know better how to treat their fans, especially a group like Shpongle who has a cult following anyway.

    I don't support stealing, and I admit I don't like having my album out there on file sharing, but I can accept it and it works for me as an unknown musician. that's why I treat my debut album as an introduction of myself to the crowd, and hopefully I'd get more purchases in the next albums (the LP version of my album is almost sold out by now, and it was bought by people who I know for fact that d/l the album when I offered it for free on Bandcamp, before I had a US contract) - so true fans are out there, and by constantly collecting emails, I get in touch with fans on a monthly basis.

    I know offer my fans to d/l for free (or donate as much as they want) some live recordings I uploaded to my bandcamp page, and most people pay for it. 5$, 10$ - they are buying. it's not masses, but it only takes one fan of my music who knows a festival promoter who's seeking for an artist like me, or a music reporter or whatever - to make my business evolve gradually.

    The problem with Shpongel is that they have one foot in the old world while still operating in the new world, and their perception is partly influenced by their past in the 90's, that's why the mixed feelings.

    So it's really up to the status of the artist eventually and what serves his music well. In their case, I'd offer a vinyl editions of remixes and new material, and of course they can be ripped and shared as well, but again - if it's limited edition and if it's a sexy product - people will buy it. People are getting free content everywhere, including music and movies, but the true fans are out there and they are ready to pull their wallet if they get something exclusive.

    Sorry for the long comment, I just surprised myself.
    Yair

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    Re: They are not his 'fans'..

    FFS, do you ever read the whole article? Are you even capable of making any sense? I always end up feeling dumber (and I'm not just saying that to be insulting) after reading your comments. If all you're gonna do is troll at least get good at it.

    1/10

     

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  32.  
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    Bas Grasmayer (profile), Dec 16th, 2010 @ 2:46pm

    LOL @ flamewar with the Anonymous troll. Ignore him. If he doesn't bother to read, he doesn't deserve to be written to ;-)

    @ Anonymous Coward @ 8:56am: Well, I'm still writing my thesis and although I have an artistic side, I don't have the ambition to make a living with that. Disrupting old models is so much more fun ;-)

    However, since I'm in a type of business school, this case-study is part of a thesis which serves as a kind of consultancy research report for an actual label/artist. That (small) label is actually making quite a decent living off of music already, even without applying the stuff I'm going to be recommending. In case you meant Shpongle/Twisted, yeah they're also making a living off of music. (obviously, I'm a bit confused who you're referring to with 'they')


    @ Yair: I've seen a lot of debates about copyrights and the 'one foot in both worlds'-sydrome is something I see a lot. It's this hesitation to accept the full reality of the internet; they like and acknowledge the good sides, they acknowledge the bad sides, but sometimes think that it's somehow reversible (without severely impacting the good sides). It's like they believe they have to have some opinion about copyrights, but they don't really want to, because it's quite difficult. They're caught in the middle.

     

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  33.  
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    mark Ryder, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 6:32pm

    what a load of rubbish from another bofin with no idea

    words words words these sorts of thing must really make you think your clever but actually you have no idea what your talking about you are just trying to make facts from some information that has no soul and the soul is the artist creating the music and his reasons for doing it and weather he actually wants to buy into your stupid idea of how he must now sell his soul to the public to stay alive i will try not to call you loads of names like DUNB F(*k but thats how i perceve your arrogant perception of how things must be.. please you have no idea what being an artist is all you have done here is try and make yourself sound clever by joining dots the way to think it should be and saying OED to yourself at the end ! you need to find something that you have a talent for and then see if you want others to direct you on how you should be creative in YOUR talent being an artist is about being different and not becoming a corporate comitty which is what you have discribed and yes this might be a way to survive but you end up kissing arse all the time to make a buck and i would rather trash my suporters who try to tell me what they want from me because im the artist and they can buy or not buy but the art is mine and i wont compromise it for some wanna be music makers that hold the payment to my food.. I would rather starve until i can find those that want my music just because its the music they want to support and not because they can own me and what i want to do for them next! http://www.markryder.com true to the scene since 1988 and still doing ok thanks!

     

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  34.  
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    Mr. Oizo, Dec 16th, 2010 @ 11:11pm

    Re: what a load of rubbish from another bofin with no idea

    Allthough your writing is difficulut to follow, I mainly agree. Some people are good at making music, not so much in making money out of it, or dealing with the business side. As soon as this CwF /RtB becomes mainstream, artists will find themselves in exactly the same spot: unable to do it themselves, they will be fucked by middlemanagement that will tell them how to pimp themselves out. If they don't undress they don't get the money. The art became a secondary aspect.

     

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  35.  
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    Bas Grasmayer (profile), Dec 17th, 2010 @ 9:44am

    @ Mark Ryder: I'm not telling anyone how to make their music or how to apply their creativity. I focus on what I'm good at, and that's business.

    The fact is, content creators have LOST CONTROL of their content. You can accept that and go from there, or you can call people "dumb fucks" for pointing at successful business practices.

    And please refrain from making assumptions about me, like having no idea what being an artist is, while you don't even know me. I definitely agree with not compromising your art for what some people want. Art has to come from yourself. In the very first place must be that you're creating something unique and genuine, that separates itself (in some way) from all the other art. I'm not telling anyone how to do that; that's up to the creators themselves and that has always been more important than the business model.

     

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  36.  
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    Matt BooM!, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Shpongle

    Since we are discussing business models here, I have to express some sympathy with Simon and understand his "lashing out". When you starta business you mostly aim to expand. I ran a psy label during the birth of widespread internet, and while we had moderate success at the start, selling many thousand cds of each release, after 10 yrs & 20 releases we were having trouble shifting a few hundred worldwide. Yet a visit to a random filesharing site would show over 100,000 downloads of the same cd... Of course its a bitter pill to swallow! The answer is of course a new strategy, but still it hurts! djing at a party a kid proudly showed me that he had all my cds (burned). Lack of respect or sincere compliment? You choose xD I'm a locksmith now, my other hobby :)

     

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  37.  
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    sam, Jul 14th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    eat me

    guy works for 3 years on an album, doesn't make money, you write a ten page paper on how you didn't like the tone of his comments... Big middle finger to you and this website

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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