Share/E-mail This Story

Email This



The Dear Hunter: Recognizing The Importance Of Adding Value, Connecting With Fans

from the nicely-done dept

Joe Fleming points us to a clip of an appearance by the successful indie rock band, The Dear Hunter (a project of Casey Crescenzo) on Attack of the Show. It's worth watching the whole thing, but if you skip ahead to around the 7 minute mark, Kevin Pereira asks Casey about the future of the music business, and Crescenzo points out a key point that some of us have been saying for years: the future isn't in selling music, but in adding value, and making things worth buying:
Pereira: You seem to be doing something right. So what is so wrong or broken with the music industry right now?

Crescenzo: I would say the main thing is that no one's ever going to buy music just for the sake of buying music anymore. There's no reason to just buy....

Periera: I was unaware you could still buy music. That's awesome. So do you go to a store? How does this work?

Crescenzo: ... I don't know. Craigslist. No, I think it's a matter of people realizing that you're never going to sell... it's never going to be the thing where you have a ton of bands selling a million records. And, instead of concentrating just on sales or on selling something, you have to make something worthwhile.
What a concept! Make something worthwhile. The interview goes on and they talk about the fact that Crescenzo traveled across the country to get to the interview by car and had emailed a fan list telling them about this and offering to play house concerts (for free) at various stops along the way. Of course, as we've discussed, house concerts are becoming more and more popular. They're a great way for artists, who are comfortable doing them (and, no, we're not saying they're for everyone), to really connect with fans. And while Crescenzo decided not to charge, we've been hearing about more and more artists making pretty good money doing house concerts for reasonable fees.

I know some critics have brushed aside the house concert phenomenon as only making sense for artists, who can't do otherwise (a statement that's clearly untrue for many who have embraced house concerts), here's a case of a very well known, very successful act realizing how useful house concerts can be as well.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 2:10am

    I don't know why I remembered Grease-Summer Nights with Frenchy singing:

    Quote:
    Tell me more!
    Tell me more!
    Was it love at first sight?

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 4:23am

    OR could be that this guy's music stinks.

    "no one's ever going to buy music just for the sake of buying music anymore. There's no reason to just buy...." ... "you have to make something worthwhile".

    First, there is still good music being made. Mike sort of gleefully implies that there isn't.

    2nd, the "bizarre spectacle" method has long been used by talentless hacks, as currently, "Lady Gaga" does occult sex goddess schtick, with outre costumes.

    And bizarre spectacle only /appears/ "worthwhile" to teenagers who think they're rebelling. But eventually it fails: most wise up, some move on to ever more bizarre.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 4:39am

    Re: OR could be that this guy's music stinks.

    "First, there is still good music being made. Mike sort of gleefully implies that there isn't."

    I must've missed it, was it between the lines?


    "2nd, the "bizarre spectacle" method has long been used by talentless hacks, as currently, "Lady Gaga" does occult sex goddess schtick, with outre costumes."

    It is humorous when people become offended but continue to watch.


    "And bizarre spectacle only /appears/ "worthwhile" to teenagers who think they're rebelling. But eventually it fails: most wise up, some move on to ever more bizarre."

    Teens grow up - indeed - and younger children replace them. Not sure what the point was, something about a market?

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Major, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 4:40am

    Re: OR could be that this guy's music stinks.

    There is so many flaws in this comment that someone with a decent intelect will probably have a field days with it...

    But me, i'll just point out that by following your logic : it means that pretty much the whole world is starting to wise up and not buying anymore those shiny disks that a few industries, which i won't name, keep trying to shove down our throat...

    Like you said they aren't worthwhile anymore, the bizarre spectacle of middlemen from another age stomping their feets, because we won't swallow their shit is fairly boring.

    If there is good music being made i can probably find it on any decent torrent/ddl/streaming site :)

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    DandonTRJ (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 4:46am

    I'm always surprised when music from the circles I traffic in make it to Techdirt, but happily so. Casey is a musical genius and ridiculously prolific. His newest release, The Color Spectrum, consists of nine different EPs released simultaneously, each one corresponding with a specific mood or musical tone. The deluxe version of the set is $80, on nine different color-coded vinyl discs in a snazzy box set. And I snatched one up immediately. Talk about RtB, right? [It also helps that the songs are amazing. I think I replayed the last song of the release four or five times when I first heard it.]

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 4:50am

    Re: OR could be that this guy's music stinks.

    "First, there is still good music being made. Mike sort of gleefully implies that there isn't."

    Where did Mike say this? All I see is a quote from Casey Crescenzo...

    "2nd, the "bizarre spectacle" method has long been used by talentless hacks, as currently, "Lady Gaga" does occult sex goddess schtick, with outre costumes."

    Yet, she's richer than you and a lot of people like both her style and music. What does your opinion mean, exactly?

    "And bizarre spectacle only /appears/ "worthwhile" to teenagers who think they're rebelling. But eventually it fails: most wise up, some move on to ever more bizarre."

    Haven't you just described the music industry's traditional primary market? Are you admitting that they need to change the way they do business now?

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 5:50am

    Re: OR could be that this guy's music stinks.

    "First, there is still good music being made."
    He never said otherwise. He is saying there is no reason to buy it for its own sake. That would be the RtB part of it all.

    ------------------
    "2nd, the "bizarre spectacle" method has long been used by talentless hacks, as currently, "Lady Gaga" does occult sex goddess schtick, with outre costumes."
    And? There is obviously a market for it. Just because you don't like the music/image/industry doesn't mean it's not a legitimate market.

    Take Marilyn Manson... I hate his anti-religion crap (I think it's combative and too over-the-top); there are few of his songs I can tolerate and fewer I actually like. But I respect the man as a salesman and performer because he found an audience that wanted him and sold the hell out of it (no pun intended). Just because I think it's all really silly to see thousands of non-conformists all conforming to a uniform look doesn't mean that there's not a real entertainment business to be run there.

    Or, if you want to go more 'main stream', let's go back to another "shock rocker" that created a new market, worked it like a boss, and STILL has ridiculous following: Elvis Presley. I think most of his music sucks (in my taste & opinion), I hate the craze scene, and I’m glad the “he’s still alive” crap is pretty much as dead as he is. But none of my opinion removes anything from the fact that this Shock Rocker excelled by giving a great Reason to Buy: rebellion against your parents’ ways… something that has always been around, and will always be around.

    And if all that is still too current and to give proof that the Rebellion Market is eternal, let’s dial it back to one of the most OG Shock Rockers of them all: W. to tha A. to tha Mozart (reprezent!!!) That man was OBSCENE! (or, I belive the current term is 'off tha hook!')

    ------------------
    "And bizarre spectacle only /appears/ "worthwhile" to teenagers who think they're rebelling. But eventually it fails: most wise up, some move on to ever more bizarre."
    Let me answer that with another quote:
    "That's what I like about them high school girls, I get older and they just stay the same age". - Wooderson, Dazed & Confused
    Now, wash the creepy off that, drop the 'girls', and you get the attitude of every single music act that targets any niche audience. They know their individual audience members will move on. They also know that there will always be more coming in behind them as long as their sound/image stays relevant to the social norms (or abnorms). Kinda how that works.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 7:55am

    "no one's ever going to buy music just for the sake of buying music anymore."
    Well, not this music, that's for sure. But I still buy music for the sake of buying music and will continue doing so.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 10:00am

    What I think Mike and many have really missed is that the "free" is slowly climbing up the food chain.

    The "house concerts" were for some artists the "great scarcity of all scarcities", with some charging thousands (even tens of thousands) for the honor. Now we have an "artist" who is doing them for cheap and others doing them for free to promote something.

    Essentially, yesterday's scarcity is today's give away. It goes back to a long time theory of mine, which is each step on the chain can find a way to give away it's product to promote something else of higher value / income, usually a high ratio thing. Give away $1 songs to sell $50 concert tickets. Give away concert tickets to sell over priced t-shirts. Give away t-shirts to sell overprices meet and greets, and so on. As long as there is a multiplier in there, you can give away 10 times as many of X to get 1 Y, and still make money.

    The issue however is that back at the core of it all, it's about the music. The band may play in a city once ever few years. They may or may not have merch to sell in between, and the prices may be out of range. They may not be around for a meet and greet or a mini-putt game. What the average fan values, collections, and enjoys over and over again is the song. As soon as you stop charging for what people want, your business model becomes "give it away and pray" in one fashion or another. This story shows that one of the "pray" items, the high dollar house concert, has turned into the cheapie "we need some exposure, will play for your relatives" give away.

    The future of music? Oh boy.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 22nd, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re:

    And what you're missing is that every band can do things differently.

    The key factor is that if you have a fan base, then you can offer them things that they would pay for. Just because one band does some free shows, or one band gives away free CDs, or one band crowdfunds his next album, it doesn't mean that every other artist in the world has to cow-tow in line and do the exact same thing.

     

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

  11.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jul 23rd, 2011 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    ...and here we have the classic and rather silly argument - the slippery slope. Apparently, artists should not give things away or do things to please fans, because then they will somehow need to give everything away.

    "Essentially, yesterday's scarcity is today's give away. "

    What a silly conclusion. The argument about "giving away" MP3s is due to the fact that they have zero marginal cost and that because of this their monetary value is trending toward zero. I don't believe anyone's arguing that expensive scarce goods should be given away.

    "Give away $1 songs to sell $50 concert tickets."

    That's fine, because those songs actually cost $0 to produce each copy, and the profit margins on gigs is higher.

    "Give away concert tickets to sell over priced t-shirts."

    Why are you people always so obsessed with T-shirts? Besides, is the profit margin on t-shirts really higher, especially since each punter must have a ticket (whereas many won't buy the t-shirt)? I doubt it.

    "The band may play in a city once ever few years."

    So, they sell the scarcity - their tickets. Trying to charge over $1 for an infinite item that the fan hears on the radio 5 times a day for free and can watch on YouTube at any time is clearly not sustainable.

    "What the average fan values, collections, and enjoys over and over again is the song."

    Do you have a cite for that? Most actual fans buy more than just a few songs, and you only cherry pick a few of the possible alternate options. This should be a good thing, as traditionally most artists made virtually nothing from selling records in the first place - the labels got that cash.

    "As soon as you stop charging for what people want, your business model becomes "give it away and pray" in one fashion or another."

    Except, it's not. The argument is not to stop selling what people want, it's to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    "one of the "pray" items"

    You appear to have completely misunderstood what the term "give it away and pray" refers to. Maybe you should read back on the articles where it's explained in simple language. Or, maybe you can explain why focussing on selling the more valuable and desirable products is "praying".

    "the high dollar house concert, has turned into the cheapie "we need some exposure, will play for your relatives" give away."

    Because this band would have been filling out stadiums if only they weren't forced to give away music. Really? U2 and Lady Gaga are now going to have to downsize to their local bar because they can't sell overpriced MP3s any more? Glad you're not my business manager.

    "The future of music? Oh boy."

    I'm sure piano tuners had the same lament when everyone started switching to recorded music instead of playing it themselves. "I don't like where the future is going" is a sign you're getting old, not a basis for a business model.

     

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

  12.  
    icon
    James Stevens (profile), Jul 25th, 2011 @ 1:51am

    Re: OR could be that this guy's music stinks.

    I saw The Dear Hunter in concert a few weeks back. They put on an excellent live show.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    TDR, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Paul made an excellent comment just now and so I thought I'd repeat it here since the trolls and maximalists seem to keep refusing to acknowledge it:

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    Maybe if we hit them over the head enough times with it, it'll finally start to sink in.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    The argument is... to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    TDR, Aug 1st, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Dah, my last line got put in the wrong place. Oh well.

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    PPI Claims, Aug 18th, 2011 @ 9:52am

    Dear Hunter

    I saw dear hunter a while back in concert and absolutely loved them, great atmosphere :)

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This