I just want to add (and this is probably implied already) that I think it's important to have a talented and forward-thinking marketing team around the visionary artist. This "team" could simply be one person, or it could be a lot of people. But just like talented artists take the stage with other talented musicians in order to perform music, it's important to pair the artist with talented, creative, and forward-thinking marketers to "perform" the marketing strategy.
Otherwise I think you would too often end up with an unfocused strategy. Kind of like a guitar player trying to play drums. They could probably come up with some cool ideas, but a true drummer could turn that idea into a truly great performance.
I do think that artists have to be visionary and have a knack for this stuff themselves. But I also think achieving a significant level of success requires the pairing of a visionary artist with a visionary marketing team.
i agree with this post, as well as PaulT, Chronno S. Trigger, and andy, who have all made good points about why putting the music out right away is relevant to the current market of music fans, and thus the correct way to run a music business in today's world.
i read some similar articles about a year ago, and it resonated the same way with me, posing the question, "why is there a 6 to 8 week delay in the release of a record?" i understand that in the 80's and 90's when the cd took off, propelling music sales to places it had never reached before, that marketing in this way was relevant to that age. but today things are different. delaying a release 6 to 8 weeks for marketing reasons in an age where not only the album format has changed, but most importantly fans' consumption preferences have changed, simply does not make any sense.
today fans are doing the marketing for us via word of mouth. if you're doing something that resonates with fans, then they are going to talk about it and share it. fans should be empowered to do this, making it super easy, as well as rewarding.
i'm all for releasing music directly to fans as soon as the project is finished, and it's something that i've done with the bands i work with. however, the one block i've come up against (and it is a very significant block), is that the gatekeepers who run blogs, magazines, radio stations, etc, don't want to talk about music that has already been released. they want to be able to "break" the news of new music. in a world like radiohead this would not be a problem. but the reality of my situation is that we're just not big enough. we're a small indie company representing small indie bands, and when the gatekeepers won't talk about our music because it's already been put out, then our reach becomes very limited. word of mouth has been great for us, but at this point we're still limited in our reach.
any thoughts on how companies and bands in a position like mine can navigate this landscape, when we want to put emphasis/reward on fans, but still be able to play ball with the gatekeepers?
regardless of the fact that this is a personal anecdote, it represents a significant group of fans/music makers/indie organizations who prefer this new way of organically sharing and discovering music. it may not be based in any kind of hard data, but it pays tribute the the first person account for how people feel when they interact around music in this way, and completely validates the legitimacy of this organic approach.
hegemon13, thanks for your personal anecdote, as well. it's important to understand how the market of music fans has become more intricate in the multitude of ways that we prefer to obtain music. there are a lot more choices available, and to simply diminish it down to the status quo of what it's been in decades past, would keep us from working to understand more about ourselves as music enthusiasts sharing ideas in a changed establishment.
This analogy reminded me of a book I read about four years ago called An Army of Davids by UT law professor Glenn Reynolds. Very fascinating book, with inspiring examples of how developments in the sophistication of technology, paired with the lowering cost barrier, is an integral part of the change in the marketplace across multiple industries in this information age.