Case Study: How To Have Fun Connecting With Fans Like A Superstar DJ

from the take-that,-management dept

deadmau5 (pronounced ‘dead mouse’) is a great example for artists that want to make it in the music business. He is famed for his great production and unique style, which helped get him noticed and separated from the crowd. That’s a good thing, because then it’s worth talking about. What’s remarkable about deadmau5 stretches further than his unique production style and performances (he wears this huge mouse-mask on his head). His level of engagement with his ecosystem (or fanbase, if you will) is exemplary.

Minecraft has been talked about before on Techdirt. Back in November, deadmau5 set up his own server for this sandbox-game in which players can craft their own world. His fans love it, and deadmau5 regularly pops in to hang out with them in ‘mau5ville.’ In a way, both deadmau5 and his fans emerge themselves in fan art. There are tons of videos of mau5ville online, so you can take a tour. One user even used the game’s tools to make a cover of a song by deadmau5, which deadmau5 then shared with over 2 million of his fans. Other artists sometimes prefer to go the way of a takedown notice when a fan puts his energy into making fan art — but deadmau5 prefers to promote it. You can see both videos below:

However, deadmau5 is not like other artists, and recently he showed this by buying about 20 Minecraft accounts and posting the gift codes on his Facebook page. He understands that having fun with your fanbase and spending a little money on it can be much more important than telling them to buy your music. He listens to his fans, and he informs them when they can buy new music, because that’s what his fans want. But it’s about more than just pushing what you have to buy.

In the beginning of December, deadmau5′ marketing team decided they should get involved in communicating to his fans.


Apparently deadmau5 didn’t like the fact that his management was disturbing the trust and rapport he had built up with the ecosystem, because those status updates were followed by deadmau5’s:

 Then he checked the backend of his Facebook page…

Excellent choice, in my opinion. This is the best thing he could do to earn back the trust of the ecosystem, because you really don’t want to get on the bad side of the ecosystem. The ecosystem can reject you, the ecosystem can move on, the ecosystem doesn’t need YOU in order to survive.

And the cool thing is, he wasn’t thinking about marketing or self-preservation or strategy in the process of making his choices. It’s just him, genuinely. And I guess the status update he posted 1 minute later shows just that:


p style=”text-align: left”>It looks like deadmau5 recognizes his fans have more value than just a few purchases. Instead of complaining that his fans should buy his album for 15 euros, he is actually buying them Minecraft accounts for 15 euros a piece. This might be hard to understand for his management and a lot of other people in the industry, because if fans are free, how can they have value?

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Companies: minecraft

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Comments on “Case Study: How To Have Fun Connecting With Fans Like A Superstar DJ”

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Anonymous Coward says:

More fun of misinformation and how misleading numbers can be:

One user even used the game’s tools to make a cover of a song by deadmau5, which deadmau5 then shared with over 2 million of his fans.

The linked video has just under 150,000 views at this point. That means that 7.5% (or less because you assume the video has been linked elsewhere) of his “fans” even could be bothered to look.

150k is sort of different from 2 million, no? Yes, his account has 2 million friends, but it appears most of them are ignoring his posts.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“To be honest, I don’t think most people have any doubt about how to pronounce his nickname. Especially the ones that grew up with leetspeak (13375p34k). ;-)”

I dunno, I wouldn’t automatically pronounce it dead mouse and I definitely ‘grew up with leetspeak’. To me, that would be like actually saying ‘rolling on the floor laughing’ offline, or calling me ‘vivaelamor’ just because that’s what I use online.

I always say Linux the ‘wrong’ way because my pronunciation of Linus is different to the Finnish pronunciation. Text to speech is a weird thing.

Bas Grasmayer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

He occasionally hops on ustream to chat with his fans and he seems like a decent guy ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very humble.

As for the name, it was given to him… apparently he said something about finding a dead mouse in some chat room and then people started calling him “that dead mouse guy”. He made it his own through deadmau5, which is just the ‘nerdification’ of it I guess. Just a random nickname, really. He might have made it when he was a teenager.

Electromikey (user link) says:

Happily, I can state that I’ve been a fan of this guy for quite a long time. I’m always impressed with the ways he comes up with (and the lengths he goes to) to communicate with his fans, and he’s quite a good musician in his genre besides.

How many other people do you know of who start in complete obscurity, catapult to the top of their genre’s scene in just a year or so, influence the genre in such a way that EVERYONE borrows sounds from them, and goes on tour around the world making millions of people dance their faces off? Oh, and he STILL maintains complete control over his artistic and musical freedom (making all the artwork and doing everything in his music, short of singing), and dates a Playmate because she first wanted to be with HIM, not the other way around.

Fools just be jealous.

kyle clements (profile) says:

great line

“The ecosystem can reject you, the ecosystem can move on, the ecosystem doesn’t need YOU in order to survive.”

I think this is by far the most important lesson that content creators need to keep in mind these days.

Attention is the scarcity, not content. Artists have to earn their audience’s attention; they can’t just expect an audience to come because they released something. And what this guy does is great!

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