People Realizing That Other Occupations Can Learn From Music Success Stories

from the a-swimmer? dept

For all the talk about how difficult it is for musicians to make a living today, and how there are all sorts of challenges, it’s quite interesting to see that other people in other professions are increasingly looking to the growing number of success stories to see what they can learn. Music manager Emily White recently alerted us to the fact that she’s taking some of the lessons learned working with artists like Amanda Palmer, and applying them elsewhere as well. For example, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Anthony Ervin recently began a “comeback” attempt, and needed to find support to go “on tour,” competing for the US on the World Cup circuit. Apparently, expenses for such a trip are entirely on the athlete. So Ervin started doing what artists often do: connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy:

But what’s more spectacular than the times, places, and races is Anthony’s unusual and creative marketing campaign and his unorthodox methods for connecting with fans and formulating his own brand. It’s something we’ve never really seen before. And as some of the post-Olympic sponsorship money begins to dry out for elite swimmers, it could be a precedent going forward — a way to generate and self-brand and connect with fans, a way to keep going.

A big part of this was an IndieGoGo campaign last fall, which raised $12,704, by really reaching out to his fans. And, as with typical crowdfunding campaigns, he’s let some of his unique personality come through with the campaign and the possible awards. Since he’s well known for dabbling in music as well, he offered to write people their own songs. And, of course, he also has offered up private swimming lessons for big donors as well.

What struck me about this is an entirely new way for swimmers to fund some of the more expensive swim tours out there. By providing creative incentives – like singing a song, or making a phone call – Anthony is literally giving back to the swim community dependent on the amount of support he gets. Also, throughout the Tour, Anthony’s journey is being updated. So not only can you donate, and then receive an autographed postcard, but you can also feel like you’re on the World Cup tour with him. Check out his Tweets, or his website. He’s uploading pictures of him talking to kids in Sweden, traveling around Russia.

It’s almost like Anthony has embraced some of the rock band roots he has and created his own “rock tour” of Europe, partially funded by his very own street team of loyal supporters. What’s amazing about all this is that bands have been doing this for years. Start-ups, films, photographers, long-distance athletes, too. And now, we’re seeing Olympic swimmers take to the Internet, to help fund their travels and excursions and training.

Of course, some may argue that there’s nothing “new” here. And, to some extent, that’s absolutely true. Lots of people are doing crowdfunding for different things these days. But it’s still neat to see that these kinds of ideas are permeating into different areas where they haven’t been used before, and that people elsewhere are taking their cue from some of the success stories in the music business. At the very least, it suggests that, perhaps, those embracing these new music business models aren’t just on the right path, they’re blazing a nice trail for tons of other areas as well.

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Comments on “People Realizing That Other Occupations Can Learn From Music Success Stories”

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Zakida Paul says:

The biggest challenge facing musicians who want to make a living today is the amount of music that fans have access to. A musician needs to do something really special and creative in order to make it in music. Musicians really need to compete for fans because we have such a choice but, sadly, there are those in the major record labels/RIAA/BPI who do not want to compete. They want to rely on their monopolies of bygone days and this is why we are seeing a rise in independent musicians, because they are coming up with creative new ways of making and distributing music.

It is my opinion that we are living in a golden age of music.

out_of_the_blue says:


“named The Spirit of St. Louis in honor of Lindbergh’s supporters from The St. Louis Raquette Club in his then hometown” — Oddly, the tale is a bit murky, doesn’t give WHY he had supporters or who were. — ANYHOO, this “crowdfunding” has been going since at least AD 1927, Mike.

Man, you kids make up a buzzword on teh internets and think you’re living in never-before-seen times. — While you mainly ignore the horrible new ways in which computers are actually being used to monitor and control.

Emily White (user link) says:

re: But...

Hey Michael,

Anthony and I hope that this model shows other swimmers / athletes who may or may not have his visibility to help to support their training and goals. Every person, athlete / musician or not, has a network around them. I successfully raised 3k amongst my friends to help fund a yoga teacher training program a few years back and I am not a musician or an Olympian.

Regardless, we are thrilled that Anthony was able to compete on the World Cup tour throughout 3 continents in lieu of a corporate sponsorship as frankly, we didn’t have enough time to go that traditional route for him to compete on the circuit.

Not only did this method put Anthony’s mind at ease financially, it created an intimate relationship with his fans that goes beyond merch. The result? 9 gold medals over the 8 meets in large part to the support from the fans rooting him along the whole time.

Take Care,

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