Another Band With Another Unique Business Model

from the turning-your-fans-into-promoters dept

Often, when we describe a certain business model put in place by one band that embraces the basic economics of the music industry, someone shows up in the comments to claim "while this might work for musician X, that's an exception... it'll never work for big/small/mainstream/niche/whatever artists." This sort of comment misses the larger point. We are not suggesting a single "business model" for the entire industry. In fact, we're just explaining the economic forces at play, and showing a variety of different business models that embrace those economics. It's those different business models that makes the market so interesting and dynamic and allows bands to stand out from the crowd.

For the latest example, reader James Saunders points us to the band Umphrey's McGee, who implemented a business model for their latest album that helped turn their fans into promoters. Saunders explains the band's "unique plan":
As more people pre-ordered, the band would add more "extras" to the release. There were eight tiers of potential content, each unlocked once a predetermined number of albums were purchased. The result was a massive effort by fans to promote the album for the band; if they got more people to buy it, their own purchase would have more value. I bought my copy over 2 months ago, and I convinced two friends to get it as well. Eventually, all eight tiers were unlocked, so a good number of albums must have been sold. The whole experience offered more to fans than just "music tracks" which could be pirated. Instead they were given a chance to help a band they love reach a wider audience, while at the same time "earning" more for what they were already willing to pay."
This is a neat variation on a similar model we've seen from musicians like Marillion and Jill Sobule to get fans to agree to pay up early in exchange for some benefit. The addition of having different beneficial levels "open up" just adds to the appeal, and it helps turn fans into promoters as well. Again, this is not "the" business model for all bands -- but yet another example of a band recognizing one way to implement a business model that really does focus on connecting with fans and giving them a real reason to buy.

Filed Under: bands, business models, economics, tiers, umphrey's mcgee


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  1. identicon
    mike allen, 21 Jan 2009 @ 7:53am

    Re: Mike misses it again

    You have missed the point you dont need the recording industry at all a band or artist can produce a recording in excellent quality without a studio. put said recording on the web and (no matter if they charge or give it away) allow fans to download. as i have said many times on here i work in broadcasting over the air and internet i get at least 20 to 30 unknown bands send tracks a week hoping to get on the show. If i like i play them simple as that.

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