There's no reason why bands who are signed to a major label can't take many of the lessons and business models we've talked about here and make good use of them as well. In the past, for example, we've been impressed by what the band Chester French has done, where it had celebrated
a fan who was burning copies of their music and giving it out to people (and had created a video showing others how to do it too). In fact, we came close to having Chester French be a part of our Techdirt Music Club
, but there were some logistical issues that were too tricky to work out in the time available. The NY Times now has an article on what the band has been doing to connect with fans
as well, and it shows a band that is doing everything it can to better connect with fans in any way possible. They're using all sorts of online tools, and the two band members actively communicate with all sorts of fans. They also know that "free" is a part of the business model:
"We gave away an album for free," Wallach said, "and that was the single largest driver of new fans that we've done." They honestly believe giving away copies of their CDs gets them heard by others who'll go out and buy a copy.
But here's the thing that's not mentioned in the article. Chester French is signed to a major record label. In this case, Interscope, a subsidiary of Universal Music which has started going down a smarter path
lately -- and that's definitely seen here. For some reason, people seem to think that we "hate" the major record labels, but that's not true at all. We just wish they'd stop fighting fans and making life worse for musicians. That's why it's great to see a major label like Universal supporting Chester French, and allowing them to do stuff like giving away free music and cheering on fans who burn copies of their CD.