Four Rules For Music Business Success

from the don't-suck dept

The Topspin blog has a story of one of the bands they've worked with, a lesser known act called Fanfarlo, that was able to reach some specific goals in promoting itself and building up its fan base, while getting many to commit to paying. From that, the post discusses a four step "formula" that the band used for success (listed here with my summary):
  1. Don't suck: something that often gets lost in these discussions. The music still does need to be good. All of these business models are that much harder if the music isn't any good and fans don't like it. Playing good music is a definite first step.
  2. Get others to introduce you to their audience: This is another good point. I've been talking to some musicians lately, who were trying to understand how to best apply some of this stuff, and I often suggest looking for other, more well-known acts, that the band can work with to get some sort of endorsement, or "opening" slot on a tour (or even just a gig) as a way of reaching more fans. The Topspin post points out that some people assume that this is the real story behind the success of Fanfarlo, but the numbers don't bear that out. It probably accounted for approximately 30% of the band's sales. Not shabby, but hardly the only reason for the band's success.
  3. Make those audiences an offer they can't refuse: In this case, the band offered a download of their album, plus four bonus tracks for $1 for a limited time. Yes, all of the songs combined for a dollar -- not each of them for a dollar apiece. While I normally support just giving away the music for free, I can see a reason to offer them all for a dollar in some situations. In this case, it gets more people to commit to the music and the band, but at a price that is much easier to deal with. I'm still not convinced that $1 is better than free, but it sure beats regular album prices. While this offer was for a limited time, after it was over, the band still offered the download cheaply ($6).
  4. Repeat: This is another important one. We keep hearing bands put in place business model promotions that are one time deals, rather than a fully thought-out continuous and ongoing business model. By repeating the process, not only can a band keep making money, but it lets them iterate and experiment, and find out what works (and what doesn't.).
In this case, it looks like things definitely worked. It was able to get 15,000 new fans on its mailing list, with a rather stunning 13,000 of those buying something (but fans just want stuff for free, right?). Of those who simply viewed the download offer, an amazing 22% made a purchase. That's an insane conversion rate. Also 30% of the download buyers came back and bought a physical product later (CD, vinyl or special edition).

All in all, yet another successful example of a band figuring out ways to connect with fans while giving them a reason to buy.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 10:57pm

    Here is an example of a business that gives away free Internet access and sells voicemail.

    http://www.socalfree.net/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 30th, 2009 @ 11:51pm

    Re:

    uhh.. free dialupis nothing new. uu.net did it for years and no longer offer it due to being bought by Verizon.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Mark Barcinski, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 12:58am

    Most major labels violate rule number 1. That's why they hate the internet so much, people have more choice and easier access to better music.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Jerms, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 2:09am

    @Mark Barcinski: Lol that's probably true.

    I like the thought of this band (whom I've never heard of) using a smart business model to make what sounds like a reasonable amount of money. It harkens back to the arguments over at TorrentFreak this week about how a smart business model is somewhere on the scale between DRM BS and "piracy".

    Bet the fans aren't complaining either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Jason, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:49am

    1+2=3

    I would rephrase #1 as "Blow people's minds." There are plenty of ok bands but there are very few who are completely amazing. I would even dare to say if you've got #1 and #2 (both are absolutely key), you'll have no shortage of people falling over themselves to buy your stuff. If #3 is keeping you up at night, you're probably failing at #1 and #2.

     

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  6.  
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    www.eZee.se (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 5:54am

    Ummm, one important point left out:

    Dont sue your fans, preteens (children), college students, single parents, grandparents, the dying... and people who were already dead at the time they supposedly pirated your product.

    If you violate the above rule you make someone like me, who will NEVER buy a song from any label/artist that's under the RIAA scum-mobile.

    Will always support the indies though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 6:12am

    #5 rule fun

    Have fun and give it to other(paid of for free or as part of something).

    Some may call this "the experience", I just called it "fun experience" if people don't enjoy and get marveled is not worth it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Evan, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 7:32am

    Really?

    Really?? Open for a larger bigger band to gain more exposure?? Wow, if only the music industry had thought of that 50 years ago..... How will the bands profit without wisdom from techdirt like that?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Thomas (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 7:49am

    Re: Really?

    Shut up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: Really?

    How to Bake a Cake:

    1. Find good ingredients.

    2. Mix ingredients well.

    3. Bake until at desired consistency.

    4. Apply Icing as desired when cool.

    Evan: What? The Record labels have been doing step number 2 forever! I mean, they haven't done any of the other steps, but they've got step number 2 down pat! You're so useless, Joe, for having a step that is widely known in your process on how to bake a cake!

    What a Douche Canoe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    The Buzz Saw (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 8:40am

    You forgot #5

    5. Never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever sign on with a music label.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    miked (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:35am

    Basic Marketing

    These are some basic marketing ideas. You could replace music with another good/service and the general idea still works. Just an observation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Jason, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:58am

    Re: You forgot #5

    Hold up a sec, do you mean major music label? Because there are plenty of indie labels that care very much for their artists and hold strong ethical values. There is definitely still a place for indie lables - possible more than ever.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 1st, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: You forgot #5

    *Some* indie labels. Others are just smaller versions of their evil, err.. bigger counterparts.

    Maybe #5 should be "Understand the contract you sign and shop around."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    DB, Oct 1st, 2009 @ 11:11am

    another rule.....keep your financial investment in line with rational, objective expectations, and ramp it up only when you hit sales/revenue benchmarks. again, normal practice in most industries, but in the emotional, dream-laden business of music it's not quite as common.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Justin Chollet, Dec 5th, 2009 @ 11:34pm

    Indie Digital Future

    Great Article,

    The four step process is solid


    but I would also add

    Sign up for as many music social networks as you can
    I just found a really good one for Indie Artists called Grindstop http://www.grindstop.com they pay you to sell your music

    promote on facebook myspace twitter at the same time

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2011 @ 3:45pm

    I like this idea all the way

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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