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.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 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.

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