How Musician Ellis Paul Got 300 Fans To Give Him $100,000 For His Latest Album

from the how-it's-done dept

Yet another great blog post by Ariel Hyatt, exploring how musicians are embracing the concept of focusing on the true fans to build a modern business model -- this time looking at how musician Ellis Paul was able to raise $100,000 from just 300 fans. The actual concept appears quite similar to what we've seen elsewhere before, in that he put together a set of "tiers" for support. The Ellis Paul story actually sounds quite similar to the Jill Sobule story -- both musicians who have been around for many years, bouncing around in the old system before realizing that a big label doesn't make much sense, when you have a strong fan base and really aren't selling the amount of albums the big record label really needs to consider you a success. Like Sobule, Paul has focused on really building up a loyal audience, and figuring out ways to communicate with them. What's interesting here, is that it took just 300 fans buying into tiers to get Paul to that $100,000 mark. Not bad.

There are some parts that suggest Paul could have an even stronger model, however. It doesn't appear that he really embraces "free." For example, there's lots of talk focusing on selling albums, even though his manager admits that he makes about 60% of his revenue from live shows, and a key focus for Paul is to build up his audience. In fact, for people who did participate in his tiered offering, they would send them CDs and ask them to pass the CDs along to other potential "true fans." But why not just embrace the more efficient system of offering the music up for free to expand the audience much further, continue to build up that live following, and offer additional alternatives for the business model that might get even more than 300 people to participate?
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Filed Under: connect with fans, ellis paul, jill sobule, music industry

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