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?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: connect with fans, ellis paul, jill sobule, music industry

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Mar 2010 @ 3:02pm

    To answer the last question, people feel special and more connected when they feel like they have been singaled out. Allowing everyone to download music is wonderful, to PUSH that same free music to individuals, creates a sense of connection. To allow people to participate in the process of giving those things away makes THEM feel more important and connect. THEY have helped to create the huge following.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.