The Dear Hunter: Recognizing The Importance Of Adding Value, Connecting With Fans

from the nicely-done dept

Joe Fleming points us to a clip of an appearance by the successful indie rock band, The Dear Hunter (a project of Casey Crescenzo) on Attack of the Show. It's worth watching the whole thing, but if you skip ahead to around the 7 minute mark, Kevin Pereira asks Casey about the future of the music business, and Crescenzo points out a key point that some of us have been saying for years: the future isn't in selling music, but in adding value, and making things worth buying:
Pereira: You seem to be doing something right. So what is so wrong or broken with the music industry right now?

Crescenzo: I would say the main thing is that no one's ever going to buy music just for the sake of buying music anymore. There's no reason to just buy....

Periera: I was unaware you could still buy music. That's awesome. So do you go to a store? How does this work?

Crescenzo: ... I don't know. Craigslist. No, I think it's a matter of people realizing that you're never going to sell... it's never going to be the thing where you have a ton of bands selling a million records. And, instead of concentrating just on sales or on selling something, you have to make something worthwhile.
What a concept! Make something worthwhile. The interview goes on and they talk about the fact that Crescenzo traveled across the country to get to the interview by car and had emailed a fan list telling them about this and offering to play house concerts (for free) at various stops along the way. Of course, as we've discussed, house concerts are becoming more and more popular. They're a great way for artists, who are comfortable doing them (and, no, we're not saying they're for everyone), to really connect with fans. And while Crescenzo decided not to charge, we've been hearing about more and more artists making pretty good money doing house concerts for reasonable fees.

I know some critics have brushed aside the house concert phenomenon as only making sense for artists, who can't do otherwise (a statement that's clearly untrue for many who have embraced house concerts), here's a case of a very well known, very successful act realizing how useful house concerts can be as well.
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Filed Under: casey crescenzo, dear hunter, selling music, value


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 23 Jul 2011 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    ...and here we have the classic and rather silly argument - the slippery slope. Apparently, artists should not give things away or do things to please fans, because then they will somehow need to give everything away.

    "Essentially, yesterday's scarcity is today's give away. "

    What a silly conclusion. The argument about "giving away" MP3s is due to the fact that they have zero marginal cost and that because of this their monetary value is trending toward zero. I don't believe anyone's arguing that expensive scarce goods should be given away.

    "Give away $1 songs to sell $50 concert tickets."

    That's fine, because those songs actually cost $0 to produce each copy, and the profit margins on gigs is higher.

    "Give away concert tickets to sell over priced t-shirts."

    Why are you people always so obsessed with T-shirts? Besides, is the profit margin on t-shirts really higher, especially since each punter must have a ticket (whereas many won't buy the t-shirt)? I doubt it.

    "The band may play in a city once ever few years."

    So, they sell the scarcity - their tickets. Trying to charge over $1 for an infinite item that the fan hears on the radio 5 times a day for free and can watch on YouTube at any time is clearly not sustainable.

    "What the average fan values, collections, and enjoys over and over again is the song."

    Do you have a cite for that? Most actual fans buy more than just a few songs, and you only cherry pick a few of the possible alternate options. This should be a good thing, as traditionally most artists made virtually nothing from selling records in the first place - the labels got that cash.

    "As soon as you stop charging for what people want, your business model becomes "give it away and pray" in one fashion or another."

    Except, it's not. The argument is not to stop selling what people want, it's to stop pretending that it's possible to charge a premium for a product that costs nothing to make.

    "one of the "pray" items"

    You appear to have completely misunderstood what the term "give it away and pray" refers to. Maybe you should read back on the articles where it's explained in simple language. Or, maybe you can explain why focussing on selling the more valuable and desirable products is "praying".

    "the high dollar house concert, has turned into the cheapie "we need some exposure, will play for your relatives" give away."

    Because this band would have been filling out stadiums if only they weren't forced to give away music. Really? U2 and Lady Gaga are now going to have to downsize to their local bar because they can't sell overpriced MP3s any more? Glad you're not my business manager.

    "The future of music? Oh boy."

    I'm sure piano tuners had the same lament when everyone started switching to recorded music instead of playing it themselves. "I don't like where the future is going" is a sign you're getting old, not a basis for a business model.

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