Today we're extremely excited to announce the launch of Step2
, our discussion platform for helping creators, fans, techies, business folks and anyone else
work together to help creators figure out ways to better succeed with their efforts.
It's been nearly three years since I first did my MidemNet presentation that discussed the idea of Connecting with Fans + a Reason to Buy = Business Model
-- better known as CwF+RtB=$$$. Since that time, I've spent plenty of time writing, speaking, consulting and thinking about this concept and have tried to outline it in as much detail as possible
. Still, I can't even begin to say how many times I've had content creators -- be they musicians, filmmakers, authors, software developers, photographers, poets, painters, etc. -- reach out and ask what should they
do to better connect with fans? What should they
do to come up with better reasons to buy? I've tried to help them whenever possible to the extent that I can, but each situation is unique. Nothing in CwF+RtB was supposed to about "here's the exact path to success." It was a set of principles, and each person/organization could apply it appropriately to their circumstance.
In thinking about this, we realized that what's really missing out there is a true community to help people figure this stuff out. There's really no great place for a content creator to ask
people how can they better connect with a fan base. There's really no great place out there for an artist to compare different store hosting platforms to see which ones might serve their needs better. There's really no great place out there for someone to figure out just how should they set up this business model/online store/crowdfunding campaign. And there's no great place for fans
to reach out and help the creators they love as well with these same sorts of questions.
So we built one.
There's a famous internet meme out there that began with a South Park episode
many years ago, which has become known as the "Profit!" meme
, which goes something like this:
- Step 1: Do something
- Step 2: ??????
- Step 3: Profit!
At times, I know that's how many content creators feel about the range of opportunities that the digital age presents them. So, our Step2 platform is hopefully designed to help creators make those question marks in their own "Step 2" a bit more clear and useful.
So how can Step2 be used? Well, that's partly up to the community to decide! But here are some suggestions:
- Ask the community how to better succeed -- whether it's to better connect with fans or to come up with unique and compelling business model ideas.
- Discuss challenges or choices you're facing and get feedback. What platforms make sense? Should you focus on touring or build a local fan base? Should you self-publish or try to get a publishing deal? Can you really crowdfund this movie? etc.
- Share your experiences as a case study. To get feedback and to help others learn from and be inspired by your experiences. In a little while we'll be posting about a contest we're launching in conjunction with the Step2 launch, where we're offering up a total of $10,000 to people for sharing their case studies. For a few great examples of case studies, check out:
- Amanda Palmer discussing her recent experiences with Kickstarter in funding a new project in conjunction with her husband, Neil Gaiman.
- Or, check out Andy Richards of the indie band Uniform Motion (whom we've written about a few times), discussing how his transparency about their revenue may have given fans additional reasons to buy, complete with detailed stats about how his transparency resulted in traffic and sales.
- Or you can jump over to Zoe Keating's discussion over the question of whether or not doing art for purely strategic reasons is evil... while she also shares a bit of the secret of her success.
- Share your own case studies as a fan. Show artists how it feels to have an artist treat you well, and highlight cool examples of artists that have connected with you. Inspire more artists.
- Want to help out your favorite artist? Start a discussion about cool things they're already doing and encourage more people to check them out.
- See someone you like who you think could do better? Make some suggestions about ways they could do even better.
- See someone you like doing something you don't like? Maybe present some alternative ideas
- This is a community project. Even if you don't know some of those participating, you'll be amazed at how gratifying it is to try to help people succeed with their work. While I haven't had time to help as many content creators as I would have liked, every time I'm able to spend some time helping artists, it's always been a very rewarding experience.
- Help people recognize that there's a world of opportunity out there, and there are all sorts of great ways to embrace it and to succeed. Talking to folks who succeed today, you almost inevitably hear a variation on the theme that they saw someone else succeeding and were inspired to know that they could do that too.
To be clear: while we often talk about music, this is about all sorts of creators. Music, movies, videos, software, photographs, poetry, web pages, companies, blogs, magazines... whatever
. Jump in and start discussing, sharing and spreading ideas.
First off a special thanks to our awesome sponsors for this project, from whom you'll be hearing more as Step2 moves forward. TopSpin
provides an amazing platform for content creators to connect with fans and give them a reason to buy. Its platform is used by big name artists like Eminem, Lady Gaga, the Beastie Boys and Paul McCartney, as well as tons of up and coming artists. And it's not just for music. They're powering sites for the likes of filmmaker Kevin Smith and are working with authors as well. We'll be seeing more details and case studies from folks associated with TopSpin in the near future. Then we have the Future of Music Coalition
, who has been doing all sorts of wonderful things helping musicians deal with a changing market. Their latest project (again, which you'll be hearing more about) is the massive artist revenue streams project
, in which they're gathering data from tons of musicians to better understand all revenue streams for artists these days. SongKick
is an amazing new platform that is really doing cool things for the touring industry, and has some amazing insight into that important revenue stream for musicians, which we'll try to delve into on Step2. And last, but certainly not least, is Bandzoogle
, a website platform for content creators that makes it easy for creators to build extremely powerful (and profitable) websites. As we recently noted, artists using Bandzoogle are making a lot of money
, and we're looking forward to finding out more about how they do that.
Also, a special thanks to the crew here at Floor64 for the hard work in putting all this together and iterating on the original idea and turning it into a reality. Finally (and perhaps most importantly) an extra special thanks for the community of folks out there who have bandied about many of the ideas about how to connect with fans, and how to build cooler, better business models that inspired us to put together this platform.
So go ahead, jump in
, join some existing discussions, start some new discussions
, and let's help create and document as many success stories as we can.