If People Like You And Your Work They'll Pay; If They Like Your Work, But Don't Like You, They'll Infringe
from the cthulhu-saves-your-games dept
If people like you and like your work, they'll buy your games. If they like your work but don't like you, they'll pirate them.The first half of this statement is at the heart of the idea of connecting with your fans. Part of this ability to connect with your fans is to be more open and human with them. We have seen repeatedly how artists sell more of their work and scarcities associated with their work as they become more human to their fan base. As fans come to trust you and feel that they can approach you directly, even if that is through email, Twitter or Facebook, they will be far more likely to trust you enough to part with their money. This trust is one of the keys to Double Fine's success and a key to the success of any game developer. Similarly, it was seen in the way Louis CK treated his fans.
The second half of this statement is a lesson that many larger publishers, developers and others in the entertainment industry have forgotten. Because of that, they are suffering the fallout. DRM and other methods that show how little the developer or publisher trusts its fans breeds contempt within the fan community. While those consumers may still like the product, they don't like the way they are treated. This is one of the driving factors behind piracy. To top off the problem, these creators and gatekeepers set up walls between themselves and their fans. They do everything to avoid contact with fans outside carefully orchestrated scenarios. This turns fans off and decreases the amount of trust they have for these individuals and companies.
It's often said that people will just get stuff for free if they can. But, clearly, that's not true. We've seen so many cases of content creators being supported by their fans at tremendous levels (such as the two cases mentioned above) that there's clearly more to it. And it seems that a key element is whether or not fans actually like you. Some people suggest that the disconnect with piracy is that people value the work, but won't pay for it. But a more accurate realization may be that people value the work... but don't value the creator if the creator doesn't value them. When the two sides value each other, it seems people are more than willing to pay.