Fans don’t need more ways to buy your music, they need more reasons to. To sell more music, recognize that you bring intrinsic value to the equation.
In June 2010, Billboard ran an online article about the music industry that began with the phrase, “Bad times just got worse.” The grim piece addressed the trials of labels struggling to sell more music and reflected a sentiment shared by most of the music world as we sat watching what we assumed to be a slow and steady plane crash with record labels, music artists, and songwriters strapped snugly and helplessly inside while the music industry collapsed.
Nobody’s arguing that everything is going back to the way it was, but the past three and a half years have undoubtedly brought fresh winds of change. Successful indie artists understand how the new music industry works, and those who are thriving in it are those who have learned to make money because of their music and not just directly from it.
Traditional direct sales of your music meant you made an album, your fans bought it, and you got paid. It’s a direct transaction that places the bulk of the value on the physical product. In the past decade or so, what the overall industry has experienced is not a shift of interest – people still care deeply about music and discovering new music – but a shift of value. Experiences have taken center stage as music has become easier and less expensive to acquire.
With the advent of streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, music became more easily accessible and the whole supply and demand principle kicked in. When this happened, the knee-jerk reaction from the industry was fear, and understandably so. If you were selling a physical good – say, tables – and suddenly a few companies started giving away free tables to anyone who wanted them, you’d be concerned, too.
However, the major difference here lies in the fact that unlike table suppliers, music artists bring intrinsic value to the equation. For modern listeners, experience is king, and that’s where making money because of your music becomes a very real possibility.
At PledgeMusic, we’ve witnessed firsthand thousands of artists selling fans not only a physical album, but also unique and exclusive experiences, behind-the-scenes updates, personal interaction, and a window into the life and process behind putting out new music and being a working musician.
No longer do fans have to wait to go to the record store and pick a new work from their favorite band; now they can get in on the ground level and watch as the project unfolds in the studio, hear tracks before they’re even mastered, and give input on the CD title – all before the project even releases. When that day comes, they’re the first to get the new music, and then they might get to enjoy a private show or dinner and a movie with the band.
In a world driven by social media, fans want to know what you’re up to. Regardless of what you think, they are interested in what you did today and what you were thinking about when you wrote the lyrics to your latest single. In the new industry, this is where much of the value lies. At PledgeMusic, we commonly hear and drive home the idea that fans don’t need more ways to buy new music; they need more reasons to. Give them an invitation into the journey from concept to complete album and you’d better believe they’ll pay to gain that kind of access. And even more importantly, you’ll get to know your fans personally, which is a major plus.
If you’re an indie artist who wants to sell more music and make it in the new music industry, you’ve got to think creatively about what value you bring to the table and how you can use that to find your niche and build a sustainable music career.
Image via ShutterStock.com.
PledgeMusic is a music company offering artists a new way to take control of their careers by helping artists fund, market, and release whatever music they want to make. PledgeMusic helps and encourages artists to participate with their fans in an exciting and unique way by creating an irresistible customized menu of exclusive content and experiences that integrates email databases, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and various other social networking sites. Learn more at PledgeMusic.com.
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