Monetizing fans is one of the biggest challenges artists face every day. We are sure many of you wonder what are the things that can appeal more to fans and that can consequently allow you to increase your revenues. For this reason we have asked four of our experts to express their opinion on this topic. Check out what they had to say…
This Week’s Guests:
Bob Andrews (Undertow Music Collective), Jamie Minotti (The Madero Group), Nancy Alenier (A-Tone Music), Mitch Weiss (MW Entertainment Group)
What we asked:
Fan Monetization: Looking forward, what will generate most of the direct-to-fan revenues for artists?
Bob Andrews is a founding member of the Undertow Music Collective. He’s been working in the music industry since 1993. His management roster includes David Bazan, Pedro The Lion, Jesse Harris, Centro-matic, Rocky Vototalo, Headlights, and The Bottle Rockets.
Assuming you have fans willing to pay for whatever it is you are offering…
1. TOURING: This is the first place most bands can make money. Keep an eye on the door deals and keep your expenses low and you’ll do ok. It’s pretty important that you write good songs and can sing and play them pretty well for touring to be sustainable.
2. MERCHANDISE: Spend some time and money creating good quality merch. Shirts and tote bags are functional. Fans love practical stuff they can use. Everyone wears shirts and most people carry stuff.
3. MUSIC: Something of quality you can sell direct to fans from your website and at shows is always a good thing. Limited edition, hand-made packaging, downloads, etc.
Don’t be greedy. Keep the prices reasonable. Don’t give it away for free. Remember to write good songs and know how to sing and play them.
Jamie Minotti founded The Madero Group, a boutique company providing development and management services to emerging arists and entertainment companies. Clients include Sustainable Waves, BoomBox, Ana Sia, Eliot Lipp among others. Prior to The Madero Group, Minotti acted as a Tour Manager and Consultant for a variety of artists and tours.
With the ability for Artist’s to obtain the resources needed to do much of the development work that previously required industry access, direct-to-fan revenues will continue to grow in the areas of record sales as well as unique merchandising and “fan experience” packages.
While many of us look at the current state of the traditional record industry model and sales, independent bands that are continuing to build and stay connected with their fanbase are selling units with a majority of the net sales going directly back to them. Additionally, we are seeing an increase in the demand for more creative merchandising and “fan experience” packages that allow fans to become more of a part of the Artist beyond seeing them live. Artists will continue to create bundles of items from everything to clothing, albums and artwork to backstage passes, meet and greets and free tickets, allowing fans a variety of choices and the ability to create their own personal experience.
Nancy Alenier is the co-founder of A-Tone Music, an Asheville, North Carolina-based music company. A-Tone’s services evolved from concert promotions, music writing, performing, and DJ experience, as well as in response to musicians clamoring for help filling gaps in the commercial side of their careers. Nancy also performs in the band Jr. James & the Late Guitar, whose cover of “I’m Into Something Good” was featured on the Juno Deluxe Edition soundtrack.
MusicBiz TextNote July 4, 2110
Looking back over the tumultuous century during which the music industry transformed from the record company model to the democratized everyone-is-a-record-company reality of 2110, it’s clear that these three developments made all the difference:
1) Medici Act of 2016. When the U.S. Congress, prodded by President
Bono (the Constitutional Amendment of 2014 allowed the Irishman to run for office), passed a law guaranteeing musicians a living stipend and free access to all recording studios, fan-funded projects became obsolete.
2) The Bank/Device Merger of 2036. When GoogTubeFaceBank developed the
MentaPhone, which scanned brainwaves via cellphone use and paid musicians royalties for every “can’t get that song out of my head” play-thought, many composers, especially those skilled in the art of the pop hook, saw their revenues climb astronomically.
3) The 2084 demise of Rock Band, Guitar Hero and Karaoke during the
50-Year Neo-Luddite Culture Wars. By the time instrument makers hired guerrillas to bomb karaoke bars throughout Eurasia, the writing was on the wall for game-based music. But the 4-D Fan Hologram technology developed by Sony proved to be an even more popular way for bands and fans to interact.
The now-ubiquitous technology allows a select fan to “perform” with the band “live” on stage via hologrammic upload through the band’s website.
In the meantime, musicians had to rely on writing a good song.
Mitch Weiss, founder of MW Entertainment Group, is a long-time Union member of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers, having managed Broadway shows like A Chorus Line and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and musical performers such as Village People, Ari Gold and Karen Mason. He is the author of “Managing Artists in Pop Music” (Allworth Press) and teaches management at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
If a million new artists promoted themselves with blogs and Twitter, then next year 20 million will do so. There is a limited audience, my friends. It is about being the next thing that is “ahead of the curve”, and always has been.
So whatever new app makes its way to your computer device, it is still first and foremost about making the best music that the world has not yet heard. A “hit” will find its own path – whether the old way (through A&R people) or the new way (online).
Fans want things for free – which is why they love the free Internet communication that you provide them. But a year from now when you’re still broke and you have the same 100 die-hard fans, you’ll wonder what happened to your career.
As a long-time manager of both well-known and young aspiring musical acts, I believe that it is about your creative product, your live performance charisma that will BUILD fans. Marketing comes later – and hopefully a professional marketing person will offer his/her services because your music knocked them over.
Your fans are exploring their favorite genres online looking for new and exciting music that speaks to them. Are you giving them your vision or just last year’s songs? What are you doing to be worth the fans you want to build?
Share your point of view and personal experience about this topic. We are always looking to hear from our readers!