After watching a video that was posted from the 2009 MIDEM convention, where speaker Michael Masnik of the company Floor 64/ Techdirt got up and spoke on behalf of recording artist, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, I was inspired to write this article and post my own thoughts about our ever changing music industry. Their have been so many ideas about what we can do to stop all the free downloads that have been hurting sales of CD’s and costing the record labels, millions of dollars a year. But really none of them compare to how TR has come up with a solution, that interacts with his fans, and has created a revenue stream that works for him and his peers.
As in any business, you have to have a good business model to think that your going to have any sort of success in what it is your offering. In the music industry, your key source to having any success, is building a strong fan base. That has always been the case. In the past, before the internet was a big part of our lives everything was done hard mail. You would have your fan club address printed on the sleeve of your CD or LP depending on what era you came from and the true fans that actually read those sleeves would sign up to receive info of up and coming concerts, release dates of new recordings, merchandise or just get a quick note from the artist telling the fans what they are up to. That business model has always worked and will always be the core to good business.
But now with the ever growing internet, where everything we do in our lives is either posted, blogged, forumed or MySpaced, there are many different ways to market yourself. It has also giving opportunity to have someone take your music for free, which is why I’m writing this article in the first place. But what TR has done to sort of control the bleeding is he has giving his fans free downloads of his music which has brought his fans to his site in the millions. He has created this sort of game of clue, where he had encrypted a message on his tour t-shirts that when you put the letters together, it took you to a web site saying he has left concert tickets in a wash some where in Los Angeles, to create a search for the holy grail, to get great seats and a couple of back stage passes. He has dropped USB sound bytes of new songs in bathroom stalls at the concerts for fans to find, which all leads to great marketing and connecting with his fans, which then leads them to buy exclusive merchandise and recordings. The most important thing here folks, is making the fans the most important thing. When you create a buzz about yourself or in this case, create a real time game with the fans, you are becoming something bigger then your product your trying to sell. That’s where loyalty comes in.
Trent Reznor has started a trend to teach new bands and other well know bands, how to market themselves out of the box. I hope this is a wave others will catch and learn how to take their talents to the next level. It’s all up to you.