According to this Hypebot article: Selling to Fans? Think L.I.V.E., Glenn Peoples of Billboard and Brian Peterson of Bandbox recommended on a SXSW panel that “the key to more sales from fans is to think L.I.V.E.”
Offer products that are limited in time and/or quantity.
Interact regularly with the fans.
Add more value or discount the product.
Sell to your core fans first.
So is this really all there is to making more sales? Is this going to work?
First, before I answer that, I am a little bit disappointed at Hypebot’s lack of comment on this. It feels like they’re just taking something that was shoveled into their faces at SXSW and passing it on without even offering to smell it first, and give their opinion. Hypebot’s website says “music. technology. the new music business.” If this is the advice for the “new music business” then we are in a lot of trouble.
Not to say that the things in this little acronym are a bad idea, but the problem comes in the execution, and that’s a pretty big problem.
Let’s break it down starting from the beginning.
1. Limited – Offer products that are limited in time and/or quantity – Great idea, offer away. Do all the offering you can on your 16 different social networks and spam the whole world! You might say “but it’s not spam if my music is good.” Trust me I feel you 100%, the problem is there’s no way for people to tell by looking at a link. It may not be auditory spam, but it is visual spam. Again, not to say that it’s not a good idea to have this kind of content, maybe sitting on your website. The problem is you have to promote your website, and right now, that means spam. That’s just how the web is set up currently. There needs to be a change.
2. Interaction – Interact regularly with the fans – Another great idea…the only problem is how do I get fans? Right now there’s a couple of options. I can play shows, I can somehow get on the radio, and I can spam people online. Probably the best out of these is to play shows, but this may not be the best for getting those fans to come to your website. It works pretty well, but the conversion ratio could be bigger.
It would always be better to get someone who is already online to come and listen to your stuff, because then while they’re listening they can check out everything else you have to offer, and you can engage in conversation with them like this tip is suggesting. The radio works just as well as shows because you can hear the music first and foremost, rather than staring at a link and not knowing if you like it or not, but the radio is a pretty tough safe to crack for most indie artists, and even then, conversion will not be what it could be.
3. Value – Add more value or discount the product. First of all, this is always a good idea, but let’s not forget that many people still refuse to even pay at all for music, even if it’s a great value. The reason is there’s just so many places, such as the sixtyone, or pandora, where music can be listened to for free, that to pay just to listen to music seems like a stupid notion now. It’s not that these people wouldn’t pay for your music if they heard it and loved it and the price was low, it’s just that they wouldn’t even be in a situation where they would pay for music in the first place, so it’s hard to reach them at all.
Unless you’re giving away free streaming like on thesixtyone, you probably won’t find many new fans online, and if you do give away free streams, then there’s no reason for people to buy it when they can already listen for free. Also any time something is streamed online, it can be ripped, whether you know/like it or not. Trust me, if it plays, it can be taken.
4. Exclusive – Sell to your core fans first. Okay by now you’ve probably realized that the problems with the above 3 all have to do with the problem that this helpful tip obviously neglected. How do you get fans?? In other words, how can you effectively promote yourself? We’ve been through this in #2. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a million more times until it’s changed – The current web environment is not set up to handle music promotion. Independent artists promoting online are fighting one hell of an uphill battle.
Again, kind of disappointed in Hypebot’s lack of commenting on any of this, although I’m not really surprised by the speakers not going more in depth. That seems to be the trend with the mainstream – cover up the problems with weak distractions. What is wrong with these people? Sorry..
These are some pretty serious problems I know, however there are very logical, practical solutions to every single problem I’ve named above, including piracy. It’s called Beat-Play, and it’s a new environment(social network) designed to give indie artists natural and effective ways of promoting their music to the masses, using the network properly, specifically for music, and not spamming people. We also give artists a way to make money by simply giving their music away for free, based on ad revenue generated by popularity. We promote artists for free in effective ways, and then if they are successful and people like their music, they can get paid while the fans share all they want for free.
We are only a few months away from beta testing(hopefully May). We should start testing internally this month. If you would like to sign up to beta test, go to http://MusicWithoutLabels.com For more info on Beat-Play, you can check out the About section of this blog.
Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC