One of the things I’m most grateful about is that I’ve done so many varied things in life, that I’m able to borrow ideas and apply concepts to my music from completely different sectors.
I pass on those ideas to you, and it means I can create different ways of doing things due to the influence of non music industry ideas.
For this reason, it always puzzles me when entrepreneurs are given a mentor, and it’s somebody from the exact same world.
In fact, I tend to think everyone needs TWO mentors. One from their own world to deal with the in depth stuff that only someone else more experienced in your sector would know – and one who is completely outside your field to bring all the ideas from other worlds that you’d simply never have thought about.
I love that I can be those two mentors to you with the advice I give.
So with that in mind, I’ve been working on a project behind the scenes that is the culmination of a lot of my recent thinking, and something I am bringing to life for my own music.
Then lo and behold, I see something in my inbox this morning that chimes with much of that thinking.
Albums – The Good And The Bad
You see, I feel torn about albums. Firstly, I like them. They are a great tangible thing to release. My fans still love them. They are a news story for journalists to write about. They get you invited on to radio shows and so on. The media loves stuff that’s new. So your new album will help you get some coverage.
Your fans love the event of new albums too.
But your fans also want the exact opposite. They want to hear from you regularly. They don’t want to have to wait a year or more to hear more music from you. They want more of you! You’re a music fan too. You know how it is.
Yet there is a way to offer the event of an album, and give the constant drip that the superfan craves.
Artist As Entrepreneur
As an artist you have a dilemma too.
Your job is to connect directly with fans. That takes work or maybe some promotion money, or both. When you find someone who his prepared to back you financially, do you really want them to give you $10 for an album and that be the extent of your sale?
Think of how a small business owner works. He or she knows that the contract that gets them repeat business for the one successful pitch is far better than a one off contract.
When one sale means many payments, that beats the one sale that gets you paid just once. After all, every sale is the same amount of effort and resources. So it may as well be a sale that keeps on giving.
A Different Model
This is why many business models are based on subscriptions. Think of your TV for instance. There’s a good chance you pay a monthly fee for your favourite shows.
So I’m pleased that Bandcamp are now offering a subscription service for musicians. They announced it today so I’m passing it on to you straight away! Here’s the details.
I’m on the verge of launching my own subscription service for my music that I’ve built myself – and I think my solution is better and more personal and intimate, and will save me a lot of commission (Bandcamp will take 15% of your earnings!)
But it’s still a great step forward for musicians, because it means you can very easily use a service that gets you paid over and over again from the same fan.
Word of warning
One word of warning though. This is not a recipe for riches. It is essentially just the technical tools to get this up and running fast.
You still have to find the fans. You still have to devise an irresistible offer to get them to sign up. You still have to offer smart things in terms of your own capacity to deliver given the fact that time is naturally limited. You still have to get the pricing right so you’re not either driving people away or leaving a ton of money on the table. You still have to decide what the fans who don’t join up still get from you.
So all the key “business strategy” questions remain. And in many ways they are much more important than the tech.
So setting this up on its own isn’t enough to be a success. But you do now have the techie tools to enable you to get paid over and over again from the same fan, and that in itself is a potential game changer for musicians.
Note: I do not receive any commission whatsoever from Bandcamp. These comments are given from the heart. Nor have I used their subscription service – it’s brand new! So this is a signpost rather than a recommendation.
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