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Jason Spitz
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Hi Don, Thanks for your comments. You're right, cash flow and capitalization are crucial. I wonder if band-centric bands will ever be as successful at raising investment capital as other more traditional businesses. However, your disagreement with the premise of my article kind of misses the point. You can't just "make your band a business". By their very nature, the two organizations of "band" and "business" serve different purposes. Here's how I delineate them: - The band should be focused on creating great music, evolving creatively, and relating to the fan base. Money shouldn't factor into the band's core output, otherwise it detracts from the quality. - The business should be focused on converting fans to customers, creating & selling quality products from the music that the band produces, and charting a strategic course to profitability.
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2011 on Are You Building A Band Or A Business? at hypebot
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Darren is basically right -- the "double opt-in" is not technically a legal requirement, but it's among the standard best practices of online marketing. All legitimate e-commerce services use it because it results in a measurably more-qualified email list. By forcing fans to jump through that one little hoop, you get a much better-performing email list and a clearer picture of who your real fans are. Anyone who runs an online business knows this is worth the effort. RE: the word "free", Topspin refers to our widget as "E4M", or "email-for-media". Is that an accurate enough description for you?
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2010 on Why Email For MP3 Exchanges Fail at hypebot
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One follow-up note: $1 albums will not "solve" piracy. It's like the "war on drugs": people who want free music will find a way to get it, and neither lawsuits nor low prices will stop them. The real concern should be how artists can grow a loyal fan-base and offer them products that they're willing to pay for. Write the freeloaders off as a marketing expense, cuz they're not going away.
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2010 on Should New Albums Cost $1? at hypebot
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It's pointless to try to adjust prices across-the-board, because the value of music varies from artist to artist, based on their audience. That being said, there is some merit to running a $1 promotion for a short time. Giving away a whole album for free makes it seem like the music is worthless, so fewer people will take advantage of the offer (that's why Craigslist's "free" section is always overflowing with old couches). Charging $10 for an album puts a big barrier up to potential new fans. But $1 is an impulse-buy price that many people would go for (hence the popularity of $0.99 iPhone apps). One of Topspin's aritsts, Fanfarlo, did exactly that: for one month, they offered a brand-new album (with bonus tracks) digitally for a dollar. Their fans got really psyched and generated a ton of energy & buzz about the deal, which got new fans interested and gave them an easy, cheap way to get a taste of the music. Later that year, the band released that same album on CD, vinyl, and special edition, and 30% of those who bought the $1 MP3 version bought the album AGAIN in a physical format. So not only did the band make a little cash from their $1 promotion, they identified a core group of fans who really loved them and were willing to spend money. More details on this campaign here: http://www.topspinmedia.com/2009/09/the-fanfarlo-four-step/ Long story short -- offering an album for $1 can work, if you do it right. It's not a magic bullet, but it can be a great weapon in your arsenal.
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2010 on Should New Albums Cost $1? at hypebot
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@B Skrilla: a more accurate headline would have been "Why SOME" Email For MP3 Exchanges Fail". I think Corey's point is that artists should make it as easy and widespread as possible for potential fans to join the email list. Embedding an email-for-media widget on all your websites (homepage, Myspace, facebook, etc) is a good step. If you're reaching out to bloggers to write about your music, it's not a bad idea to send them the code and request that they embed your widget in their post. Topspin's email-collection widget functions well because it doesn't steer the user away from the page they're on. Email is still the highest-converting marketing channel on the internet, so it's extremely important for a band to build a large, highly-qualified database.
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2010 on Why Email For MP3 Exchanges Fail at hypebot
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Rosso makes some good points, but a statement like "there will be no new players of significance" in the music business is WAY too fatalistic, and (I believe) totally incorrect. First off, let's make a clear distinction between the "music business" and the "market for recorded music". Now, recorded music as a commodity has been severely devalued. It's in limitless supply, can be easily obtained for free and amassed in mindblowing quantity, and has less entertainment value* than a DVD (several hours of visual & aural content) or a video game (dozens of hours of interactive play). The market for music-as-a-good is extremely small, and nobody can build a business on it by itself. However, music's value is not contained in its physical (or digital) media. Cultural impact, emotional resonance, people's personal relationship to art and how it connects them to each other - in those less-concrete realms, music still has GREAT value, as much as it ever did before. People LOVE music, and they always will. The challenge is to offer them goods they value and are willing to pay for, like an experience (i.e. live shows or meet-and-greets), a rare/unique item (i.e. autographed setlist), or something they can use to display their fandom (i.e. t-shirt or poster). Every artist can craft something unique to their fan-base, and with modern tools like Topspin, they can sell and market directly to those fans, establishing a channel of consistent revenue and loyal customers. There will ABSOLUTELY be new players in the music business, because its place at the nexus of passion, art, and technology is too interesting for smart young tech-heads to pass up. Innovation will continue, and that engine will drive some major players to success. I don't know who they are yet, but I know they're coming. @snfubar: ROI takes time to build up to, and just like with TV, the market is migrating to web-based streaming slowly but surely. An ad-supported model will be viable eventually, it's just not happening fast enough to placate today's impatient investors. But that's a problem with the investors, not the services. Patience, intelligence, and a great product will win in the end. *purely in terms of quantity, not quality -- many of my favorite albums are far more enriching & enjoyable than a movie or videogame
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Oct 5, 2010