Superfans and PledgeMusic

pledgemusicI totally get artists concentrating on their superfans though it does sometimes feel like fans are being taken advantage of and potential new fans are being ignored but I think there is a far bigger issue than that. I’ve yet to see any convincing strategy for new artists to build up the kind of fan bases that the older established artists have garnered under of course the old regime of record companies, labels and record shops. Current experts talk a good game but the gathering of emails and other info can not replace the loyalty built up by more traditional methods as was done a decade or more ago. Even the Arctic Monkeys are now seasoned veterans of ten years or more.

There is a reason that the PledgeMusic model has moved towards established bands preselling their releases and that is that is what works best. For small bands trying to convince strangers to support them PledgeMusic will at best only have a marginal efect. It wouldn’t surprise me if a whole load of stats were produced to prove otherwise but then proof that these new models work rely very heavily on figures and very little on “real world” success.

In the real world small bands and labels regularly tell me that the vinyl revival has done them no favours and that building a sustainable fan base has never been harder. Even for bigger bands if sales are very fan based then their album is soon forgotten and only for a band like Primal scream does the model work well with hardcore fans catered for by PledgeMuisc and the larger casual fan base then served by HMV and Amazon. Despite his best intentions and efforts Benji Rogers’ PledgeMusic may very well have done more harm to new/small bands than the good that was intended.   

2 Responses to “Superfans and PledgeMusic”

  • “Dear CEO, Publisher, Producer, Editor, Author, Journalist, Advertising Director, Filmmaker … They’re not coming back. Traditional consumers aren’t coming back. Print advertising isn’t coming back. Media, brands, and the established narratives aren’t coming back. And almost everyone will eventually make this transition. I’m not going to wake up one day and say, “Hey, the Web isn’t for me, I’m going to start buying CDs, print books, and newspapers again.” I’m among the new era of consumers and contributors, and we’re looking for new forms of content and storytelling. Where it doesn’t exist, we’re going to find it elsewhere, make it ourselves, or, in some instances, just take it…

    As unsettling as it may sound, we need to accept that we are not simply selling content. We’re not selling the words on the page or the images on the screen; instead we’re selling an entire experience. The content we create and sell is just one segment of a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle…

    As we move to the next iteration of storytelling, as a great flattening is taking place between consumer and creator, the medium will no longer be the message. The medium will be pervasive. The message will be amateur, professional, and infinite. And it will all exist as a mutual collection of bytes, snacks, and meals…

    As distribution channels become extinct and irrelevant and the ubiquity of new devices gives way to truly amalgamated communications, the new commodities will be length, aggregation, immediacy, and niche. It’s not enough to sit idly by, ignoring and quieting the employee inside your company who doesn’t buy CDs anymore, or canceled her cable television, or started playing video games instead of reading a book, or stopped buying the print edition of the newspaper. These people are trying to tell you about the future and how it works. It’s up to you to listen. It’s time to reorganize, rethink, and get back to the business of storytelling. Sincerely, Nick Bilton”

    There are niche, new and indie artists breaking through each and every day. EDM to a certain extent is leading the way. The closest thing we have to punk rock today. Anarchic, chaotic and urgent.

    Any artist today is competing with free and that is a good thing. Because it levels the playing field. Not one artist today stand less of a chance if they are great. But if they are trying to send faxes to a bunch of snapchatters then they are simply not engaging on a level that these fans understand.

    Why should anyone else own that connection? Fans don’t need more music, more ways to consume or more things. They need reasons. The break out artists on Pledge aren’t hitting the main stream channels but they re hitting their channels. This gives them the ability to tell stories long after the mighty platforms die.

    Success looks different today. It’s not as obvious to the “mainstream.” But that doesn’t make it any less relevant to those who make or enjoy it.

  • “It” being music.
    Typed at 35,000 feet on iPhone quoting from Amazon Kindle version on Nick Bilton’s remarkable “I Live In The Future & Here’s How It Works” and sent with love.

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