[Manic Monday] Your Fans Are Your Monetization Strategy [Part 2]
I’m revisiting this article simply because it just touched the surface on how fans of any type of creative content, which could be movies, music, games, software and so on. The decentralized nature of the internet has helped make a lot of things simpler – production, aggregation, distribution, payment – and many internet-based services can help you with these needs cheaply or even for free. The trick is, since every creative content is unique and probably has a similarly unique fan base or consumer segment, you need to come up with the business strategy behind it yourself.
Some relativelyestablishedbands have full-fledged websites that have band info, tour schedules, news and even a merchandise section. This by no means is not the only thing a band should do, as they should maintain presence and communication on the various social networks, keep up doing shows and gigs (whether it is at a club, or a Google+ Hangout session) to keep the fans happy (emphasis on ‘keep the fans happy’).
This strategy works for bands that have a clear segment or niche and a much more loyal fanbase with a comparatively higher engagement rate with the band or artist. Having a more established means of making money will help, since all of the above will cost money.
For bands just starting out, spending money for a full-fledged website and the ongoing maintenance may be expensive, but there are many tools online to help you build something for cheap or free.
Sites like Official.fm make it easy for bands to create a site, spread their work and even sell your music, directly to the fans And it runs proportional to the amount of money you make: if you make under $30 a month, it’s free, and only $5 per month if you make more than that. Soulblendr aims to sell band merchandise from any band, and even connect bands with designers to create unique merchandise to sell on the site.
I’ve yet to see a site that receives designs from bands, does the production and provides the online storefront to sell it, although Tees can support that if you’re only looking to sell t-shirts.
There is still the issue of connecting bands and brands – music is enjoyed by almost everybody, yet each have very specific tastes that usually can show age groups, demographics, interests – exactly the kind of thing brands are looking for.
Brands have been connecting with bands or artists for years through endorsement deals, but what if the power of connecting bands with brands could be done on a platform, at scale? This is something yet to built, although fan-powered sites like the upcoming Kincir.com will most likely try to facilitate this.
I’m sure this will work well for most bands, but I think most big name musicians would rather manage their brand relationships and endorsements directly, especially on a platform that connects with their fans.
Ultimately, if you work in music as a musician, your fans are your lifeline, and not the labels. This interesting Rollingstone article brings to light how working in music has changed – but it ultimately comes back on creating music that your fans will love.
Ario is a co-founder of Ohd.io, an Indonesian music streaming service. He worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at @barijoe or his blog
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