by Benjamin

The New Music Industry (Part 3): Direct-to-Fan Solution Analysis

Posted on April 12, 2010

crowd-silhouetteThe concept of direct-to-fan (D2F) is one of the more “right on” ideas that have arisen since the rise of Napster. Every successful artist at some point in his or her career has utilized the concepts in which the idea of direct-to-fan is based on. Nothing drives a fan to spend money more than having close access to a person they adore or look up to. If a fan of a band at a show gets pulled on stage by the lead singer for even just 15 seconds, I’m willing to bet that the chances of that fan purchasing an album or merchandise increases by over 30%. It’s that direct connection that brings a fan to support an artist. As the major label “power houses” begin to fade, and the rise of the independent artist comes to fruition, empowering artists to be directly supported by their fans becomes a necessity.

In this day an age, the entrepreneurial mindset is to create a business capable of doing this in a way that is accessible to artists of all levels. Three companies stand out as leading charge in the direct-to-fan race: Bandzoogle, Topspin and Nimbit.

Overall, these three companies provide their own unique advantages and disadvantages. To find what works for you, the best choice may be in selecting and choosing small pieces of what each company has to offer. The bottom line is that artists are beginning to be empowered with the technology to take their careers into their own hands; launching themselves to a level previously though unobtainable by the independent artist.

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One Response to “The New Music Industry (Part 3): Direct-to-Fan Solution Analysis”

  1. Scott
    Apr 14, 2010

    Ben –

    You raise some interesting points here, but a few things to consider:

    1. Direct to Fan is as old as the music biz, not just “since Napster.” Artists would always travel town to town trying to promote/sell their stuff. Years later, the major label system shifted that model to a strictly “beginner” focus. Success, they said, came through them and their marketing/promotion machines. Not to mention their shady accounting. With the advent of the Internet, the individual could go back to that older, previous direct model but with far greater efficiency thus negating the need (and profit margins!) for the major labels.

    2. Bandzoogle isn’t really a direct to fan company — their focus is letting bands make their own websites. Everything else is actually secondary to that (as far as Bandzoogle is concerned…) Other companies in the direct to fan space include Audiolife, Bandcamp, and ReverbNation.

    3. You’re advocating choosing pieces of each company to see what works for you — but that seems like questionable advice. Doing so would spread your “business” across multiple, and possibly incompatible, platforms. That could end up costing more money, time, and effort than the artist/manager has.

    4. You’re 100% right that access is key — that’s the downfall of the majors. By operating on such a HUGE scale, they lose the ability to do anything intimate or direct. It’s not profitable for them. But in the direct to fan model, it makes total sense…

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