J. Botter said...
I constantly get messages and calls from other bands, wondering how we've been able to successfully "market" the band to a huge audience, score 3,000 downloads of our new EP, and have a MySpace audience that ranges all ages across the entire world.
The truth is, we're not marketing. When we first started doing this thing and were making decisions about how we wanted to get our music out there, I knew that we wanted to use alternative distribution methods. Yes, we want to get a record deal, but the record deal is not the be-all-end-all for us.
Instead of "marketing" to "fans", we just stayed in contact and tried to turn each listener into a friend, a friend that could then join our little community and give us feedback on our music. We created a band policy to personally respond to each email and MySpace message that is sent to us, no matter how many we recieve per day and no matter how childish the message may be. My view is that if we listen to the community, then we can better understand what our community as a whole likes to hear, what they like to see, and then we can tailor ourselves to that a little bit. It's not about creating more fans or holding market shares; it's about a love of music and a connection via that love of music with people who will support you no matter what the cost.
We started doing the community thing about six months ago, and the "results" have been fabulous. We've yet to play a single show under our new band name and haven't played a show together at all in almost five years, but we're still on the top ten of unsigned artists every single day on MySpace. I truly believe it's because we've applied these Pinko techniques that you talk about so much; the band is living proof that creating a community is so much better than treating people like you're above them just because you play in a band that they happen to enjoy.
Almost by default, musicians are members of the same community that their music is sold to. And as Jeremy says above, it's about sharing a love and passion for the same music. Practically every artist and their fans have this bond.
Think of how rare this connection is in other businesses. How many companies can you think of that have customers that are as devoted to their products as the company itself is? Apple with the iPod comes to mind, maybe Harley Davidson, but the examples are few and far between.
This is why music marketing has always intrigued me, because really there is a totally different dynamic at work than with 'conventional' marketing in a 'conventional' marketplace. Musicians being in the same community with their fans changes everything. Both parties share a passion for the artist's music. A connection is made and trust is developed. Trust greatly lessens and can even eliminate the need for marketing. Trust happens in a place where there is communication, which leads to understanding. That place is the community.
But first you have to create that community. Jeremy and his band are well on their way to doing this, and as you can see above, the community is embracing what they are building.
Jeremy's band is called The Favorites, and here's their MySpace page. You can download their entire debut CD for free between now and June 1, there's info on how to do this at their website.
Pic via MetLinkMelbourne