Monday, May 15, 2006

Trust can remove the need for marketing

If ever there was an example of why you need to read a blog's comments, check out this gem I found on HorsePigCow in reply to one of Tara's posts:
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


Ryan said...

It's all about the community.

Like you said, Apple, Harley-Davidson have created that 'community' that's so important. Likewise for brands like JetBlue and Saturn - it's almost a cult-like devotion to the brand. How powerful is that?!

Consider Saturn. Every year they hold an owners-only 'festival' at their head office / main plant. They get Saturn owners from across the country coming to this thing, and CAMPING OUT for a few days. They eat hot dogs, have fun, and talk amongst fellow members of this loyal, tight-knit community. Wow.

Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the write-up. I'm incredibly stoked about what we're seeing with our community of listeners; it's a new area for indie bands, and I think we're on the forefront, which is both cool and very scary at the same time.

Mack Collier said...

Ryan that's in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Do they still do that? Maybe JD would know.

Mack Collier said...

Jeremy it's really a great story how The Favorites have embraced their MySpace community. What you are doing is so simple and SHOULD be what every band/company/brand is trying to do, making the customers a community of friends.

I wish you all the best, hopefully in a few years you guys will be huge rock stars(if that's what you want), and you'll be the case study for how to successfully market your band on MySpace.

Anonymous said...

It's not that we're actively seeking to be huge rockstars; we'd mostly just like to be able to get our music out there in front of as many people as possible, and make a living doing so. We've all been doing this a long, long time, and so we've been able to take all that we've learned in the past and apply them to our current efforts, and we're really seeing some cool movement going on.