Prince announced today that his European tour this summer will never leave England. In fact, it will never leave London. The pop singer has committed to a 21-date all-London tour, starting in August.
That was the first curve-ball, but the singer also announced that tickets will be set at 31.21 pounds (approx. $69). The cheapo tickets also come with a free gift, a copy of his latest CD, 3121.
The cheap tix and free CD just encourage positive word-of-mouth from concert-goers for both the concert itself, and Prince's music. Prince is simply making it easier for his fans to engage in an activity that they were going to perform anyway. Which in turn gives his fans further incentive to promote his music to others. Enthusiasm is contagious.
But this isn't Prince's first creative promotion. When 3121 was released last March, Prince included a free ticket in 7 random copies of the CD. Not just any tickets, these 7 tickets gave the lucky winner free airfare to Minneapolis, Minnesota (Prince's hometown), where the pop singer entertained the group with a private concert.
Which begs the question; Why do companies seem to focus on getting more customers, while music artists seem to focus on getting more fans?
Thanks to the lovely CK for giving me a heads-up on this.
G makes a great point in the comments: "music artists want fans, labels want customers: again this is where the music industry get its current problem with the decrease of cd sales and the legal issues and etc.etc. "
UPDATE: Lewis blogs about the state of the music industry.
The Viral Garden, Marketing, Music Marketing, Prince
"Which begs the question; Why do companies seem to focus on getting more customers, while music artists seem to focus on getting more fans?"
Good question. It could be that artists have learned (as Prince has been around a while) how important those long-term connections are. Or perhaps companies feel that they won't be able to attain the type of 'connection' that artists-fans do.
While I'm not going to go ga-ga over a product, like I am a concert or new LP per se, my most trusted brands are important to me. So both brands and artists (which is a brand) are of value to me...though music definitely creates a deeper, richer and more emotional connection.
Another thing i find interesting is that by reducing the ticket cost and giving a free cd for attending- for fans who go to see him twice, they've now got 2 CDs. Assuming they don't already have one, they're now more likely than not going to give that CD to someone else, thus causing more WOM and a potential new fan.
I love your posts on the musci industry. You tap right into my center. Let me respond to your question with two questions and then some thoughts.
Aren't customers and fans the same? When does a fan become a customer?
Most artists sell CDs at their concerts, so they want customers, right?. And record companies often market, schedule and arrange tours, so they want fans to attend concerts, hoping they become customers, don't they?. The bottom line: Both business and artist want fans and customers, and might just use different words to identify the same people.
When I decide to attend a concert, I am a fan. As soon as I buy the ticket, I am a customer. The same can be said about the purchase of a CD, no matter the price.
As for Prince's altruism: Lots of people had to agree to his marketing strategy before it could be implemented. Each is a player supporting the artist, because he is capable of generating ticket and CD sales. So don't all these people and Prince want customers. (Yes, there are exceptions, such as Barenaked Ladies. And because of their business model, they don't have the same potential for generating fans as does Prince, whose business model has been one designed to grow his brand not one designed to give away his product.)
Any of these ramblings make sense? I just ran a piece about the music industry. Check it out. I don't seem to be able to find a way to trackback to you or I would.
"Aren't customers and fans the same? When does a fan become a customer?"
Lewis I equate a 'fan' of a particular artist as being the same as a customer evangelist. This is why think companies need to shift their mindset from creating more customers, to creating more evangelists. Then the evangelists can market for the company.
But the fear of losing control over their marketing message is likely exactly why companies don't want to do this. Their loss.
i'd like to comment at lewis point:
Both business and artist want fans and customers, and might just use different words to identify the same people.
i disagree with this quote.
business wanted and still want customers. only recently business has seen that it cannot feed up its customers without limit, but that it has to talk with them (not to them). that's why mack is right when says that a lot of business is missing this train.
music artists want fans, labels want customers: again this is where the music industry get its current problem with the decrease of cd sales and the legal issues and etc.etc.
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