Band to Fan Relationships Drive New Music Business Models

Linda Thompson exploring fan funding for music initiativesLots of us have been intrigued by Kevin Kelly’s (no relation!) dissertation on 1,000 True Fans and his premise that you can make a decent living by cultivating 1,000 true fans who will pay you for your craft much easier than trying to make music that satisfies the craving of 6 billion people. These 1000 true fans will buy everything you produce and drive hundreds of miles to see your concerts. But in the digital world, you need to find new things to sell them besides T-shirts and concert tickets to make this work. That's where leveraging the relationship that fans want with you comes into play, and a number of artists, including some using our mobile fan club service, are inventing innovative, relationship-based “products” that provide real value to their true fans.

UK Folk Legend Linda Thompson recognizes the unique bond between her creativity and her audience desire for closer relations. Together with Artist Funding Agents The Hector Fund, she has recently begun a campaign to raise $50K to finance her new album direct from her fans and has partnered with Adva to take it mobile. Fans can donate anywhere between $10 and $100K, and at the higher levels, some really unique access to a music icon. Below is an example of her $20K offering:

$20,000 Magna Carta Level: The album, the limited poster, the visit to the studio, the Executive Producer credit, the VIP invite, the dinner with me and Teddy and a song written specifically for you or that special someone and recorded and performed by myself, Teddy, my daughter Kami and grandson Zak (soon to be heard of) Hobbs.

Josh Freese, ex Nine Inch Nails drummer, has a new album you can download for $7. But for $10,000, you get:

* Signed CD/DVD and digital download
* T-shirt
* Signed DW snare drum from A Perfect Circle’s 2003 tour
* Josh gives you a private drum lesson OR his and hers foot/back massage (couples welcome, discreet parking)
* Twiggy from Marilyn Manson’s band and Josh take you and a guest to Roscoe’s Chicken ‘n’ Waffles in Long Beach for dinner
* Josh takes you and a guest to Club 33 (the super-duper exclusive and private restaurant at Disneyland located above Pirates of the Caribbean) and then hit a couple rides afterward (preferably the Tiki Room, the Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror)
* At the end of the day at Disneyland, drive away in Josh’s Volvo station wagon. It’s all yours … take it. Just drop him off on your way home, though, please

Some of it tongue-in-cheek, maybe, but there's a limit of one of these prizes, and so some fan will have a unique experience with Josh that presumably no one else will have.

There’s a terrific opportunity to tie fans desire for digital goods (which can be duplicated ad infinitum) to scarce goods (merch, collector’s items, signed items, etc) to engage their favorite bands and to choose how much they’re willing to spend and get unique relationship with the artist for their money. Mobile can help, but it’s the concept that has me spinning.

To experiment with adding merchandise to your mobile fan club click here.

Jack Kelly, CEO

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