The Time is Right for Direct-To-Fan Marketing of Music

By Jason Feinberg, June 24, 2009

As the music industry continues to evolve and search for a sustainable and profitable business model, the direct-to-fan (D2F) approach is making great advances, from artists just starting their career up to superstars with massive fan bases.

Artists marketing and selling directly to their audience is not necessarily a new or revolutionary concept -- one can find examples of artists offering their products to customers directly in every generation of music. For established artists, it is used as a way to inexpensively leverage all the awareness they have amassed. For evolving artists, it is often a necessity. Without a label and distributor, the usual options for new artists have been selling music at live shows, selling through fan clubs or sympathetic indie record stores -- or sometimes just selling out of the trunk of a car (which is how N.W.A. got started). But today, advances in technology have opened up exciting new avenues for direct-to-fan sales.


Direct-to-fan sales and marketing have seen a significant spike in recent years thanks to a number of factors. First, technology has given artists at all levels the opportunity to sell and market to their fans in a clear, inexpensive, engaging fashion online. Second, many emerging artists see less value in signing to a label and instead choose to steer clear of entangling contractual obligations. Finally, established artists are choosing not to renew their label contracts at a record pace, realizing that the brand they have developed can be leveraged without a label. All of these situations benefit greatly from direct-to-fan initiatives.


This article originally appeared in MediaShift , a blog by Jason Feinberg

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