Posted on 16-09-2009
Filed Under (marketing and promotion) by Jon Stinson

Have you read Unleashing the Idea Virus or Tribes by Seth Godin? Or The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell? All very inspiring books about how truly great ideas can spread and gain traction when the right people are rallied around the idea.

Oceanship Artwork

Jackson’s Science Fair Project is the current living example of these books. I met a band from Canada a few weeks ago-Oceanship-through a friend of mine. Turns out there is a 7th grader, Jackson, who really likes this band, and has decided to connect people together by creating a tribe on Facebook. It’s all a part of a science fair project assignment he is completing for school.

This is a perfect example of how new marketing can be very powerful for the music industry. Jackson’s Science Fair Project has been very successful very quickly because it creates meaning, tells a story, and connects Oceanship fans to one another.

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Posted on 19-08-2009
Filed Under (marketing and promotion) by Jon Stinson

Matt McCloskey Album Cover

I’ve been trying to get around to writing this blog post since April. That’s the month my friend from college, Matt McCloskey, released his record. All along the way I’ve been very inspired by how he has gone about putting everything together-from the writing/recording process, to how he gives away his music, and employs a “participation is marketing” strategy to publicize everything. Matt gets it.

So I thought my opportunity to write about Matt releasing his record had escaped me, until he told me that he was about to go on the road.

These American Times

Matt put together a tour that is taking him and a band from Texas to New York and back, via Alabama, Tennessee, and Chicago. He’s thought up a theme of sorts to provide a story to the tour, and set up a website/blog where this story unfolds in pretty much real time.

These Times Won’t Last

On the recorded music front, Matt set up a website where you can either buy the record, or submit your email address and download the record for free. In this download, Matt even offered something I thought particularly forward-thinking. In addition to the standard mp3 format and the not-so-standard AAC format, he also included the option to download the record in full quality AIFF format. This is something I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails do as well, and although we do offer mp3, AAC, and FLAC via Radical Notion Digital, I have intentions to offer AIFF as well in the future. But it’s inspiring to see Matt making this available now, and acknowledging the value some people find in owning the full quality format (like us producers/engineers). That’s good marketing, friends.

Reason To Buy

So if you want a good illustration of an artist who gets it, and is employing marketing strategies that are relevant to music fans today, with examples of “participation is marketing,” and giving fans a reason to buy, add Matt McCloskey to your file of case studies.

Check out the links below, and if Matt is coming through your town on his tour, go out and see him. And tell him I said hey.

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Posted on 07-07-2009
Filed Under (marketing and promotion) by Jon Stinson

FREE Book Cover

I’ve been anticipating this book for a while now (I don’t think I realized how much, actually). Today, as the book comes out in the United States, I’ve been reading some blog posts. I thought I’d share some quick thoughts as I prepare to read FREE: The Future of a Radical Price.

When Chris Anderson first started talking about the economics of free, it naturally piqued my interest as Radical Notion (independent media), my startup, is a company which uses various versions of free as one of the core concepts of it’s business model. Chris Anderson’s discussions on free have been very exciting to me, as it put a name and economic model around many of the strategies on the cutting edge of the music industry. Strategies in which I have found inspiration for my own company. Namely, strategies which bands like Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails have acted as leaders for many other bands which are now developing very similar strategies.

I just watched a video of Rich Fahle interviewing Chris Anderson for Borders, discussing his new book. There are a lot of interesting ideas touched on in this interview that I can hardly wait read more about as I study the book. There were a couple of the things I thought particularly interesting in the video, though. One was hearing more of Chris’s thoughts on this idea of “freemium.” And the other was that (according to Chris) people who are over 30 tend to not believe in the idea of free as a business model, and people under 30 say, “no duh” to the idea of free as a business model.

Something that I whole heartedly disagree with, however, happens around the 5:10 mark where Rich Fahle says, “you can’t turn to an expert anymore, in this model that you’re describing, to do all that background business work. It sounds like what you’re describing is you gotta be a business man. If you’re an artist, you also have to be a business manager.”

Of course I totally disagree with this. I think that today, an artist needs a manager in a way that they have never needed one before. They need someone who thinks radically enough to direct their career in a way that is relevant to the changed establishment. To be successful in today’s music world, it is most important to find a manager who not only will pursue and/or invent new ways to harness the power of free (among an infinite number of other new marketing concepts), but an artist needs to find a manager who realizes that it is their obligation to protect this strategy at all costs. Because there will be others who want to partner or invest in the artist, then water down the strategy.

I recommend you watch the video (total length 15:02) [] Pay attention around 5:35 when Chris says, “Radical Notion.” I love when things like this happen!

Also, in honor of “walking the talk” of the book, Chris Anderson has partnered with a few companies to offer several ways to consume the book:

For what it’s worth, I think I’ll opt to purchase the book, acquiring the “freemium” version. Nothing like being able to actually touch and smell a creative work.

Got any other links/thoughts/etc about Chris Anderson’s new book, FREE: The Future of a Radical Price? Please post comments.

Talk with you tomorrow, where we’ll get back to our usual discussion of making records.

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