One day I was conversing with the artist representation of a former member of the horror punk band the Misfits. We discussed the current state of the music industry and the reliance on live performances, merch and the frequent release of new content to remain relevant and relatively lucrative in today’s less than optimal entertainment industry. With the current onslaught of competitive and low to no pay streaming services cropping up, the resale value of original music has diminished returns to the artist.
With venues struggling with operational costs and the toughening of drinking laws getting fans out to fill seats has proven to be challenging.
Immediately my thoughts jumped to a social media campaign as an attempt to get the word out and increase awareness and market share. Quickly I was corrected that in actuality management and the artist honestly had a well designed and almost foolproof plan of catering to the existing loyal fanbase and giving them exactly what they wanted.
Management determined that this artist had 10,000 diehard loyal fans and these fans were consumers. It was conceivable each fan had an anticipated annual cash outlay of a similar amount and using that estimated amount as the multiplier a living wage could be obtained for the artist and team. Semi frequent shows were booked at area venues this fanbase was known to frequent. 1,000 person venues were turned down in favor of venues with a 100–400 person capacity.
With smaller venues the chances of a sold out show increase as brand value is accelerated. Venues desire sold out shows to increase merchandise sales and concessions and fans generally rush to purchase tickets fearing a sellout.
With strategic planning of tour date linearly planned with album releases and new touring merch the artist can almost guarantee an estimate yield from each fan or show. Ironically when I asked about the quantity of albums pressed again a well planned answer was received. The quantities released were again based on the fan based and knowledge of quantities generally purchased. Quantities of albums, merch and special releases were kept to a minimum to again almost purposefully plan to sell out.
Products should never be discounted as this would also diminish the brand and product value. Printing an additional 5,000 albums would never create an additional 5,000 fans and most certainly not an additional 5,000 sales. Understanding the brands targeted market and specifically catering to the fanbase generated an almost consistent case flow and ROI.
… I’ll be honest, watching the music industry collapse has been demoralizing and disheartening at times. Trent Reznor
Understanding your true fan base and catering to them with your brand of products they’ll desire and appreciate is like having a private party on private ship.