How Developing a Relationship with File-Sharers Will Lead to More Music Sales

How Developing a Relationship with File-Sharers Will Lead to More Music Sales

Hey guys – Merry Christmas!

In addition to last week’s post, this one was also contributed by my friend, Tom Jeffries of Safe-Xchange.

In this article, Tom addresses one of the most heated controversies in the music industry: file-sharing.

Early on, it was believed that peer-to-peer networks and file-sharing were detrimental to the future of artists and (mostly) the music industry. Tom provides evidence to the contrary, and cites several real-life examples of experiments involving file-sharing that turned out to be beneficial to artists.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Make sure to leave feedback in the comments section below, and don’t forget to thank Tom for his contribution! – David

Technological advances always bring change. 500 years ago, people were put to death for using the printing press. That didn’t stop the printing press, it was simply the reaction of the people who wanted to keep their control of society.

The move to digital, and especially the internet, has brought huge changes, and those changes are likely to continue for many years. The music industry is fighting those changes. In the long run, they will not win. Unfortunately, they are making life very difficult for musicians.

300 million people share files on the peer-to-peer (P2P) networks every month. Those people spend between 30 to 35% more on music and film than the general population. The music industry is trying to stop them, but the truth is that they are great fans and great customers. Many experiments have been done to prove this point.

Coca-Cola and Jay-Z Promotion

In 2006 Coca-Cola and Jay-Z put a video clip of Jay-Z’s live concert in Radio City Music Hall on the file sharing networks. The Wall Street Journal published an article on October 18, 2006 entitled Record Labels Turn Piracy Into a Marketing Opportunity that described how successful this was. Here’s a quote from the article:

But now there’s a growing recognition among some record executives and performers that the people who are downloading illegally are frequently huge music fans and that marketing to them may be more desirable in the long run than suing or otherwise harassing them.

Eric Clapton Music Video

Several years ago, Eric Clapton’s managers put a Flash widget out on the P2P networks. It included two great music videos, one with Eric Clapton and one of Carlos Santana, a YouTube video of ZZ Top, along with other things that helped the downloader connect with Eric Clapton. The goal was to sell an Eric Clapton music video DVD. It worked so well they did it three times.

Counting Crows & BitTorrent

Grammy Award winning Counting Crows did a deal with BitTorrent in which they shared four new tracks, liner notes, and artwork from the album directly to BitTorrent users. Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz said:

I don’t know how I didn’t think of this earlier – it’s the most obvious thing in the world since BitTorrent has such a huge global reach. It’s not just about getting music to the people who would buy it anyway – even though that is, of course, very good – the hardest thing to do is make new fans.

Iron Maiden & Musicmetric

Iron Maiden used data about file sharing from Musicmetric to determine that they had a huge base of fans in South America, in particular Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. They booked a tour, and raked in $2,580,000 from a single show in Sao Paolo.

Final Thoughts on File-Sharers

My first foretaste of this came 15 years ago. We had a no-Napster rule in our house. I happened to notice my son was running Napster and asked him why. He said he bought more music than he had before; rather than going into record stores and seeing the pretty packages, he could listen to the music and know which bands he liked.

The digital world and the internet are revolutionizing the music industry. The music industry calls file-sharers “worse than pirates”, ignoring the fact that real pirates kill people. The truth is that file-sharers are great fans, and we need to find ways to connect with – and get revenue from – file-sharers. That’s not going to be a simple task, but looking at file-sharers in a positive light is a step in the right direction.

Digital Record Albums: a Better Way to Connect with Your Fans

Digital Record Albums: a Better Way to Connect with Your Fans

Hey everyone! This week’s post was written by my friend, Tom Jeffries of Safe-Xchange.

In this article, he discusses the potential of digital record albums.

As you may know, vinyl records were the primary medium for music consumption until CDs and MP3s came along. Vinyl record sleeves were considerably larger than CD jewel cases, which meant that album artwork could be elaborate and more detailed. It also meant that artists and record companies could include a lot of extras for their fans to enjoy (including extensive liner notes).

It’s exciting to consider the possibilities of what a digital record album could offer. Artists could start building more meaningful relationships with their fans through their recorded music again. Read on to learn more.

Also, make sure to say “Thanks” to Tom in the comments section below! – David

Fifty years ago vinyl record albums were, by far, the best way for a band or an artist to connect with their fans. The sound on vinyl was better than radio (and better than MP3s and even CDs today), plus the record album had room for pictures, text, and even liner notes that could be inside the record jacket.

Then we entered the digital age, giving bands and artists fewer ways to connect with their fans.

First we had CDs, which don’t sound quite as good as vinyl but, even more important, there’s no room for all the pictures and text that a vinyl album has. Then MP3s came along. Yes, they offer great compression levels, but they do not offer great sound. You can add a certain amount of textual information to an mp3 (name of song and artist), but there is no way to use an MP3 file to establish the connection.

Spotify, Pandora, and the rest of the online broadcasters are the new radio. If you listen on Spotify, you might hear one song from an artist you like, but in general you don’t get to hear more than one. iTunes has what one might consider to be record albums, but providing you with 10 songs and a tiny bit of information doesn’t help the musician connect with their fans, and fans love to connect with the musicians they like!

Did the move to digital completely ruin the chances for bands to connect with their fans? Absolutely not. In fact, one of my companies, Safe-Xchange, is producing digital record albums. Digital record albums can contain:

  • Songs
  • Videos
  • A store for selling tracks and physical goods
  • An event calendar with ways to buy tickets
  • Liner notes that can be much bigger than the ones with the vinyl record album
  • Blogs
  • Ads from the artist or from other companies
  • Social networking connections (including Google+ Hangouts)
  • Live streaming
  • Ways for fans to get on the artist’s email list
  • Ways that fans can donate to the artist
  • Digital record albums can be files to be downloaded on websites

Not only is that better than what’s going on digitally, it’s better than vinyl record albums!

The digital age has just begun. The transition to digital has been difficult for many reasons, but there is enormous potential.

Musicians have felt for a number of years like they have been between a rock and a hard place. The time has come to use digital technology to help the musician, and digital record albums can be a great way to do it.