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The Rise of Direct-to-Fan Marketing in the Music Industry

The Rise of Direct-to-Fan Marketing in the Music Industry

‘Direct-to-Fan Marketing’ is something of a new buzzword that, while not globally embraced yet, is noticing an increased use as the music industry as a whole recognises the importance of the artist as a marketing channel instead of a threat to its existence. It forms a robust and effective business model used by many independent musicians and music labels around the world. Below, we discuss further the rise of direct-to-fan marketing in the music industry.

What is direct-to-fan marketing?

The direct-to-fan marketing approach, as its name may suggest, is a way for musicians to appeal and market directly to their fans, without the need for a third-party or middle-man.

These middle-men may be large music labels or social media channels, and direct-to-fan marketing cuts these out and leaves complete control in the hands of the artists themselves. Direct-to-fan marketing has come about due to the collapse of the traditional royalty payment model and many music industry experts see the direct-to-fan approach continuing to rise and rise.

direct to fan marketing

    Direct-to-fan marketing is about appealing to the people the matter; the fans!

    Why do we need direct-to-fan marketing?

    Surely the best way to appeal to fans is to set up a Facebook page, build up a few likes and then post out some statuses right? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. In the age of social media and connectivity, it’s easy to assume that setting up a social channel is the most successful way of discovering and servicing your user base.

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    While it might be the easiest route, it is certainly not the most successful route. Social media giants such as Facebook act as information gatekeepers, maintaining complete control over each and every person that likes a Facebook page. This means the page owner still has to go through them and pay advertising fees, each and every time to interact with their fan base.

    This is, of course, despite the fact that these users have come to an artist’s page purely to hear from them directly, and most likely because the artist drove them to their page in the first place.

    It is entirely fair to say that the Facebooks and the Twitters of this world do not have an artist’s best interests at heart. Success and revenue becomes measured in the number of likes that each page has. At the end of the day, they are advertising businesses so they can’t be blamed, but it skewers the way in which artists can interact with their fans.

    How can artists market to their fan base effectively without knowing who they truly are? If artists were able to engage with their users on a much deeper level, in a direct-to-fan way, they would know instantly what songs they do or don’t like, what merchandise they want to see on sale and how likely they are to buy tour tickets.

    Without a direct-to-fan approach, music artists are simply producing tracks, t-shirts, and booking venues without truly knowing how well they will appeal to their fans. By cutting out the middle-man, doing away with the needless control by those who don’t have a deep interest in their business and being able to properly engage with their fans, artists can establish much closer relationships between themselves an their fan base.

    Appealing to your “super fans”

    Direct-to-fan marketing isn’t something that every single “social media fan” is going to be interested in. Some fans will be happy to add a few new tracks from their favourite artists to their playlists on Spotify, and simply engage with them by listening to the new tracks on the way to work.

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    Other fans, super fans as they are often called, want to go much further than this. They want the new merchandise, the exclusive listens to new tracks, the tickets to the tour and even the chance to meet their favourite artists. These are the people that the direct-to-fan marketing business model was made for and the fans that spend money on merchandise, albums and tickets.

    A great example of a direct-to-fan marketing approach in the games industry that has had huge success is with the popular mobile game app Candy Crush, developed by King Digital Entertainment PLC. In the fourth quarter of 2014, Candy Crush had over 356 million unique monthly users, and yet only 8.3 million made any in-app purchases. And yet, they still pulled $263.8 million in from these 8.3 million users.

    How? By seeing who was making in-app purchases, they began to target these users with more deals and offers, enticing them in even further, resulting in the huge revenues for the fourth quarter of 2014.

    Now, this approach may seem a little shadier, having users spend more money simply by dangling deals in front of them. Direct-to-fan marketing in the music industry doesn’t have this ‘shady’ approach. It’s about music artists essentially having conversations with their super fans; finding out what merchandise and new music they want. Would they really buy a new t-shirt? If not, then artists can save on various costs as well as provide the fan what they really want.

    But it goes so much further than this. It’s not just about artists finding out what their fans like and selling to them; it’s about connecting with their super fans. Giving them exclusive access to what happens behind the scenes, giving fans exclusive new tracks or allowing them to meet the artist back stage. It’s a way for music artists to show their fan base that they care about them just as much as the fan cares about the artist and their music.

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    direct to fan marketing

      Direct-to-fan marketing is about getting music artists and fans closer together

      What can newer apps like GigRev and Bkstg do to solve the issue?

      There are new platforms and apps being designed such as GigRev, and Bkstg with direct-to-fan marketing in mind. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all brilliant platforms that go a long way in getting music artists and fans together. But they still create a wall between the two parties, with, as always, money being the issue. Even with Spotify, the money issue is far from solved, with music labels keeping roughly 70% of what an artist makes from streaming platforms. However, this is a different problem entirely.

      Apps such as GigRev have been created as private social platforms that bring artists and fans together. These platforms need to be given to the artists, and then the real musical magic can unfold! These platforms need not to sit on artists’ data, acting as gatekeepers and all-controlling slave drivers. Music artists need complete control over who they engage with and how they do it, therefore taking direct-to-fan marketing to a whole new level.

      Music artists are a lot more than just artists, they are businesses, having to adapt to new technologies and new fan desires weekly, and how can a business operate without knowing what its customers want? These new social platforms operate by knowing what music artists want, and they give artists a chance to connect with fans in a way that simply hasn’t been offered before.

      Many companies try and tackle the problem from a top-down approach by tackling the music labels first, but this isn’t going to solve anything. It needs to be done bottom-up, helping the ones who actually make the music and the ones who actually buy it; the music artists and their fans.

      Are there any drawbacks to direct-to-fan marketing?

      It will, of course, be a more time-consuming process by engaging with users more directly rather than leaving it in the hands of a third party. But this isn’t a drawback, simply another process that must be incorporated into a music artist’s business plan.

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      It’s easy to pay a marketing company to handle things for you, but they don’t know your brand like you do. You could let Spotify handle your promotions, but can they use the right language and approach that you would use? Probably not. The best and most successful companies are those that truly connect and engage with their user base because, let’s face it, who else are you selling to?

      How direct-to-fan marketing is changing the world

      An old, and now somewhat outdated notion, is that “if you build it, they will come”. Although this is a nice concept, things just don’t really work like that anymore. We live in a very rushed, “I want it now” culture, what with the ability of having everything at our fingertips, and you can’t rely on people sourcing you out in the way that they used to.

      The things that get talked about the most are the most successful advertising campaigns or the most viral tweets; things that have properly engaged with those that have viewed them. Direct-to-fan marketing is working in the same way in the music industry. By appealing to your user base, creating a unique group of super fans and, ultimately, selling content that has value, direct-to-fan marketing is sure to revolutionise the music industry in a way no other form of marketing has managed.

      Image credit: Nainoa Shizuru and CONTENTKRAFT

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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      Ryan Kh

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      Last Updated on July 3, 2020

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

      Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

      Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

      I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

      You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

      Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

      When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

      I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

      Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

      Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

      If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

      Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

      1. The Inner Critic

      This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

      • Other people’s words—many times your parents
      • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
      • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
      • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

      The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

      Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

      2. The Worrier

      This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

      The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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      3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

      This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

      This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

      The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

      4. The Sleep Depriver

      This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

      The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

      • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
      • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
      • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
      • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

      How can you control these squatters?

      How to Master Your Mind

      You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

      Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

      There are two ways to control your thoughts:

      • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
      • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

      This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

      The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

      Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

      1. For the Inner Critic

      When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

      You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

      For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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      You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

      “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

      If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

      This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

      • They rile up the Worrier.
      • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
      • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
      • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
      • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

      Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

      Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

      2. For the Worrier

      Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

      Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

      You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

      • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
      • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
      • Muscles tense

      Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

      If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

      Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

      “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

      Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

      If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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      Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

      Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

      For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

      “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

      Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

      Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

      “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

      Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

      3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

      Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

      The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

      I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

      Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

      Breathe in through your nose:

      • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
      • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
      • Focus on your belly rising.

      Breathe out through your nose:

      • Feel your lungs emptying.
      • Focus on your belly falling.
      • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

      Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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      One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

      Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

      4. For the Sleep Depriver

      (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

      I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

      Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

      1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
      2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

      When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

      From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

      For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

      If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

      You can also use this technique any time you want to:

      • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
      • Shut down your thinking
      • Calm your feelings
      • Simply focus on the present moment

      The Bottom Line

      Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

      You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

      Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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