Please note: I’m currently interning at Topspin Media in Santa Monica, which is working with the band mentioned in this post. No confidential information will be divulged and the opinions expressed on this or any other post on this blog are mine and not necessarily those of Topspin. Please don’t ask for specific numbers.
Inspired by Mike Masnick’s recent NARM talk, I thought I’d provide yet another example of a band that has used the direct-to-fan (D2F) channel to connect with their fans (CwF), give them a reason to buy (RtB) and have not only made money, but earned thousands of fans in a matter of days.
Fanfarlo is a band from London that a decent following in Europe and the UK. They’ve toured Europe a few times, and even made it to the US and made a bit of buzz at SXSW this year. They really wanted to expand their fan base in the US, so they looked to Topspin for some guidance. I won’t be too much of a Topspin shill, but I will provide some anecdotes that I learned while working on their latest campaign.
marketing basics are still relevant in the D2F channel
First let me break down the 4 P’s of marketing (remember those?) and how they related to Fanfarlo’s latest D2F campaign:
Product: Their latest LP, “Reservoir”, which had been released previously and bought by a few hundred people. They didn’t was to piss off their previous paying customers by offering the same album for only $1, so they included 4 bonus tracks to give their previous customers something to come back for, and everyone was happy.
Price: $1. That’s right. 15 tracks (11 album tracks + 4 bonus tracks) for just one stinking dollar. But wait…
Place: Only on Fanfarlo.com. This allows them to control the messaging and method by which people purchase the album. It’s a seamless and controlled experience, which is one great aspect of the Topspin platform. (Hint hint.)
Promotion: Remember that $1 price point? Well it’s only $1 until July 4th. This creates a feeling of immediacy. If you don’t get it now for $1, you might miss out. We also made it easy for fans to share the deal with their friends on twitter and facebook, which can work extraordinarily well because friends serve as great filters and recommendation engines. Another key aspect of this campaign’s promotion was an email sent out by Iceland rockers Sigur Ros. They encouraged their fans to check out the Fanfarlo deal, which did lead to a significant sales bump.
what can i take away from this as a musician?
The first thing you must remember is the product must be good. None of this would’ve been possible if the music sucked. Also, remember to give your music away, in some way/shape/form, for FREE. As you’ll see on Fanfarlo’s website, there is a streaming player there for you to stream all of the tracks, in their entirety, for free. (And in decent quality I might add.) A $1 price point is hard to beat, but may not work for every act. The objective here is just to raise awareness and build up some fans. The great thing about Fanfarlo is that they knew they had to be in it for the long haul. They knew that building rabid fan base is of utmost importance right now. Those fans will then be willing to purchase any offers or packages in the future. It’s critical for new bands to remember this: focus on fans now, and the money will come later. Don’t expect to record a 10-12 track LP, sell it for 10 bucks and get rich in a few months. If nobody knows you, who’s going to spend $10 on your album? NOBODY.
What was also crucial to the success of this campaign was the Sigur Ros endorsement. All unknown bands should try their hardest to get some sort of endorsement from a band that is more popular than them. Remember, this is a business, and “who you know” can often play a key role in the success of any business. You don’t necessarily have to shoot for the starts and go for a Sigur Ros type endorsement, but you have to be talking to and networking with other, more popular bands. Send them your record and see if they can say something nice about you to their fans.
CwF + RtB = $$$
This is Mike Masnick’s golden equation. Connect with Fans + (give them a) Reason to Buy, and you’ll make $$$. Let’s break this down.
So how did Fanfarlo connect with their fans? The promo on their website was written by them, in a very casual manner. You can tell it’s not marketing speak and it’s direct from the band. Fans fell a real connection with this type of language and are more apt, in my opinion, to buy the album. It was also a controlled experience all on the Fanfarlo website, so the messaging was controlled and the fans were always connected to the band. When you sell via iTunes or Amazon, that connection is lost and is very difficult to get back.
What’s the reason to buy? It’s only $1 until July 4th. After that, this deal will be gone. As they say on their website, after July 4th, you can buy the CD, vinyl and a “beautiful new special edition at normal prices.” Basically, if you don’t act now, you might miss out on this crazy $1 deal. And if you like it, maybe after July 4th you’ll buy the CD, vinyl, or even the special edition package.
To sum it up, Fanfarlo is yet another example of an unknown band that harnessed the power of the direct-to-fan channel and have been very successful with their latest campaign. They’ve got thousands of fans in the U.S., where they had effectively zero fans only a few weeks ago. Services like Topspin, Bandcamp, nimbit and others enable any band to experience the same success. The future certainly looks bright for independent musicians.