Not long ago, I commented that Girl Panic (the video) really did not sell many additional songs or albums for the band. This information is not made up on my part, it was straight from John Taylor’s mouth. Currently the video is sitting at nearly 5.3 million views, a number the band themselves has characterized as “viral”. Apparently that number has not translated well into additional sales, and it seemed – at least to me – that the band is at least somewhat confused as to why that is. It’s the “new model”, some will say.
So the new model basically says that music is free to those who want to get it, and so if I’m understanding this all correctly – it’s really up to the band to convince everyone (except the hard core fan base, apparently) else WHY they should buy. I dare say that most people don’t really care how EASY it is to purchase the song or album, and most people don’t really care about how many different places you can buy it, how many versions there are available, or how many different forms the album comes in. (mp3, iTunes mp4, vinyl, CD, etc.) It seems to me that most people, other than me and perhaps the others reading this blog, want to know why they should part with their good money to own the album. Why should they care?
Of course, this doesn’t just apply to Duran Duran. It applies to every single band or artist out there – and some artists are hitting the mark, and some are not. Some artists and bands are blessed with HUGE fan bases that buy everything they sell. The work to keep those fans just might not be as tough – but to be fair – there are remarkably few of those bands out there. The overwhelming majority have to work very hard to show people why they are worthy.
How do they create that interest? Well to begin with – it’s the music. That’s not enough though, and that is just not where the story ends. It’s merely the beginning. One of my favorite quotes these days is from Ian Rogers, who is the CEO of TopSpin (a Direct-To-Fan Marketing company). “This is not a world where you can simply record an excellent song and expect people will naturally discover and go crazy for it. This is not a build-it-and-they-will-come world.” I just don’t think there’s a better example of this out there than Duran Duran. Some might say they aren’t consistent with their music. Ok sure, some albums haven’t sold well (All You Need is Now is in that category, mind you!) and might not be what *I* would prefer, but by and large – they’ve got a great catalog, historically speaking. All You Need is Now is probably one of their best albums ever and is truly worthy of sales 10 or 15 times more than what they’ve seen thus far. The problem though, is that for whatever reason, the band doesn’t reach people. Yes, they have truly paved the way for a relationship with their existing fans. The trouble is, we are really not the people they need to sell on their music. We’re already sold!!
So, real goal is sharing the “why”. It’s forging an interest from the people that don’t already know and love them, and it’s learning to balance that newly formed relationship with the ones that already exist. Not an easy line to walk. Long time fans aren’t necessarily excited by “new ways”. Change is an awful thing when you’re in your forties I guess. I remember the uproar when they began the paid fan community – and I can’t really imagine what fans would do if they started a crowdfunding campaign for their next album or tour (see andytaylor.tv for a great blog on Crowdfunding by our friend and fellow fan, Bryony Evens!)
A great article to further explain my point and introduce some others can be found here.