I was out running the other day. And sometimes, oftentimes, a good idea comes along during the run. And here's the idea that came came along at about mile 4 on this run.
Before each run, I load my ipod shuffle. This iPod Shuffle is a little thing, like a great big paper-clip. It holds about 1-200 MP3's, plays them in order or randomly, Fast-forward and reverse and volume controls. Simple. All I need on a run.
I loaded a 5-song set from Trombone Shorty. The set was recorded live by Trombone Shorty at a recent concert, maybe an earlier New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival appearance. He offered this 5-song set for $5 for those who saw him at his show during the Iowa City Jazz Festival. (Great show. You guys should see him if you can. And you should come out to the Iowa City Jazz Festival )
After his show, I went to his table under a tent at the outdoor show. Paid $5. They gave me a card with a special discount code to use at his site where I could download the 5-song set.
And as I was running, I wondered what if...
Musicians offered a similar code, unique for each of their concerts.
And the code could be obtained for free or a nominal fee. Note: By mile 6 I had run through the different pricing options of free to $1 a tune to a max of $10.00.
The code would give its users the right to download their concert, in its entirety or x number of songs as selected by the artist or...selected by the audience member using that code.
The recording technology today would be accessible, affordable, for the major acts even the mid-major acts. Right? Back in the day, huge truckloads of recording studio equipment would need to be carried along to the show being recorded. But I think that's changed, now. Right?
Each concert is an unique experience. That's why ticket prices are so expensive. You want to reinforce that experiential monopoly. But...you can do it in a way where a band's biggest fans, those who attend the live shows, could memorialize that experience and...share it and promote its possibility via word-of-mouth with their friends. only, in addition to their word-of-mouth, the band would have their words and their songs from their mouths being shared.
Can't get any more authentic than that.
Now, for the business managers think of the market research possibilities. You could judge the power of a concert by how many attendees then used their unique concert codes to download its memory. And if you gave the fan the option to download from a choice of songs performed that night...you could see which ones resonate for those fans. Then you could do more of them in future concerts and less of those awkward, indulgent solos.
Then if you the fans shared their email address as part of the download process now you have a way to strengthen those ties, keep them up to date on new recordings, concerts, some sample MP3s to keep them sharing their stories and your voices and lyrics and notes.
This makes for a much more inclusive, engaged, business model than sending armies of attorneys after your most fervent fans for merely sharing with their friends your voices and musicianship or treating your revenue-sources as pirates.
Here's how the Dave Matthews Band does it: make money in the music business. Granted, not every band can reach these records:
According to Billboard Boxscore, between 2000 and 2009, DMB sold more tickets to its shows than any other band on the planet, moving a staggering 11,230,696 tickets. (No other band sold more than 10 million tickets in the same time period.) In the aughts, DMB grossed more than $500 million from touring alone...
On the other hand, they have what every touring band can have now:
a large catalog of cheap-to-produce live-show discs and DVDs. "Without any marketing or promotion, Live at Red Rocks debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart and was instantly certified platinum," the band itself boasts of a 1998 album. "[It] provided fans with a high quality and reasonably priced alternative to the over-priced, ill produced, and illegal live DMB CDs."
See the threads?
- a large catalog of cheap-to-produce live-show discs and DVDs
- No marketing or promotion for those cheap-to-produce live-show discs and DVDs
- A huge base of adoring fans who pay to see them live.
So, think about it. All we want to do is share the experience, your music, with our friends and neighbors and drive them to be fans and come back to see you again and again. What's wrong with that?