Deep Artist/Fan Connections Critical to Success in Music 2.0

More than nine million musicians are trying to connect with more than 200 million music fans, according to some estimates. The huge numbers alone would suggest the odds are in their favor. Yet the channels musicians have traditionally relied upon to get their music discovered, promoted and sold are increasingly irrelevant and as a result, musicians are increasingly on their own, without labels, record stores or radio to help them.

“The artist’s challenge is to convert casual fans into loyal fans, and loyal fans into paying customers,” said Charles Feinn, CEO and co-founder of music technology innovator MixMatchMusic. “Getting your music discovered just isn’t enough. Musicians have to engage and involve casual listeners in order to build deep and lasting connections with them, and to convert them to loyal fans. These connections are what drive sales of the concert tickets, band merchandise and CDs artists need to pay the rent and put gas in the van.”

According to Feinn and many other music industry observers, record labels play a smaller and smaller role in breaking new bands or even promoting signed bands. Record stores are disappearing and radio is less and less of a factor in promoting new music. And it’s hard for a new band to breakthrough amongst the millions of songs in the iTunes Store. It’s also true that music fans have changed, acclimated to the read/write web and the social interaction that comes with it, and looking for the same experience with music and the artists who create it.

“While the business part of the traditional music business is breaking down, music is alive and well and there is more music than ever,” said Feinn. “We’re on a mission to help keep music alive, and we’re doing so by helping artists forge deeper and more meaningful connections with fans.”

Feinn said a growing number of artists are turning to new Internet-based initiatives, such as the remix promotions pioneered by Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead, to help them engage with and connect with music fans.

“Involving fans in the creative process by encouraging them to remix and mash up a new song from the musical building blocks provided by the artist, is catching on as one of the best ways to make the artist – fan connection stronger,” he said.

Feinn said that more than 60 artists have launched remix promotions based on MixMatchMusic’s Remix Wizard, a simple-to-use widget that any fan with a broadband connection can use. Artists including Pepper and Zion I have loaded the building blocks of songs – the guitar, bass, keys, drums and other elements called stems, into customized versions of MixMatchMusic’s widget, and invited fans to remix the stems to create new sounds and songs with them. He said the company’s site has received more than half a million impressions since the beginning of the year, and more than 80 thousand plays of fan-created remixes.

Feinn said the Remix Wizard is a fan-friendly approach to the more complex remix technologies employed by Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead. Bands such as Pepper feature remixes submitted by fans on their sites and MySpace pages, and some artists even promise to incorporate especially imaginative fan-created interpretations of their music in future albums.

Feinn said the Remix Wizard is the first in a series of artist and fan friendly technologies from MixMatchMusic designed to forge even stronger and deeper connections.

“Music has the power to bring people together,” said Feinn. “It’s exciting and also humbling to know we’re playing a small part in making those connections happen, through our technology-based products and services that help musicians convert casual music fans into loyal fans, and loyal fans into paying customers.”


7 Responses to “Deep Artist/Fan Connections Critical to Success in Music 2.0”

  1. 1 Nadia June 18, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    . thanks for your info….

  2. 2 Sabina June 21, 2009 at 3:35 am

    Interesting approach to involve people more.
    However, i wonder what kind of fans would be interested in creating new versions of the music they like… Are they people who are (amature-)musicians themselves? Or people that are interested in the technical features of your application?
    I mean: the article above mentions how many people have engaged in remixing music via your services, but there is no demographic info on the users. It would be really interesting to know a bit more about the fans, especially since i don’t think that these services can provide a way to involve fans in any music genre and / or age group!

  3. 3 Alan Khalfin June 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Hey Sabina,

    Great question!

    Generally, we’ve found that there are two kinds of fans that are interested in creating new versions of the music they like. On the one hand, it’s a great way for amateur/bedroom/developing musicians/producers to remix their favorite artists and get some exposure for their work. But more importantly, we’ve found that music fans with no musical experience are making remixes too.

    The Remix Wizard widget involves non-musicians in several ways. First, through the MixMaker (the online music editing tool that is attached to the widget), they can see how the song was made and get aa behind the scenes look at the musical process; they can mute/solo certain parts and dive deeper into the song. Then, if they feel like it, they can make their own remix and publish it to the widget. For fans that aren’t interested in the musical process, they can listen to the remixes created, and vote on and share their favorites. So, even for non-musicians, there are several ways that they can get involved!

    In terms of demographic info, we’re still in the process of collecting it, and will release the results when we can. Generally, participants have been both male and female, and generally under the age of 40. The Pepper remix contest for Freeze actually had more remixes made by non-musicians that by musicians, and had several remixers over the age of 40. So, we see a wide range of participants! As far as music genre, we’ve had great success with Reggae, which has been a bit of surprise. In fact, we’ve had a very wide variety of genres, including rock, reggae, salsa, hip-hop, electronic, and political satire.

    As time goes on, we’ll continue to collect this info and should have some interesting results to report on Evolving Music!

  4. 4 brittney June 25, 2009 at 6:30 am

    This is such a strange time for the music industry. Consumers have become overexposed to instant gratification and are hyper-connected to one another through social networking sites and the like. Since such an over-saturation of connectedness exists in most other areas of their lives, they want the same from their music– they want their music immediately, they want to connect with the artists and they want to keep being surprised with something new to whet their increasingly fickle appetites. If handled correctly, this could mean great new concepts (and greater profit margins) for everyone in the music industry, but this cannot be achieved by hanging on to archaic models that are unfortunately just not working. The times are a-changing and the model has to change along with it or be left in a cloud of digital dust.

    What I find interesting, though, is that during this digital revolution there has also been a resurgence in vinyl. What do you think?


  5. 5 Alan Khalfin June 29, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Some great points, Brittany! We couldn’t agree more. As far as the resurgence of vinyl, this shows that fans are willing to pay for music, but artists need to provide them with the packages/formats/bundles that they want to buy. Vinyl is now one of these “alt” formats that some people really want to buy. So, the point is, now your fans and sell them the packages that they want to buy!

  1. 1 SXSW Spotlights Artist-Fan Collaboration in New Film About Music 2.0 « .Evolving Music. Trackback on July 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm
  2. 2 For Love AND Money « .Evolving Music. Trackback on August 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

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