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Can we set some rules?

I’ve been a spectator of Music Think Tank for a few months now, commenting here and there. I thought I should finally take that last step and try my luck at generating some discussion. Here are my idea of new rules for the emerging industry. Can I get a comment?

Own your music:  We are past the point where you need the backing of a record label to produce a quality recording. You no longer need to forfeit the rights of your music. Hold on to these as it will allow you to maximize the return on your music and give you the creative freedom to establish your own brand.

Sell Direct to Fan:  Provide a “buy” option at all of your web locations directing them to your store This doesn’t mean avoid established third party retailers (iTunes, etc), but on your own web presence, employ a method of sale you control. Why? Maximum commission and the fan capture data. 5,000 sales on iTunes tells you nothing about who bought your music.  You couldn’t even contact the fans to thank them, let alone attempt to market to them again.

Establish a direct connection to your fans:  You live through the generosity of your fans. They’re the ones who come to your gigs, buy your music, and tell their friends how great you are.  Take the time to get to know them and keep track of them.  Know where they are so you can plan your next tour.  Listen to what they want,  and they’ll buy the products you put in front of them.  Respect them and show appreciation,  and they will spread your music through friends and the Internet.

Centralize your presence: Social media is good, but has the same issue addressed above with third party retailers. Direct your fans to a centralized location (website or preferred hub) and encourage you fans to find you there first.  Let social media and music discovery sites introduce your music to the world, but once you have a fans attention, bring ‘em back home.

Direct-to-fan is the future of the music industry.  The new music industry has concentrated teams working more efficiently and economically to maximize an artist’s impact.  Regardless of how the music industry reshapes itself in the wake of the digital era, these principles will remain. Yes? No? Maybe so? What should be added?

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