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Some new models for music

February 12, 2009

dcfc-iphone-app

A couple of bands that are using technology in interesting ways…

Groove Armada is making waves with a new model of music distribution. They left Sony last year, and are now in a deal with Bacardi, of all people. Their plan is to reward people for sharing music. You go register at the site (attesting that you’re of legal drinking age, of course), download your first free track, and get a unique link to share with your friends.  As more people get and share the song using your link, you are rewarded by being able to download more songs. I have to admit that I’m less interested in downloading the music than I am in seeing a data visualization of the number, timing, and distribution of how the links spread… (Why yes, I am a nerd.)

Pitchfork is making a big deal about Death Cab for Cutie‘s setting a ‘solid precedent‘ with the band’s new, free iPhone app - I guess they are too hip to have noticed that Pink got there first. Listening Post had a great article last October, in which they make a compelling case that the iPhone could be the new Myspace. It’s pretty clear that cultivating a relationship with fans is going to be a key element of differentiation between bands. Cory Doctorow talks about this in the context of authors, but it’s equally applicable to music:

But what kind of artist thrives on the Internet? Those who can establish a personal relationship with their readers…[who have] the ability to conduct their online selves [in a way] that establishes a non-substitutable relationship with their audiences. You might find a film, a game, and a book to be equally useful diversions on a slow afternoon, but if the novel’s author is a pal of yours, that’s the one you’ll pick. It’s a competitive advantage that can’t be beat.

Putting a direct link to your band in your fans’ pockets seems like a good step forward in establishing this relationship.

MP3: Groove Armada – Chicago [buy]

9 comments

  1. Real interesting stuff. Don’t worry, you’re not alone out there in wanting to see the data visualized and watching the networks come to life.

    Nerdiness aside, I think Cory Doctorow’s point is what should be front and center in the minds of anyone trying out a new distro strategy on the web. The most important thing to consider is the relationship that you build with the audience which, if strong enough, will create a willingness to pay for something that is free and/or drive a fan to pay for merch and concert tix etc. I point this out as a primary reason for Radiohead’s success in this post.


  2. I couldn’t agree with you more, James. In the age of digital distribution, music is fungible. But relationships are always unique.


  3. [...] am a sucker for data visualizations. So it’ll come as no surprise, therefore, that I was all over very [...]


  4. [...] yet another new concept in music distribution. Toronto-based electronic artist Deadmau5 released an album’s worth of [...]


  5. [...] than the ‘official’ cost of the CD) or it helps develop a relationship. Here at z=z, we recently discussed the role of relationships in differentiating artists in a world where the music itself may be [...]


  6. [...] thing? We’ve talked about name-your-own-price merchandise in the context of establishing and maintaining a relationship with your fans. Here’s the other side of it: tiered pricing for music and [...]


  7. [...] to our collection of new models for music, here are a pair of subscription models for premium [...]


  8. [...] And Cory Doctorow made the point that, in an age of all creative works being just a click away, only relationships aren’t fungible.  So I’m really intrigued by One Night Band, a music event organized by Boston Band Crush. [...]


  9. [...] is not just about the article itself—it’s about expressing a relationship with the artist. And relationships aren’t fungible. Jonathan Coulton and Amanda Palmer are two excellent artists who have close relationships with [...]



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