Wow, Lefsetz nails it again. I guess I knew this, but it’s strange to read the cold hard facts. While “the old way”of band marketing still works (Just ask White Light Riot) that way is on the outs, and “the new way” that Lefsetz points out is how bands will gain traction and popularity in the new market.
Marillion is a band that really treats their fans well. Their fan club get a Christmas CD every year filled with odd covers, acoustic versions, and live performances. Every year Marillion has a Weekend Getaway, where the fans come from all over the world to hang with the band at a small resort and have intimate concerts where the audience helps to pick the setlist. On their 1999 release, “marillion.com” fans could send in their pictures and the liner notes were filled with fan headshots.
Because of their fan following, Marillion was able to get enough people to preorder their 2001 album “Anoraknophobia“, to cover all production costs. Twelve Thousand fans Paid Marillion to make an album. In advance. They were completely free of any industry pressures and made the album exactly the way they wanted it. Everyone who preordered the album got their name in the album credits. Why this was not widely publicized I don’t know, (maybe it was ‘cross the pond where Marillion live, but here in the States it was never mentioned).
Fans wear the band t-shirt and put the bumper sticker on their car, because they identify with the band image. It says, “This is who I am”. They want the band to hear their ideas and input. They want updates on what the band is doing during that long, dry spell between album releases and concert dates. They want to be connected. They want to be an extension of the band. “Street teams” the non-industry calls them. People who go out and put up fliers for the band out of sheer love of the music. People who spread the gospel of [Insert Band Name Here] on the street, just the way the Jehovah’s Witnesses go door to door spreading the word of the Lord.
I swear to Dog that the first person who comes to my door on Saturday morning wanting to talk about how great White Light Riot is, they will end up missing some teeth.