Alternative Roads to Success

Spoke with Drew the other day about "getting creative" with distributing and selling music. How can an unknown band become successful without going the traditional routes?

"Success" meaning generating significant revenue off of music sales.

One idea is to use reverse bounties. A reverse bounty basically just means that people pay for something before they get it. So say Drew has a new album coming out. He would announce that his new album is ready for release but that he can't release it until he generates $1000. After he generates $1000 then the music will be available for download for free to everyone - with the people who paid for it having access to it a month in advance (or some other reward).

Now I know you are probably thinking, why would anybody pay for something that will eventually be free? Because simply put, some people will want it bad enough, and won't want to wait. Other people may hear a few samples and like it enough that they they are willing to pitch in a few bucks to support the artist's work.

Basically it is very similar to a donation or tip based system, but with the added benefit of a big reward for everyone once a milestone is reached. An analogous situation is if you've ever stood around watching breakdancers on the street. They are doing their thing and building a large crowd - then suddenly they all stop and one guy walks around with a hat asking for donations. He announces to the crowd that unless they receive donations, they won't be able to perform their mind-bending, face melting, final routine.

Of course people are now invested and want to see it, so they donate. Once the cat is out of the bag, the donations may dramatically drop. But everyone got what they wanted; the artists were paid to perform and the audience was entertained.

So while a famous musician may not be able to make as much money from this method, for a small band they could make more this way than from trying to press their own CDs. And by giving the music away for free in exchange for your contact info, they can build up a bigger fan base for the next time around.

David! (not verified) says:

That's a great idea! But you should definitely have a deadline date where people who paid get some portion of the album or the whole album or get their money back.

zirafa says: people's money back is one option, but that kinda sucks because then you have to start over. I think you could give those early donors the album when the deadline is reached - but reset the target amount and create a second deadline. So if Drew needs to raise $1000 by April 25, but only raises half that, then only those that donated up to that point get the album. And now a second deadline is set at June 1st, but the target amount is only $500. So basically if you pay at any point you get the album, but only after the deadline is reached. This fundraising cycle could continue indefinitely until the bounty is filled or the band ends it. It's all based on delayed vs. instant gratification. You can donate, but you are denied the album until the total goal or deadline is reached. So naturally, the fastest way for everyone to get the album is to fill the bounty.

David! (not verified) says:

check out it my be right up your alley.

zirafa says:

oh this looks cool. thanks!

Josh (not verified) says:

Incorporate. It's better than a record deal:

Also: MP3's and vinyl. Jump the chump.