Crowd Power and the Future of the Music Industry

The zeitgeist of the modern age is firmly rooted in social networks and crowdsourcing. This has manifested itself in several instances within the music industry in recent years with artists like Radiohead and Amanda Palmer turning to their fan bases for direct support. This trend has crystalised today with the publication of a recent study by Nielsen revealing the desire amongst consumers for a different kind of engagement with artists.

According to Nielsen, bespoke, alternative and rare products such as handwritten lyrics and limited edition t-shirts could provide a real source of untapped revenue at a time when the music industry needs it most.

Nielson posits that a fans who might usually spend $15 on an album would spend much more if provided with the opportunity to buy premium content, particularly content that gives the feeling of a connection to the artist.

Over 53% of the most active music buyers said that they would be willing to pay for exclusive content from their favourite band, followed by 22% of the more ambivalent music consumers. Nielson calculates that this revenue could be worth between $564m for individuals buying exclusive content from one band, toting up to as much as $2.6bn incremental revenue if they were to buy from other bands as well.

The message is clear: bands need to reach out to the crowd and make sure that they inspire feelings of love amongst their fanbase. The verb ‘to like’ has suffered from hyperinflation in the Now! Economy, and if brands want to secure their futures, they better start investing in love instead: it may well prove the only lucrative currency.

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