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Upgraded and Enhanced Music Business Models

Great post from Mashable about how artists are creating upgrades and enhancements to music business models. Earlier Mike King reported in his blog how Amanda Palmer made $19,000 online using Twitter on a Friday night. The important thing is not the fact that she used Twitter, but that she found a way to engage her fans and make money, on top of the traditional approach of trying to sell CDs or tickets.

“Amanda is not producing money out of thin air, or by swindling some people into buying something they do not want. She’s engaging her fans who are glad to be able to buy some merchandise directly from the artist. Secondly, she’s not a professional PR or a marketing professional; she did it by engaging her audience through the simple tools at her disposal.

Which brings me to my most important point: Twitter is just a tool in this case. Her 30,000 Twitter followers aren’t just people who she followed and then they followed her back; they’re not some random mass of people who just happen to be following Amanda Palmer. They’re her fans, which means that any artist who has fans can do the exact same thing. It’s not a one-time thing or a passing fad: true fans will always be interested in buying a t-shirt, attending a secret gig, or getting their record signed.

We’re still at a very early stage in the online music revolution. Soon, artists will have a multitude of tools to help them communicate with their audience, offer them extra value and, last but not least, make money.

Ultimately, we’re not talking only about replacing current business models; we’re talking about upgrading them; finding new, better business models. You think that the music business is fine as it is? It’s not. It scales awfully. It’s great if you’re hugely popular, but if you’re an indie artist, the big record companies don’t care much about you. As Amanda bluntly puts it:


These new tools, such as Twitter, will help the entire music business scale much, much better. Very popular musicians such as Radiohead will still make a lot of money. But relatively unknown artists, by promoting their work and selling stuff directly to the fans, using free or inexpensive online tools, will be able to make a better living than they do right now. The future might not be very bright for the big record companies, but it is indeed bright for the artists.”

Read more here at Mashable.

We Welcome Your Comments


12 replies
  1. R. Liechti says:


    This is an awesome post. It provides good insight on how unknown artists can capitalize from the new tools available online to create and maintian their music businesses. Your blog is big motivation for me, thank you for always posting great information.

    R. Liechti

  2. kc says:

    I wonder if there are any success stories like this from an artist who has never had *an* major label promotion…?

  3. Ike barnes says:

    The biggest tool that any artist can have in their arsenal is great music. If your music is good no matter what tool you use to market yourself, you will turn strangers into fans. The music industry still believes you can succeed by forcing mediocre music through traditional media outlets. What they don’t realize is that the people that buy music don’t buy it because of the fact that they heard a song fifty times on the radio. Fans buy music because the feel connected
    to the artist on some level. Great post.

  4. Shankar Saikia says:


    Great post! One of the most important messages in this post is that one of the advantages of social media marketing is the ability to actively engage the audience. Many mistakenly assume that social media marketing should be used to do a hard-sell on followers. The reality is that followers appreciate the opportunity to directly interact with the person – this type of engagement leads to a closer relationship. The other reality is that it takes a long time and a lot of effort to engage in social media marketing. The good news is that it is great for both the artists and the followers.

  5. Beth says:

    If an artist can make thousands, gain fans, and market themselves, is there really a need for record labels? Of course it would take hard work and commitment for an artist to achieve this, but perhaps it could be accomplished. Interesting post. The future of the music industry. Do you think more and more artists will use this technique and become independent of record labels?

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  1. […] Upgraded and Enhanced Music Business Models | Future Of Music "…how artists are creating upgrades and enhancements to music business models" (tags: music_business marketing musician) […]

  2. […] Amanda Palmer raking in $19,000 using Twitter?  Dave Kusek tells you about it in his post, ‘Upgraded and Enhanced Music Business Models’ @ […]

  3. […] in Schumpeter’s “creative destruction,” I stumble across something like this note from a new indie band on Dave Kusek’s “Future of Music” blog: TOTAL MADE THIS MONTH USING TWITTER = […]

  4. […] June 28, 2009Jackson Family: Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way – June 28, 2009Upgraded and Enhanced Music Business Models – June 28, 2009 No TweetBacks yet. (Be the first to Tweet this […]

  5. […] THIS MONTH USING TWITTER = $19,000 / TOTAL MADE FROM 30,000 RECORD SALES = ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.“ Read more… and How Musician can make $19,000 in 10 hours using Twitter. Read more… VN:F […]

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