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Does social networking and interactive tools increase a fan base that pays? Yes and no. I'm begining to believe that the biggest problem is that most artists and labels aren't targeting the correct demographic. It's like they're (and when I say they I really mean we) are tossing darts at a dartboard... blind folded... in the dark... It's useless to market towards individuals who download content for free. They've already tasted the forbidden fruit and they only want more. It's SO easy with so few negative ramifications that there is no reason to do anything else.

The only thing this industry can do is target those who havent tasted the fruit (and don't know what they are missing). The young and the old. They both still pay for music and get involved in ways that others aren't anymore. Both, however, are diminishing resources. The most the industry can do from this point on is try their best to create a strong bond with fans and hope they will want to purchase something tangible like a concert ticket or a t-shirt that they can't get for free someplace else. The hardest part of all of this is just creating the fan
base in the first place that will support an industry that can no longer invest in itself like it once did.

Free album download at www.chancius.com


I think biggest problem with the 'free download' culture is that of the perceived value of recorded music. if people just download for free and completely stop buying recorded music the value of what they place on it is low (non-existent even), conversely is someone still wishes to pay for music they will have placed a value upon it and believe in supporting that artist.

In the DIY world, the basic sales transaction of we make a record and you buy it direct from us through our website (oh, and we'll need you to give us your personal details so we can ship it to you) this alone creates a bond of trust between band and artist. A bond that proves the a fan does indeed place a value on recorded music. As for the freeloaders, let them freeload, you can not stop it.

But you know, fans WILL still continue buy recorded music, this is proven with the DIY direct to fan music marketing techniques being employed by forward thinking artists, albeit on a smaller scale. It is the relationship that is built up between artist and fan that must be the focus, and if done correctly could sustain an artists career - however, no more linear jets and parties on the moon...

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