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This is a great can-0-worms to open up for discussion. IMHO at the end of the day we're in a business that promises to the end customer a musical experience for their time, trouble and money and we've do little to bring them into a discussion about what they want from us as the industry. I know folks are working on a number of fan/consumer engagement platforms as are we @altavozdistroco called Buying This(tm) which will take something as simple as fans placing a digital pin on the map to help us determine where and when to place product and merchandise and services (i.e. the bands playing, street teams, radio & general marketing ). Reflecting broadly on this notion I don't think it's a stretch to say that brands/companies that don't do this will find themselves at a loss for customers.

Clyde Smith

I think pursuing this approach will definitely lead you to new places. Of course, these are places that have been explored in other ways by qualitative researchers, market researchers and lean startup entrepreneurs.

"From my point of view, the largest disconnect in the music industry over the last decade has been between what users said they wanted and the products companies actually created."

Market researchers have long discovered that what users say they want doesn't necessarily lead to them buying the product based on what they said.

Part of the popularity of The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is that he presents a rigorous way to address this issue in relationship to product development.

In general, observing what people do typically reveals a disconnect with what they say they do. So Ries advocates ways to observe and track behavior.

That doesn't mean that talking to people doesn't also reveal insights. But asking them whether they want a product or not is usually not that productive.

But certainly once you have a product, bringing people in to check it out, observing their response and use and then talking with them would be incredibly productive.

However, you would probably want to go beyond "insightful users" unless that was your target market at that stage.

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