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Why Musicians Should Think More B2B, Less About B2C

1In this piece, Bobby Owsinski explains why, in the new music economy, artists need to think more about Business to Business transactions instead of just focusing on Business to Consumer transactions.

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Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

You might be wondering about the title and that’s because it contains some popular business-speak, so let me translate – B2B means “business to business” and B2C means “business to consumer.” This really relates to artists and bands, but also to musicians in general because we’re usually thinking more about our fans and audiences than the people that we really work for, meaning the entities in the middle like record labels, publishers, clubs, agents and promoters. Our Music 4.0 world requires that we think much more about the B2B than the B2C than in the past.

What The Other Guy Gets

A good example of how this works is a band looking for a gig at a club. The club owner asks, “Why should I hire you?” and the band leader usually says, “Because we’re really great and the crowd loves us.” I’ve been on the band leader side of this, and while this can be a sufficient argument to a new owner, someone who’s been in the business for a while will probably just say, “So what?”

The better response would be, “Because we usually bring in 150 people that not only will pay at the door, but tend to drink more than the minimum, which should give you a good night at the bar. We have a strong following of 2,000 hard-core fans that we mobilize with multiple targeted emails and a social media campaign to ensure that they show up.” You’ve just provided the club owner exactly what he or she wanted to hear – how they’ll make money through booking you.

You can extend the conversation to a record label executive conversations.

Label Exec: “You guys are interesting, but we’re not sure you’re right for us.”

2You: “We’re not looking for a label as much as we’re looking for a partner, and we think that the synergy between us could be very powerful. We have a solid fan base world-wide of around 25,000, of which about 2,000 are super-fans that consume everything we do. That might not seem like a lot to you, but the numbers grow by at least 10% with every song or video that we release, and we tend to release something once a month. We have a very strong social presence on Instagram and Facebook where we mobilize our followers toward each video released on our YouTube channel or on Spotify. Our fan base is growing rapidly just with our current resources, but we feel that with your support we can make take a quantum leap that would be good for both parties.”

You’d probably want to supply more data about touring and attendance, streaming and YouTube numbers, and social media engagement, but anything that you can provide is useful. Although a label can find a lot of that out on their own, if you make it available up front it tells them that you’re aware of how promotion and marketing works and that they can scale up quickly with you. You thinking about what’s interesting to the other guy.

The audience is important and the ultimate arbiter of whether you’ll be successful or not, but no matter where you’re at in your career path there’s almost always someone in between that you must work with. Make both your lives easy. Think B2B!

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