Music, My Stories, Piracy, Stupidity, Treating Fans Like Shit

A Look Back

2009: This week (April 1 to April 6) – 5 years ago

Record Labels: The 360 deal had a lot of headlines as financially challenged record labels began forcing acts to give up income from touring and merchandise for almost nothing in return.

Innovation: A new anti-piracy law in Sweden meant that the VPN encryption industry got a new boost. This more or less pointed out that playing Whac-A-Mole over file sharing was useless.

PIRACY: The RIAA was still pushing the whole “Music is theft” argument. The RIAA was still pushing their whole “music acquired illegally = drop in revenues”.

DIY: Halestorm: Read this Techdirt article from April 2009. There is a reason why Halestorm is one of the main leaders of the current crop of rock bands.

A quick summary of the post (their debut album was still not released);

– Lzzy starts solo with a guitar around her neck and a mic, just singing acapella. Long notes, killer voice. She has people cheering for her before the rest of the band even walks out on stage. Before her voice gets hidden behind the rock, she lets ’em know she can sing and you can see people are impressed straight away.
– The rest of the band appears and they tear through a few songs. It’s straight-ahead rock, on the heavy side but ready for pop radio. Everyone in the band is high-energy and engaging, even Lzzy’s brother Arejay on drums is standing up for parts of the songs and just generally being a showman.
– Mid-way through the set Lzzy announces they have a new record coming out in a few weeks but you can buy a pre-release of it now for $5 at the merch stand.
– There’s a drum solo-y part that doesn’t go on long and ends with the entire band at the front of the stage playing drums and the crowd cheering as they go crazy with it.
– During the last song Lzzy reminds them that they have their own merch stand upstairs and CDs for only $5. She also says the whole band is going to be up there after their set and that she wants to meet everyone.
– I head over to the merch stand after the show and watch their tour manager relieve the woman who runs the merch table so she can disappear into the crowd below with a box of CDs with “Halestorm CDs $5” written on it.
– The merch stand is mobbed. It’s surrounded by people and they are selling merch literally as fast as their tour manager can manage.
– The band appears (after breaking down their own stage setup) and meets and talks to as many people as possible, while helping to sell their merch.

As Ian Rogers from TopSpin noted:

“The band is doing everything right. They’re using every opportunity to connect with fans, while also giving them a real reason to buy. They’re not waiting for their record label to get them on the radio or MTV. They’re doing everything they can to actually build up a rabid supporting fanbase from the bottom up.”

And that is what every band should be striving for. Connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy.

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