A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Piracy

Does a band have customers or fans? Read on metal heads and find out.

A customer is a person who purchases goods or services from another. A fan is an ardent admirer of a pop star, film actor, football team, etc.

So how can a band turn fans into satisfied customers that keep on coming back, again and again?

You ask any artist what kind of fan/customer they want and I guarantee you they will say statements like the following;
Fans who are loyal
Fans who spread the word
Fans who spend money on record music, concerts and merchandise
Fans who spend money on concert tickets
Fans who spend money on merchandise
Fans who interact with the band

So if artists want fans then the artists need to do more than just satisfying them. They need to bring the WOW factor to everything they do.

A lot of artists and their representatives come up with loads of dazzling ideas and packages however they are still rooted in the old record label business models.

For example;

Dream Theater has been pushing the same Super Deluxe packages since “Black Clouds and Silver Linings”. The packages have more or less been in the same format, same items and for the same price.

Avenged Sevenfold did a similar package for the “Hail To The King” album.

Five Finger Death Punch didn’t.

Trivium had album and merchandise specials happening.

Coheed and Cambria focused on the Deluxe packages.

Protest The Hero focused on their Indiegogo campaigners and the perks involved with that campaign.

What would have happened if the bands “under promised and over delivered”?

Imagine the service Roadrunner and Dream Theater would have done by giving the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe packages, a site to download the mp3’s when they found out the album leaked on the internet.

Protest The Hero did exactly that. As soon as the band found out about the leak on torrent sites, they went into action. I guess it helps to know who your fans are and to have that data handy.

Customer satisfaction is artists delivering on promises, like releasing a product when they say they are going to release it. Cough Cough, Live at Luna Park DVD.

Artists are doing exactly as they said they would and fans/customers are satisfied.

Imagine if the customers get something more than they expect, like more options, early delivery, a special download site when the album leaks, additional perks attached to the orders, access to demo’s or ideas that didn’t get developed further – I would expect the artist to end up with a very loyal and more than satisfied customer base, that can propel them into the next level of success.

It’s a simply idea. When we get a service that we don’t expect, rather than a service that we do expect the payoff can be enormous.

However under promising is not just about throwing in extras and doing things faster.

If the album is being released on Thursday 13 December, make the mp3 download available a week earlier to the fans that purchased the Super Deluxe package. “Great news, we wanted you to have the music as soon as possible. Click on the below link to download an mp3 rip of the album. No extra charge.”

It’s simple, all bands need to do is change their promise and watch satisfied customers become devoted customers. What do you think Lady Gaga and Kate Perry where doing with their “leaks” and then bringing the album release date forward. They were employing the under promise over deliver business model.

Every artist needs to be looking at making their fans become customers.

“Our audience are fans first and customers second. We really try not to annoy them.”
The above quote is from Stefan Mennerich, Bayern Munich Director of New Media, Media Rights & IT.

A soccer/football club is no different to a band or an artist. The devotion is there.

“You have to think about what the consumers want and tailor the experience to their unique interests. And the experience is also very different depending on the platform the consumer is using.”
The above quote is from Ken Fuchs, Head of Entertainment, Sports and Games at Yahoo!

This is how the record labels tailor the experience.

PRODUCT A is coming out on DATE XXXX.
IT COSTS $$$$.
PRE-ORDER it now at iTunes, Best Buy, Amazon.

Wow, what an experience for the fan.

Imagine if the above experience was tweaked.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in three weeks’ time.
GO to YOUTUBE now and watch a recording of BAND A performing the songs live in the studio. That same recording is available to be downloaded as an AVI file and an MP3 rip via BitTorrent.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in two weeks’ time.
Go to YOUTUBE now and watch the latest video clip.

MP3 downloads are available for the Super Deluxe Package orders RIGHT NOW. That’s right, this is 2 weeks before the actual release date.

BAND A is releasing a PRODUCT A in two weeks’ time.
We have a special MP3 deal from our website. For $5 you get an mp3 rip of the album, regardless of your geographical location. This is a two week sale before the official release date.

One week before the release date, the album is available for STREAMING at YouTube, Spotify, iTunes Radio and Pandora.

The sad thing is no band with major label backing would do the above because for some insane reason they still believe that the charts matter.

DREAM THEATER LIVE AT LUNA PARK DVD IS #1. THE NEW DVD FROM THE GRAMMY-NOMINATED BAND IS CURRENTLY ATOP THE SOUNDSCAN DVD CHART.

See what I mean.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

The Gremlin Day, Generic Metal & Protest The Hero’s “Underbite”

You ever had a gremlin day. I have. You know one of those days when conventional wisdom falls over. One of those days when things that always worked ceased working the same as they always have for no real reason.

It makes you question everything. It makes you feel paranoid and you start to believe that everything you have done up until that point is rubbish.

From my perspective, I work in IT and I have been working on a project since August. We implemented successfully over the weekend, however on Thursday before the weekend implementation I questioned everything and I was about to pull the plug on it.

This is what normally begins to happen when you spend so much time on the one piece of work. This is why Top 40 sounds so bland and processed. Using I.T. speak “the Top 40 has been tested to death.”

The songs go through so many rewrites it’s not funny. That is why you have as many names as “The Last Supper” listed as songwriters of the generic and lifeless Top 40.

However Heavy Metal and Hard Rock music is generally written “in-house”, meaning that most of the material is written within the band. So why are we getting a similar generic output as the Top 40. Why are we getting lifeless and soulless songs that mean nothing and say nothing and to be honest if I heard them live I would probably yawn. The artists that created something great always lived on the edges, merging various influences and styles. However, when one artist sees another artist strike a pot of gold, they follow suit, believing that the same pot of gold would come to them if they replicated what the other artist did.

For example, every band wanted to be like Bon Jovi in 1987 and by 1988 every band wanted to be like Guns N Roses and by 1989 every band wanted to be sober like Motley Crue and by 1991 every band wanted to be Metallica and by 1992 every band started to incorporate grunge influences.

I started thinking about the above, after listening to the song “Underbite” from Protest The Hero and after watching the hilarious puppet clip. The Protest The Hero channel is showing that the clip has had 112,436 views. Not bad for a fan funded band that was told by their record label that are washed up.

Underbite means the projection of the lower teeth beyond the upper teeth. Protest The Hero have taken that term and twisted it up to include the rock n roll show. They are focusing on the generic mediocrity of artists who go out there and fake it. They are focusing on artists and labels that couldn’t care less about the fan experience. They are focusing on artists and labels that care about maintaining the status quo and the profits that came with that.

Jon Bon Jovi is one such artist that comes to mind. Eventually the shows sell out on this tour however for the first time ever, Bon Jovi concert tickets got the reduced treatment on Living Social and other web outlets. If he tours again next year and charges the same high prices, he will be in for a shock.

The Rolling Stones is another.

Motley Crue have gone back to the same marketplace again and again since 2008’s “Saints Of Los Angeles” and with each re-iteration they are getting less and less to the show.

Metallica needs new music to come out. It has been a 5 year victory lap for Death Magnetic and with 2014 approaching, that will make it 6 years.

Black Sabbath is another. Watching Ozzy sing live was a joke and he had the balls to say in interviews that Bill Ward couldn’t perform live because he was old, overweight and he had to use post it notes to remember his drum tracks. Well Ozzy is old, out of key and he never strayed too far from the prompts as he struggled to remember the lyrics.

The song Underbite also focuses on artists who see themselves as gods and their fans as stupid kids who are expected to consume every piece of music they produce regardless if it’s good or not. It has lyrics like “An understanding between you and I that the ground that you stand on is somehow less than mine” and “Now you comprehend our complex relationship—consumer/consumed, You’re just some stupid kid and I’m a megalomaniac.”

The part in the film clip where the fan goes to purchase the merchandise is so spot on. I could relate as it happens to me all the time.

First, the merchandise stand rarely has the size that a person wants. Good luck to all the ones that rush in and get it early and bad luck to the fans who get their later or the fans who just want to purchase merchandise later.

Then the prices are ridiculous. So as the clip shows, you end up forking out a decent amount of cash for a band t-shirt that doesn’t fit or is too large.

I really like the lyrics about “You’re disgracing your effort by conforming to textbook performance of music to fill in the gaps.” This is about going through the same motions and the same dialogue and the same songs day in and day out.

“Let’s not repackage the same old performance, Original content is so much more rewarding.”

While I love Twisted Sister, I don’t agree with the viewpoints put out by them, that there is no need for them to create new music. Dee Snider has mentioned that there is no motivation to write any new songs while Jay Jay French and Mark Mendoza have talked about giving the fans what they want in the live show and how if a new song is played these days from the classic rock bands, the fans see it as a toilet break. While each performance is unique due to Dee Snider’s banter, the songs however don’t stray too far from the first three albums era.

How many times can Iron Maiden revisit their past and repackage past tours as current ones. “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” and “Maiden England” are two that come to mind in the last 4 years. While the “Caught Somewhere Back In Time” tour broke box office records, the “Maiden England” tour not so much.

Their show at the San Manuel Amphitheater, Devore, California on September 13, Iron Maiden got 27,000 fans in a venue that fits 41,000. Megadeth, Anthrax, Testament and Sabaton also appeared on the bill. Of course 27,000 is a massive attendance however the venue is just over 50% full. Iron Maiden needs new content and great content at that.

Listen to the song. There are some hard truths in there and Protest The Hero try to cover them all.

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A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories

TesseracT – The Modern Definition of Traction

TesseracT’s new album “Altered State” was released a few months ago. In relation to sales, it came and went pretty quickly. So if you take the old record label paradigm, which a lot of the journalists do these days, they will call it a failure.

Well, if you go on Spotify, you will see that the new album has been streamed 1,000,425 times.

Before everyone starts screaming that Spotify doesn’t pay and that it does nothing for artists, they should read this story doing the rounds on Mashable.

The “Singularity” video on YouTube has had 214,579 views.

The “Nocturne” track on YouTube has had 278,047 views.

Other tracks from the “Altered State” album, that have been released by Century Media have had views with similar numbers.

These are the numbers that matter in this day and age. The ones that show that people are listening to your music.

Then you have the following tour dates;

TesseracT w/Katatonia, Cult of Luna and Intronaut:
01.10.2013 (USA) Cleveland, OH – Peabody’s
02.10.2013 (USA) Chicago, IL – The Bottom Lounge
04.10.2013 (USA) Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
06.10.2013 (USA) Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theater
07.10.2013 (USA) San Francisco, CA – Slim’s

TesseracT Headline tour with Scale the Summit:
09.10.2013 (CDN) Vancouver, BC – Tom Lee Music Hall
10.10.2013 (CDN) Edmonton, AB – Pawn Shop
12.10.2013 (CDN) Calgary, AB – The Gateway
13.10.2013 (CDN) Regina, SK – The Exchange
14.10.2013 (CDN) Winnipeg, MB – Union Sound Hall
16.10.2013 (USA) Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theater – Studio B
17.10.2013 (USA) Lawrence, KS – The Granada Theater
18.10.2013 (USA) Indianapolis, IN – Emerson Theater
20.10.2013 (USA) St. Louis, MO – Fubar
22.10.2013 (USA) Ft Worth, TX – Tomcats West
23.10.2013 (USA) Houston, TX – Fitzegerald’s – Downstairs
24.10.2013 (USA) New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
25.10.2013 (USA) Atlanta, GA – The Drunken Unicorn
26.10.2013 (USA) Tampa, FL – Orpheum Theatre
27.10.2013 (USA) Greensboro, NC – Blind Tiger
01.11.2013 (MEX) Guadalajara – F.Bolko
02.11.2013 (MEX) Mexico City – Multiforo Cultural Alicia
03.11.2013 (MEX) Monterrey – Café Iguana

w/ Karnivool:
13.11.2013 (UK) Portsmouth – Wedgewood Rooms
14.11.2013 (UK) Bristol – Thekla
15.11.2013 (UK) Nottingham – Rock City Basement
16.11.2013 (UK) Glasgow – The Garage
18.11.2013 (UK) Sheffield – Corporation
19.11.2013 (UK) Manchester – Academy 2
20.11.2013 (UK) Birmingham – Institute Library
21.11.2013 (UK) London – Koko
23.11.2013 (IND) Bangalore – Bacaradi NH7 Weekender

w/ The Safety Fire, Protest The Hero, Intervals:
06.01.2014 (DE) Karlsruhe – Substage
07.01.2014 (DE) Nuernberg – Hirsch
08.01.2014 (DE) Berlin – Magnet
09.01.2014 (DE) Hamburg – Logo
10.01.2014 (SE) Stockholm – Klubben
11.01.2014 (SE) Gothenburg – Fängelset
12.01.2014 (NO) Oslo – John Dee
14.01.2014 (DK) Copenhagen – Vega
16.01.2014 (B) Aarschot – De Klinker
17.01.2014 (F) Paris – Le Divan Du Monde
18.01.2014 (F) Toulouse – Le Saint des Seins
19.01.2014 (ES) Madrid – Copernico
20.01.2014 (ES) Barcelon – Sala Boveda
22.01.2014 (CH) Aarau – Kiff
23.01.2014 (I) Milan – Zoe Club
25.01.2014 (A) Vienna – Szene
26.01.2014 (H) Budapest – Dürer Kert
28.01.2014 (DE) Munich – Backstage
29.01.2014 (DE) Leipzig – Conne Island
30.01.2014 (LUX) Esch Sur Alzette – Rockhal
31.01.2014 (DE) Cologne – Essigfabrik
01.02.2014 (UK) Brighton – Concorde 2
02.02.2014 (UK) Birmingham – O2 Academy 2 Birmingham
04.02.2014 (UK) Sheffield – Corporation
05.02.2014 (UK) Glasgow – Classic Grand
06.02.2014 (UK) Manchester – Manchester Academy 2
07.02.2014 (UK) London – Electric Ballroom
09.02.2014 (NL) Dordrecht – Bibelot

Soundwave Festival:
22.02.2014 (AUS) Brisbane – RNA Showrooms, Soundwave 2014
23.02.2014 (AUS) Sydney – Olympic Park, Soundwave 2014
28.02.2014 (AUS) Melbourne – Flemington Racecourse, Soundwave 2014
01.03.2014 (AUS) Adelaide – Adelaide, Soundwave 2014
03.03.2014 (AUS) Perth – Perth, Soundwave 2014

So the modern definition of traction is all of the above. Add to that mix, merchandise sales and licensing deals and based on the shows that TesseracT are booked to play, I would say that the new album is a success.

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