Recently, a band that I really enjoy put out a new record. I want to tell you about my experience purchasing the record & discuss the relationship that exists
(or should exist) between fans and artists/bands/labels.
The record I purchased was Quiet Life’s Wild Pack & the label it came from was Mama Bird Recording.
There are links at the bottom of this post that’ll allow you to go find out more about this Portland, Oregon label & their family of bands… but I’m here to talk about the time, care, and personal touch that they put into their products. In this digital age of instant gratification, this is something that fans should truly appreciate and something that other bands & labels should learn from.
I’ll never be one to discount the advantages of digital music. I’ve put out a few records (the latest was strictly a digital release) and, without outlets such as iTunes, Amazon, etc… my music may have never been heard by many. But I do believe heavily in the value of physical media, especially vinyl records. I’m a fan of tangible creations. There is no substitute, no digital booklet that can replace the feeling of cutting through the shrinkwrap and sliding a fresh vinyl record
(or compact disc) from its sleeve. I truly love it. I always have.
Mama Bird Recording takes that experience one step further. Like I said, I was looking around to read up on Quiet Life’s new record & was jumped to their label’s Bandcamp page. If you’re not familiar with Bandcamp, it’s a customizable microsite for artist/label promotion & music sales (you can read more about it HERE). It’s great. It is ESPECIALLY great for independent artists like myself. You should check it out. At any rate, I chose to forgo iTunes and purchase Quiet Life’s new record, Wild Pack, on vinyl. Of course, the record came with an immediate digital download upon purchasing the vinyl (to satisfy my inner modern consumptionist).
About a week later, the vinyl record arrived from Portland. Look at this photograph:
Here’s everything that was included in my purchase:
- 140g vinyl record
- 24X24″ poster of amazing artwork
- Digital download card
- Postcard with a download code (for the whole record) so you can mail it as a gift to a friend for FREE
- Hand-written note from Vincent at Mama Bird Recording Co.
I’ve never received a record from someone I didn’t know with a hand-written note in it. It was sincere. And it means a lot. Here’s what it said:
Howdy! Just wanted to extend a quick THANK YOU. Your support of physical media truly makes all the difference for the band and a smaller record label like ours. Enjoy the album and be sure to check in on other/future Mama Bird releases.
Vincent at Mama Bird Recording Co.
This is where artists, bands, & labels should take notice: I firmly believe that it is the personal touches added to products that build relationships with fans. In business, there is an idea of “added value”. This means adding something extra to your product that is of high value to your customers (your fans), and relatively low-cost to you (artist/band/label). You are your product. You are of value to your fans. Add a little bit of yourself to things. There is such a thing as “brand loyalty” when it comes to music, and you are your brand. Cultivate your personal touches. Connect with fans in new and nontraditional ways. Respond to their tweets. Read their fan emails. Answer their fan emails. Sign everything you can. Don’t take their fanship for granted. Be a human, and be thankful and humbled every day that anyone gives a damn about what you’re making… because some day, no one will.
This is where fans should take notice: Physical media is the most profitable (per unit) media for your average artist, band, or label. Especially if that artist, band, or label is unsigned or independent. Although some physical media sales, such as vinyl & cassette tapes, are on a slow rise… their sales are still dwarfed by digital sales. The Galleywinter motto is “Support Music You Love”. Nothing supports music more than buying it. Not Spotify, not Pandora, nothing. Purchasing music supports music. Period.
Call me romantic, but I dream of a utopia where artist’s profits are maximized & fans are able to obtain wonderful physical items from acts that they enjoy…
And for this to be the norm, rather than the exception.
Fans: Keep supporting. Buy music. It’s what keeps artists creating things that you love. Aristis/bands/labels: Add value to your products. Be human, not lifeless profit machines.
Happy Monday. I hope you go out & buy some music. It’ll make the rest of your week badass. Feel free to comment about anything below…