Why all music is worthless at first

Hey friends!

Today we’re going to talk about why all music is inherently worthless, at first.

No I haven’t had an emotional breakdown. Today’s newsletter is about how all music doesn’t have any value until someone becomes a fan. This slight perception tweak can change how you think about your marketing and your merch.

Tonight i’m going to see one of my favorite bands: Tool.

I paid $650 for VIP tickets which include 3rd row seats. I’ve seen them live 2 other times, but they’re getting old so I thought i’d splurge before they retire and I miss my chance.

But this got me thinking. If someone offered me free Nicki Minaj tickets, I probably wouldn’t go unless I had nothing going on. To me, her merch, tour dates, VIP passes and music is completely worthless.

On a similar note, I saw Ed Sheeran live a few months ago. We only bought the tickets because they were very cheap, and my wife and I wanted something fun to do for a date night. The show was amazing, but neither of us would ever pay big bucks for VIP passes.

I’ve seen Rhett and Link live twice, once with VIP tickets. I’ve even attended every single GME live event they’ve done. But if you don’t like their YouTube content, you wouldn’t buy it.

Many of you reading this might feel the same way about Tool. But to me, $650 to experience them so close up, get limited edition merch and meet someone from the band for a picture is completely worth it.

Why this matters

Music isn’t like most products. A course, a service or a phone has intrinsic value. It solves a problem. Merch, physical media, tickets and memberships from an artist hold zero value unless someone is already a fan.

The more hardcore of a fan someone is of your music, the more they’re willing to pay for your products.

Passive listeners might not be willing to pay $10 for a t-shirt, but your #1 fan might pay $50 for a limited edition shirt.

How to use this knowledge

This is the tricky part. How can you use this to your advantage?

Well the first way you can utilize this is have products available for different stages of fandom. This is often called a value ladder, and it can look like this:

  • A free thing for joining your mailing list

  • A free plus shipping offer for $7.95 shipping

  • Budget merch at $10-$25

  • Limited edition merch or bundles at $25-$75

  • Basic tickets to shows & VIP tickets to shows

  • Multiple tiers in a membership site

This allows fans at every stage to find products they’d be willing to buy.

You can learn about how to get your email list and online store started in my course Fan Growth Machine. Also, if you’re looking for a cheap place to build your website, online store and sales funnels check out MusicFunnels.

This Tool show i’m going to had 3 different stages of VIP tickets in addition to standard tickets. I purchased the most expensive package, because i’m just that obsessed with their music. Their music defined my 20’s.

Because they had these different tiers, fans were able to self-select how much of a fan they are.

But i’m not a large artist yet

This also doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be a huge artist to have die-hard fans.

One of my favorite bands (Fair To Midland) of all time has 63,000 monthly listeners. Granted, they’ve been broken up for 12 years, but I don’t think they were much bigger when they were active. I’ve seen them live, and i’d buy tickets in a heartbeat if they came back.

Another one is Rishloo, they only have 120,000 monthly listeners. I haven’t seen them live, but I pre-ordered their CD back when it came out because I loved their music so much. I don’t even have a CD player.

Theirs even this band called Novallo with 493 monthly listeners that released several of my favorite songs. If they got back together i’d chip into a crowdfunding campaign to help them release a new album.

I’ve spoken to multiple artists with less than 20k monthly listeners who sell VIP tickets at their shows, have exclusive limited edition merch bundles and premium membership tiers.

The size of your audience doesn’t matter in this case - the depth does.

New Content

I recently got to interview Cassie Petrey, who has worked with artists like Backstreet Boys, Camila Cabello, Paramore, Nickelback and more.

Using bots can destroy your music career before it even begins. Learn why in my new video.

Did you know you can listen to my music industry interviews on podcast platforms? Click here to listen to the Modern Music Marketing podcast.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

  1. My courses. Spotify Growth Machine teaches you how to use Facebook ads to promote your music on Spotify. YouTube Growth Machine teaches you how to grow a YouTube channel organically and how to use YouTube ads. Fan Growth Machine teaches you how to build a website, online store and grow your email list.

  2. My ad agency. Forbid Media specializes in running Facebook conversion ads to promote your music on Spotify.

  3. Website / Store / Funnels. MusicFunnels is the best all-in-one platform for music artists to make a website, online store, sales funnels and build their mailing list.

  4. 1-on-1 consulting. You can book 1-hour calls with myself or Alex Bochel here.

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If you’d rather just purchase the e-book, or physical book or audiobook you can do so here.

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