As a follow up to last week’s post about the future of the music business, the Trent Reznor case study, it seems only fitting to examine what country music artists are doing to connect with fans. As previously highlighted, connecting with fans is only half of the successful equation: CwF + RtB = $$$$. Connecting with Fans and giving them a Reason to Buy seems to be the ticket to longevity in the business of entertainment. Lady A’s rapid rise to the Country A List forces the onlooker to wonder what are they doing right…
Barely four years after forming in 2006, they have been awarded on both Pop and Country stages, released two projects, and to date achieved two #1 hits with “I Run To You” and “Need You Now.”
|2008||Academy of Country Music||Top New Duo or Group||Won|
|Country Music Association Awards||New Artist of the Year||Won|
|2009||CMT Music Awards||Video of the Year — “Lookin’ for a Good Time”||Nominated|
|Group Video of the Year — “Lookin’ for a Good Time”||Nominated|
|USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year — “Lookin’ for a Good Time”||Nominated|
|Grammy Awards||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Best Country Performance by Duo or Group with Vocals||Nominated|
|Country Music Association Awards||Single of the Year — “I Run to You”||Won|
|Vocal Group of the Year||Won|
|2010||Grammy Awards||Best Country Song — “I Run to You”||Nominated|
|Best Country Performance by Duo or Group with Vocals — “I Run to You”||Won|
|Academy of Country Music||Top Vocal Group of the Year||Pending|
|Album of the Year — Lady Antebellum||Pending|
|Single Record of the Year — “Need You Now”||Pending|
|Song of the Year — “Need You Now”||Pending|
|Video of the Year — “Need You Now”||Pending|
Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood, and Hillary Scott are one busy trio. Even after working on their own careers as members of Lady Antebellum, individually they can be found around town lending their talents to other groups and co-writing songs with fellow artists. This industry level involvement will get them accepted behind the scenes, but what are they doing to connect with their fans and give them a reason to buy?
Their most recent album, Need You Now, was available for a limited time only, on the first first day of release, as a digital download for a whopping $3.99 on Amazon.com – $3.99! If they are practically giving their music away like that, there have to be benefits. Lady A realized this one-time sale will spike the downloads and increase sales. A few of the benefits of a business move like this would be to ensure ownership of their music, this ownership increases support, thus generating future interest and it will lead to bigger amounts of merchandise and tour sales. Not to mention it will make them look good to fans when, all-be-it only for a day, they made music affordable to the consumer.
Lady Antebellum, like all artists, actors, and entertainment individuals realize that content is important to the consumer. No one has the time and money to produce albums at a rapid rate so you have to produce music AND videos, photographs, and live appearances to stay on the minds of the fans and remain relevant in the musical discussion.
Something else they currently feature is “Webisode Wednesdays.” Every week the members of Lady Antebellum can be scene behind the scenes at concerts and events, sharing new music, or connecting with fans in these short mini documentaries. This brings the iron curtain down between the artist and the consumer. Fans get a chance to connect with the idiosyncrasies that make the band members work together. They see actual reactions to circumstances, a make-upless Hillary, and what it takes to be an entertainer. This intimate look allows the fans to relate more easily to the artists they put on such high pedestals: CwF.
In a reality tv show crazy climate, Lady Antebellum skipped TLC and the Discovery Channel and independently produce Webisode Wednesdays on their very own LadyA TV. They understand the importance of making digital, internet based, consumable, and sharable items to connect with fans, thus giving them a reason to buy. They follow in the footsteps of artists like Taylor Swift who has grown her own strong fan base with video blogs and an energetic connection with fans.
Artists coming up out of this facebook, youtube, myspace generation are connecting with fans the way they connect with their own friends and family – online. “Music businesses using videos will have a much greater opportunity to appeal to visitors, and more importantly online video is only going to get bigger and continue to steal more influence from traditional TV,” Andreas Viklund, web designer and music producer. The internet isn’t the end-all be-all to the secret of connecting with fans, but it has to be considered as a part of the overall strategy. What are you doing to connect with fans and give them a reason to buy? Leave your comments below.