Nov 08


The Bandcamp blog had a very candid conversation with John Beeler of Sufjan Steven’s label, Asthmatic Kitty, after the release of Sufjan’s very successful All Delighted People EP release through Bandcamp. It was refreshing to hear someone from Beeler’s position in the industry speak this way. From the interview:

Bandcamp: All of the tracks from this EP can be streamed in their entirety on Bandcamp – no 30 second snippets. Do you think you lost sales because of that?

John Beeler: No way. I think it really helped that people could stream the whole album. My personal theory is that people can stream anything in its entirety anyway; YouTube is essentially a giant on-demand playback setup ala Spotify these days. Type in a song and artist and bam – you’re streaming right away. The question for record labels and musicians is how far the buy button is from that stream.

I have been noticing the importance of clear communication between artist and fan lately. Asthmatic Kitty’s recent mailing list post is another great example of this. In it, they describe in very human terms what Amazon’s very low pricing of Sufjans full length release The Age of Adz means to both fans and the label. I recommend reading it yourself, as it is really the best way to understand the power of the language and tone.

David Bazan is also asking fans to help him make a record. Here is a great example of the kind of language I am talking about.

David is making a new album right now! The songs are all there, recording is underway! We are shooting for a Spring 2011 release. Barsuk gave him dough to pay for dudes to play on the record and some gear upgrades to make it sound great. But in order to focus his full attention on recording (so he doesn’t take three years like he did with “Curse Your Branches”) we need to keep him at home as much as possible until he’s finished recording the album. That’s a little tricky because a significant part of his income comes from touring.

Transparency is a word that gets thrown around lately without much meaning. As an Artist I think you can share as much or as little about your process as fitting for your artistic message. What is important, is that what you do share is clear, direct, and written like a human, not a PR company.

Treat your content with as much respect as your music, they are the same audience after all.