Melinda Newman of the Washington Post wrote an insightful piece on Jam Bands, and how they do business.
This is how it begins:
Marc Brownstein is fretful. The Disco Biscuits bassist has 4,992 friends on his Facebook page. If he adds eight more, the social networking site’s regulations dictate that his friend page must become a fan page, which many fans rightfully assume could be run by an administrator or manager.
“I don’t want a fan page; it’s just another barrier between you and the fan. The fans on my Facebook page know they’re talking to me and I know I’m talking to them and I value that,” Brownstein says, sounding genuinely distressed that he is keeping the 60 friend requests he gets per day in “Facebook purgatory” — neither accepting nor declining them — while he figures out his dilemma.
It gets better from there:
When gasoline soared north of $4 per gallon last summer, Brownstein says he knew the Disco Biscuits were in trouble. “We make our money on the traveling fan because half the crowd isn’t from the town we’re playing,” Brownstein says.
After a “rough tour” in 2008, Brownstein says the members of the Disco Biscuits “powwowed” with their manager and booking agent and decided to drop their ticket prices from $30 to $35 to around $20. The result, Brownstein says, is the band’s best tour in its 12-plus-year history. “You don’t make new fans at $35,” Brownstein says. “We were seeing ourselves hit a plateau. The number one thing you can do is write new great music to bring your crowd. We wrote about 50 new songs and drastically cut the [ticket] price.”
Community. Respect for the audience. Honest engagement. Fair pricing. A focus on improving the product. Yep, Jam Bands aren’t talking about it in a fluorescent-lit room somewhere, they’re living it.
If you’d like to read more on the subject, please see “Grateful To Be In Business,” a post I made here in January.