I’ve been spending a bit of time recently spying on the Electronic Dance Music industry.
It’s become very big compared to the late 90s, when I attended my first underground “rave” parties.
I went to my very first party with a friend of mine from work, and her friend from school.
On the day of the event, we called in to a special number, and got recorded directions to where to drive to.
When we got there — a building in the middle of town that frequently hosted a haunted house around Halloween — there wasn’t really anybody there. A couple cars, maybe.
But we walked up to the ticket booth, and were able to buy bracelets for admission. Only it wasn’t admission here.
The guy who sold us the bracelets gave us another flyer, for another upcoming party, and told us to call that number for directions to that night’s party.
When we did, we got directions to a piece of private property outside of town.
I tell this story to show how the entire scene — from the music itself, to the parties, to the “how to get involved” — was very underground. In fact, when I later became a DJ for these parties, I usually had to mail order my records — yes, records — and often from England.
And because for a long time, “rave” was synonymous with “drug party,” that’s basically how it had to be.
Fast-forward to today, and electronic music is one of the only genres of music that’s growing commercially in the US.
Track sales are up.
Event attendance is up.
Everything is up.
In fact, what used to be underground parties have transitioned to the main stage.
Now, practically every weekend, all summer long, somewhere in America there’s a huge electronic music festival going on.
We’re talking tens of thousands — and for the biggest, hundreds of thousands — of attendees converging for days on end of electronic music.
In fact, the scene has gotten so big that Forbes now tracks the highest-paid DJs in the world.
The top “Electronic Cash King” — Calvin Harris — pulled in $66 million, according to last year’s list. All the top DJs earn 10s of millions of dollars.
Top residencies in Vegas command a six-figure price tag… Per night… For mixing records.
It’s a burgeoning scene. And one that’s working ever-harder to be seen as “legitimate.” (Deadmau5, one of the top DJs on Forbes’ list, and the biggest ticket-seller in recent years, has even been featured performing on the Grammys.)
Even so, pretty much the entire industry sucks at marketing.
Being part of the “entertainment” industry, most of the electronic music world has adopted the entertainment philosophy of marketing.
Maybe they don’t make cheesy commercials designed to get a laugh…
But they focus on art above all…
Beautiful flyer designs and websites (those flyers from the underground parties have now made their way onto the web)…
Limited thought put into offers, follow-up, up-sell, cross-sell…
And especially online…
They’re not using offers to get fans on their email list…
Nevermind squeeze pages…
Those who do have an email list that you can sign up to mail infrequently, and often apologetically when they do…
There’s little direct interaction with fans…
And certainly the idea of building a list of folks who you have permission to market to seems to be a foreign concept to most.
Social is the one area they’ve focused heavily on in recent years…
Ultra Music Festival, one of the biggest, has 2.5 million likes on Facebook. TomorrowWorld, another big festival, 5 million likes.
Calvin Harris has 9.5 million likes… Deadmau5, 9.2 million.
There’s clearly a rabid fan base here.
But one that’s being built on other people’s property.
Remember MySpace? What would it be worth today to have 9 million friends or followers on MySpace?
Nada. Zero. Zilch.
This is an industry in desperate need of a revolution…
There are a few folks in the music industry who are using direct response marketing — often called direct-to-fan marketing — to promote their music, their events, and so on. But by and large, there’s a ton of opportunity for someone to come in and shake everything up using some pretty basic direct response and online marketing principles.
I’d known this for a while, but I recently have been developing a business model that allows me to come in from a different angle and shake things up a bit.
We’ll see what happens!
So what does this have to do with you?
First off, nearly every business could benefit from reexamining the basic principles and strategies of direct response marketing.
And if you’re a consultant, or offer marketing services, there’s huge potential to walk into a ton of markets just like this…
And with a few basic tweaks…
Completely revolutionize the business, and get them dramatically better business results and bigger, easier profits.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
Editor, Breakthrough Marketing Secrets