Direct-to-Fan is a business model used by independent musicians, independent music labels, music marketing professionals, promoters, and others in the music industry. Direct-to-Fan is also becoming a model used by the broad definition of artists, including comedians, visual artists, and other entertainers looking to build and leverage a fan community throughout their career.

The Direct-to-Fan model bypasses the major record label model that historically controlled radio, venue, and distribution channels, and lets the artist (or the team that supports that musician) create interest in their music directly with their fans, identify those fans, market directly to and develop relationships with those fans, sell directly to and monetize those relationships, and use those relationships to expand their fan base.

Foundation components of this model include music discovery sites, and Direct-to-Fan music sales, marketing, and business solutions.

Direct-to-Fan models encourage engaging directly between the artist and their fans, keeping the fans engaged, knowing who they are (who, what, when, where, why), building the artist's brand, and developing the artist-to-fan relationship over time.


Direct-to-fan tools

Some tools supporting Direct-to-Fan include: Storefronts to sell direct-to-fan on Band Websites and on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace, Widget tools to embed sales, gig or event calendar, profile info anywhere including blogs, Marketing tools such as email marketing and messaging, Event tools, Central Content Management tools, and Central Catalog Management tools for both digital and physical products.

Direct-to-fan sales, marketing, and business solutions

More complete, one-place-to-manage-everything Direct-to-Fan solutions are beginning to emerge. They help the artist's team with fan management, brand management, sales, marketing, distribution, manufacturing, event management, merchandizing, warehousing, fulfillment, and more, all from one dashboard.

Direct-to-fan solution example

An example of a Direct-to-Fan solution would have online storefronts for their official band websites, Facebook[1], MySpace, blogs, etc.; Marketing solutions for email marketing, fan capture, fan messaging, and fan management; Label services including digital distribution to iTunes, Amazon, and other retail sites, CD and DVD manufacturing, custom merch, print services, graphic design and web services, warehousing and fulfilment, backend ecommerce and payment processing, and more.

Core applications that assist musicians in implementing a Direct-to-Fan approach include:

  • Band website and storefronts
  • CD/DVD manufacturing
  • Digital music distribution
  • Download cards
  • E-Tickets & Mobile-Tickets
  • Fan email marketing and messaging
  • Fan marketing solutions
  • Merchandise
  • Music discovery
  • Music festival submissions
  • Payment processing
  • Physical warehousing and fulfillment
  • Poster and print services
  • Storefronts
  • Pre-sale ticket and album options
  • Integration of social sites, such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Fan-funding capabilities

Companies that are delivering portions of the above Direct-to-Fan solution include:

Nimbit, Tunecore, FanBridge, CD Baby, Constant Contact, DiscRevolt, Reverb Nation, Topspin, Audiolife, Cafe Press, Bandzoogle, Sonicbids, D2Mondo, Pledgemusic, Zazzle, get-ctrl, ticketscript


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