What Röyksopp Should Do With "Senior"

Röyksopp announced yesterday that the companion album to 2009's Junior would suffer further delays in release. The statement, posted on their site, gives reasons for the delay and uses pointed yet mitigating language - reading between the lines, they have either been dropped from their label (criminally unbelievable) or are frustrated with their current arrangements.

Considering the group's fan base and credibility, it is rather shocking that any label would argue with the artist's desire to ship their work. This collection has been complete since Junior was released - in today's market of limitless choice there is rarely an excuse for holding back material.

The group's statement reads:

All in all, even though the extra wait is boring/ bad/ painful, this should be seen as good news. Senior is a very special release to us, and we would never release it without making sure it was in the best possible hands, when it comes to record companies and distribution.

It seems to me that Röyksopp have the answer to their dilemma already. Rather than wait, here's what they should be doing:

Use the power
You want this release to be in the "best possible hands" for release and distribution. You are a globally recognised artist with your own website. The Internet is the best distributor the industry has ever known - use it to release the album yourself.

Give something back
This release is "special" to you, but what benefit is there in waiting to release it to those who are anticipating it? You have a free members site on your home page. Bundle up Senior and give it away to registered members now. The gift says thank you to the loyal fans who have supported you.

Create buzz and demand
You're probably arguing with your current label on marketing Senior. A major artist giving this gift result in a volume of ego PR, whilst rewarding the community that supports you. Let the fans spread the word - have them invite new members to join your site. The attention of your community is worth so much more than the pennies you would make off the commercial release.

Three small steps for Röyksopp that send a big message. If you're frustrated with how your art is being shared, take control of it. The new industry is about self-responsibility, not blaming someone else for creating barriers for you to acheiving your goal.

What's stopping any musician from doing the same thing?


The Gaymonkey Survey - Part 2: Join Our Club

We've been thinking about how to thank our community through a membership site. We've imagined this would be a place where our fans and followers could get access to exclusive material - from new tracks, to videos and concert performances. Getting your opinion on how to set this up was a crucial part of the Gaymonkey survey.

Only a fifth of the respondents to our questionnaire currently belong to an artist or label membership site - from Madonna, to Röyksopp and the Bedroom Community pages. Just under 40% replied that they did not like membership sites - could this be that labels are not offering the right kind of benefits to keep their audience engaged?

One respondent put it simply: "To be honest, I sign up for them and usually immediately forget about them"

We asked what types of features would entice people to join an artist/label membership site. 48% of people would join a members area if they were offered the promise of free music. But equally, access to buy music before it is officially released is also a strong draw (42% of respondents). Here's where the power of free comes back to the debate.

However, 25% stated that getting exclusive videos would not be incentive to join. With YouTube reaching its fifth year - and getting up to 2 billion views per day - perhaps we are satisfying our need for video content on our new favourite mainstream platform?

So what do they really want from a members site?
The Wordle above paints a picture of what our community expects from a new club. Clearly exclusive stuff - from getting new music first to priority gig tickets - is attractive, as well as access to free swag.

Membership should have its privileges.


The Gaymonkey Survey - Part 1: Shopping

A few months ago we opened up a survey with a couple of simple questions. We wanted to get an idea of how our community prefers to find out about new music, to give us some insight to support the next phase of Gaymonkey's development.

This blog has been useful in hammering out new ideas on the music business. It is clear that the entire industry is in a transition phase, but it seems to me that the consumer/fan gets the brunt of the blame, rather than being involved in the shaping of something new. An artist or label's community is more important than ever - getting feedback on what you want, and how you want it, is essential. This simple survey was just the start of getting our own community's opinion, and we thank everyone who took the time to complete it.

For these questions we focused on MaJiKer's followers on Twitter and Facebook, but also pushed the survey out to fans on Last.fm and members of the EQ Facebook group. We received responses from all over the world, and it should be noted that this data is reflective of MaJiKer's audience, and therefore not music fans as a whole. All respondents received a Gaymonkey MP3 sampler and the chance to get a copy of the limited edition CD of Revolutions by Melnyk.

I'm happy to share the insight over the next few posts - if you have any questions on the responses, please feel free to get in touch!

We're S-H-O-P-P-I-N-G

We asked where people usually get their music from, allowing survey respondents to choose multiple options from a list - including iTunes, CD stores, MP3 blogs and more. Immediately it is clear that we are gleaning our sounds from more than one place; where a decade ago we would have relied on our local record shop, we now pick and mix from online, offline, and direct from third parties.

Surprisingly, the CD store still comes up tops - however, online shops are more popular (49%) than the high street (43%). This is followed up very closely by the digital format - with 47% getting their music from iTunes, and 32% from other online shops. While iTunes remains a leader in digital distribution, 43% of respondents are also accessing tracks from MP3 blogs.

It would have been beneficial to have these responses rank ordered via preference, but I suspect that choice is not necessarily based on our favourite place to shop. With the fragmentation of distribution comes the necessity of convenience - we are getting used to wanting music fast and available at our fingertips. Though this data may suggest an even split between the physical and digital formats, it is possible that people are still picking and choosing between the two depending on convenience.

Pricing has often been cited as a barrier to people purchasing music in the past few years. Why buy when you can get it for free? When given the choice, our community opted for £8 (10€) as the price that artists/labels should charge for an album (54%).

Only one respondent ticked the box that stated "music should be free".

Perhaps choice and availability are more valued to our community than the ability to get what they want for free?