Chris Reed
Jun 18, 2012

Are music fans brand loyal enough to wait for official release dates?

Mike Shinoda believes in the power of music fan loyalty.  Shinoda is the brains and architect of Linkin Park and he made an interesting plea to fans this week via his twitter page.In these days of ...

Are music fans brand loyal enough to wait for official release dates?

Mike Shinoda believes in the power of music fan loyalty.  Shinoda is the brains and architect of Linkin Park and he made an interesting plea to fans this week via his twitter page.

In these days of downloading a new album via the many torrent sites worldwide weeks before an official release Shinoda asked fans to wait.

Shinoda compared it to Christmas or a birthday and talks passionately about sharing a new release with friends.

He says “Growing up, when one of my favorite bands released a new album, it was an event.  I used to leave school at lunchtime with my friends to drive to the store and buy it.  We would rip open the packages and put one in, and listen to it together.  We would shout over the music, rewind our favorite parts, play songs over.  It recently occurred to me how sad it is that so much of that experience has been lost.  Albums leak, release dates are spread out over the course of weeks, and often, people hear an album alone, on pathetic computer speakers.”  It’s a heartfelt plea.  (https://twitter.com/#!/m_shinoda) He has had a fantastically positive response from fans around the world.

Shindoa wants people to open their gift, their new Linkin Park Living Things together at midnight. Have a party, have friends round and have a Linkin Park themed night.

Linkin Park havent’ necessarily helped themselves here having a series of release dates from the 20th of June in Japan to the 26th in the US but the message is clear, wait and you will be rewarded.  Recapture that magic.

Shinoda even issued a challenge to fans to wait, and says the best tweeted photos of people enjoying that magical moment of a first listen on the release day will be rewarded with more Linkin Park goodies. He is though realistic to say “If you decide to download the album leak rather than purchase the album, fine. This challenge still applies to you.  This is not about downloading, it’s about deciding to have more fun.”

It’s an interesting plea from one of the leaders of Linkin Park who have used the web to offer fans downloads of everything from every live concert ever performed to various remixes of songs exclusively for fan club members. They have embraced the web on the basis that you can’t fight it and you may as well try and control and direct the content and at least gain some commercial benefit from it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42QvK6JV3yY&feature=related

To combat the threat of fans not waiting to download the new album Linkin Park have come up with some innovative ideas. They range from treasure hunts and puzzles to solve, rewarding people with new music and signed CDs/artwork to packaging up the album with a promise of 8 remixes from the album that will be sent out to fans who pre-order the album over the next 8 months.

Of course that doesn’t stop people from downloading the album weeks before the release and pre-odering the album and still enjoying the remixes (which in turn will no doubt be then be able to be sourced on line without the need to pay) but the thought and the effort is there to retain loyalty and they will sell more albums than if they hadn’t offered this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOHCrW39Zy4

Linkin Park make far more money from touring, (as all the best bands do these days), than they do from music sales which have been declining for decades due to piracy. They are aggressive live performers, never a year goes past without the band touring festivals, arenas, secret gigs sometimes to plug new material, sometimes to help earthquake victims but always to ultimately keep in touch with the fans and feed the desire globally for people to see them and reap the commercial benefits in doing so. Touring Japan just after the earthquake last year when other bands were cancelling gigs saw their popularity rise yet further in a  country where they are already adored.

Not to say that Linkin Park have given up promoting their new album but they are combing live concerts with promotion cleverly to do so. On June 25th, the day before the official US release of “Living Things” their live in concert in Berlin will be shown live in theatres across the US exclusively for one day only. It not only combines tracks from their new album with classic songs but will include special messages from the band to loyalty followers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR0WRLhQARI&feature=player_embedded

In Asia the music industry have virtually given up. There is no itunes (you have to register in the UK/US or Australia), no Spotify and virtually no record shops.  There is a massive passion for music in Asia and it is accessed mostly illegally everywhere from Indonesia (where estimates of 99% of all downloaded music being illegal are probably underestimating it) to tech savvy Singapore.

The only way you can access legal music in here in Asia is through the mobile music download shops like SingTel’s AMPed (http://home.singtel.com/youth/music.asp) and by buying it from abroad or from, ironically in this case, Linkin Park’s official website, as they demonstrate that they haven’t given up in Asia.

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