May 21, 2012
Online distributor Believe Digital's Adrien Ohannessian explains why the rock legend is selling his new LP directly to his fans
Photo By Kostia Petit for vente-privee.com
Last week, the rock legend became the latest artist to ditch his traditional label (EMI) and go direct-to-fan to distribute his new venture. The francophile star decided to make a cover versions album as quiet relief from his rowdier touring activity. So songs like Serge Gainsbourg’s “La Javanaise” – which Iggy Pop discusses in the below video – make up the majority of the tracks of this unusual LP, called “Après”.
Fittingly, the two companies behind the release are French too. Online-only distributor Believe Digital - which distributes music worldwide via teams in 5 countries (France, UK, Germany, Italy & the US) – handled sales through iTunes (available here) and then decided to make the physical album available through 16 million-member online auction site Vente-Privée.com, at 7 euros (9 USD) a copy.
As Iggy Pop explained at the project’s press conference, this alternative distribution channel was found after EMI refused to release “Après”. ”They didn’t want it,” he said. They didn’t think they would make any money… What has a record company ever done for me but humiliate and torment and drag me down?” added the ever-provocative rocker.
Believe Digital’s Adrien Ohannessian told midemblog how this innovative venture came about:
midemblog: Why did Believe get involved with this project? Did the lead come from Iggy Pop, from Vente Privée (VP) or from you?
Adrien Ohannessian: We’ve had a good, long relationship with Iggy Pop’s French live producer. Vente Privée wanted to be part of this great project, and they were interested in doing an unconventional musical release. So we thought that they would be the perfect partner. Through that, we organised the set-up and release together, with a common strategy and goal.
> How important is it that such a big artist is going direct-to-fan, without his traditional label?
It simply shows that the market is changing; as are artists’ mentalities. It also shows that the traditional model is no longer adapted to certain kinds of projects. With Vente Privée’s considerable member base and Believe’s network, we can promote market and distribute an album to a very large audience and make it chart. Indeed, “Après” made it to the top three in physical sales and top 11 in digital, on the first week of its release.
> How what does your company’s experience suggest is the best way to grow D2F projects like this?
They grow mainly through strong communication: by creating and maintaining an direct stream of conversation between artists and fans. This notion is at the very heart of Believe’s business positioning, investment and development, notably in terms of marketing tools and spending decisions. Using D2F tactics on major releases remains exceptional; they should still mainly be used on special projects, like “Après.”