In the age of Direct2Fan, Mogwai’s strategy for engaging fans and retaining ownership of their music rights began early on in their careers. Braithwaite began the session by sharing:
“When we started putting out records, you couldn’t make music if you didn’t create music for the radio. Today, you can get music easier thank a pint of milk. You can pay for it of not.”
Braithwaite has has a long career of managing and running Mogwai’s independent label, Rock Action while championing indie music.
Braithwaite shared to the audience of up and coming artists that he would recommend to make a record as cheaply as possible, keep as much copyright as they can and play as much as possible. “The best way to advertise is to play. Tour until people get sick of you. Its the best chance that you have.”
Social media was raised as another important component of an artist’s engagement strategy. “When we did the live project there were a bunch of different Facebook groups. We sorted out all of the groups and made that the central engagement point. We have a quarter of a million likes on Facebook. These things are useful to help fans see where you are playing and when a new album comes out. The downside is that people don’t go to band’s website anymore.”
Although Braithwaite recognised that Mogwai did not develop specific technologies, he offered that Topspin was a backend system which helps power their D2F engagement. “We sell tickets for concerts via our website through pre-sale. That way they are in our database. It goes back to collecting as much information about the people who are interested in your music. It makes it easier for you to find them and for them to find you.”
He also shared that data collected can help plan tours and find new locations of fan bases. “Say we are going from San Francisco to Seattle, we can use the data to see if there are fans a long the way that might be a good tour stop.”
To close the session he added a few more pieces of advice for new artists. “I think that the fundamentals are that you also need a good booking agent. If there is a good independent label, that might be a great idea too.” And finally (crucially): “I recommend that you hold on to the copyright and license rather than the traditional deal.”
Heather Blanchard is a global communications student at the American University of Paris, who will be covering key sessions at midem this year, for midemblog and her own blog. Be sure to follow her on Twitter too!