Making the Most Out of SXSW… AUTORESPONDERS ROCK

By Benji Rogers (@BenjiKRogers)

I have been going to SXSW for the last few years now and I am stunned and dismayed by the missed opportunities for artists. These missed opportunities all have a common theme, and ultimately, it’s an incredibly simple thing to solve.

First, if I have hauled myself down to Austin in the first place, then I am either A. a music fan, B. I’m in the music business or C. both!  Not one artist that I saw last year, the year before or the year before that offered me (who fits clearly into the ‘C’ category) any way to do anything about the music that I had just heard them play from the stage.

I’m not talking about giving me a flyer—there are thousands of those that I end up with—but what can I do there and then?

So to be clear here, I’m at your show. I have stayed because I am liking the music and I walk out with nothing. I may not even catch your name, your Twitter handle, your Facebook name, etc. I’m out the door… gone.

The best fix that I have ever seen to this problem was the brain child of Ben Folds, who, while his Pledge campaign was running,  gave his fans a clear and immediate call to action at every show.

  1. Get out your phone
  2. Email IMADAMVP@BENFOLDS.COM

Then he explained that he’d send a song to anyone who emailed him.

We set up an autoresponder that emailed each and every fan back a link to pre-order his album and a link to download his music.

So people were pre-ordering his album there and then, and listening to his new song because it was there waiting for them on their phones.

They could click on his Facebook page and click on his Twitter links. No search!

So please, if I’m at your show—and if I’m there it’s because I really want to be there—before you hand me a flyer that will go into my back pocket, give me a call to action! This will unlock my permission for you to share your music with me. Then I can buy it, share it, tweet about it, Facebook post about it and it’s all in real time.

This has to be more efficient than trying to get me to check out your CD, download card, or flyer, right? Best of all, is that this has little to no cost.

Loving your work and see you at SXSW.

Benj

(Click here to learn more about the marketing genius that is Ben Folds.)

“In the midst of beating up the solo piano for a 2 hour set, Ben asked how many people had smart phones there.  Most of the crowd raised their hands.  Ben then gave out an address: ImaDamVP@benfolds.com.  He told us to send an email to that address and he would send us a free Ben Folds Five brand new song from their upcoming CD.  I did immediately and so did countless others.  This is the new media.  As we sit here in the last days of when executives control what we will watch and listen to, I look forward to when the people who consume the art will decide.  Ben is going to give his song away to his fans for free because he knows we will pay for the album when it is completed.”

[Editor’s Note: If you missed Benji’s last post on the TuneCore Blog, check it out here.]


Benji Rogers founded PledgeMusic, the global direct-to-fan funding platform for musicians to record and tour in 2009. PledgeMusic helps artists to engage with their fans, fund their music, keep their rights and raise money for charity. He doesn’t get out much these days and has grown a beard.