Bare Naked Ladies are my heros!

With the ever present singers – losing important fans, what lesson can you learn, here’s an article from 2007.  Last month, the Bare Naked Ladies (Grammy Winners from 2001 – Multi-platinum sales) were interviewed by CNBC’s Business Nation because they left their label and opted to produce and distribute their own music.

Going against “The Industry” is a current trend but it has actually been around for many years.  It’s a wonder that any band can stay together more than a few years. There is just not enough money to go around.  I remember the group TLC on Vh1’s Behind the Music where they Lisa (Left Eye) Lopes was describing how easy it is to lose money.  Together as a group they had to share $.56 from each album sale.  And that was before all of their expenses got paid.

On a different Behind the Music, the members of New Edition described their feelings when they returned from a summer long 40 city tour to get a check for under $2.00 for all of their work.  They returned to the same projects where they grew up in Boston, Mass. … to hundreds of screaming fans but with out any money.

SO the Record industry has been getting away with robbery for years. That is why I find it ironic that now they are complaining about the free music on the internet.  Chuck D of Public Enemy (yes, this is the group, Flava Flav is the hype man for) described their latest album on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, said that they have a fantastic fan base, and that they are releasing their own music now.  Tavis asked Chuck D what about the music industry and Chuck D said, hey, the recording industry is in trouble – not the music industry.  With all of the tools available, via the internet, the music industry is having some spectacular years.  But the record industry – they are in trouble.

On Business Nation, Edgar Bronfman Jr. the CEO of Warner Music Group, which is home to some of the best-known record labels in the music industry, stated that they are going to have to change the way revenue is collected from their artists.  Currently, most album sales revenue is given to the Record company and the concert sales are given directly to the artist, but now since that is the only way to make money – they believe that they should get a piece of that action too.

I make the statements about the artists to bring it back to Public Enemy and Bare Naked Ladies.  They now make direct sales to their fan base.  They left the Record Industry to have a direct relationship with their fans.  Bare Naked Ladies is filling up stadium after stadium even though they have not had a traditional hit record in almost 5 years.  But they are very connected with their fans, they blog 3 times per week, they sponsored a cruise last year with their most dedicated fans and release albums directly via their website.  The lead singer of Bare Naked Ladies said that instead of getting $3 per album, they are getting almost $8.  What a big difference!  Plus they have control over everything and creative license to do what they want.

Kelly Clarkson would love to be able to say that!  Especially in light of her big public feud with RCA Chairman, Clive Davis.  Reportedly, he did not like the song choices on her album and did not think it would be a hit.  She retorted that he is 75, she is 25…of course they would have differences. But if he did not bless the album, she would not get any promotion assistance and the album could die tomorrow.  She could learn a lesson from Bare Naked Ladies and Public Enemy.  Public Enemy’s latest album has 17 great tracks on it.  What ?  17 tracks?  Never – in the record industry!

The lesson to be learned from this trend in the music industry is to build your own customer base, put a fence around it, use every media available to communicate with your customer base and continue to give the people what they want.  Bare Naked Ladies’ website reminds me of an MDE  influenced website.  It has a form to gather information so that they can re-contact the fans later.  There is information on the next cruise.  Additional pages include bios, blogs, the sale of cover art work and other Bare Naked Ladies signature items, a place where you can request additional items that they are currently not making, information about tour dates, a bulletin board to communication with other Bare Naked Ladies fans, a MySpace page and they even have GOOGLE ADS running – any way to make a buck.  But they are doin’ it!


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