It has always been a struggle for bands to get their music heard, but with each generation, it has gotten a little easier. The advent of the cassette tape enabled artists to share their music at a low cost. This was followed by the Compact Disc—which expanded on the capabilities of the cassette—and finally, by the biggest breakthrough of them all, the internet. For the first time, bands could get their music to the masses, no matter which corner of the globe they were on.
But a problem still existed. Now that the playing field was level, how could a band without the backing of a record label or a famous face to exploit get people to pay attention to them? At the end of the day the answer was simple: Content and fan interaction.
Perfectly illustrating this point is Your Favorite Enemies, a Montreal-based band that have taken advantage of all the tools of the digital age. Their Myspace page is a one-stop shop for band-related content, and they produce a weekly web-based show that not only highlights their music, but also their personalities and their fans. They have studio diaries, band member blogs, photos of themselves interacting with their fans and, of course, music videos.
But content alone isn’t enough. What is so unique about Your Favorite Enemies is that they strive to build genuine relationships with their fans. This is actually how I came to find out about this band. When I was recovering from knee surgery over the Christmas holiday, Your Favorite Enemies guitar player Jeff Beaulieu sent me an email via Myspace. But unlike the vast majority of emails I get from bands that simply say, “Hey, why don’t you check out our music?” this was an actual, personal email in which Beaulieu asked how my recovery was going (I had written about my surgery in my personal blog). It was because of this personal touch that I checked out their music, and it was also what led to my becoming a fan.
And that personal touch seems to be working on others as well. Your Favorite Enemies have had more than 1.5 million visitors to their Myspace page, and an amazing 5 million song plays (which is significant, because on average, each visitor listens to three songs). They have also sold more than 30,000 copies of their debut EP, made inroads on Canadian music video television and have even toured the Far East.
It took the music industry decades just to see a slight change in the typical band business model. Given all the changes that have come about recently, it is very likely that another new model will be created in just a fraction of that time.