By Mike Masnick of Techdirt.
We've written a few times about the band Uniform Motion out of France, which got some fame last year for being incredibly open about how much money they make from various streaming platforms. Since then we've gotten to know Andy from Uniform Motion and posted a few other stories concerning cool things that he and the band have done. They're really open to doing cool experiments and being really transparent about how well they work. In fact, Andy has pointed out that greater transparency has clearly resulted in a "reason to buy" for many of the band's fans.
Anyway, the band is coming out with a new album -- and they've been releasing streaming versions of songs over the past few days leading up to the official release of the album. As in the past, because the band makes it easy to do so, I suggest you listen to some of the songs from the new album, which they're releasing one by one. You can hear them via the widget below. Feel free to hit play before continuing.
With the new album coming out, the band has been doing a series of interesting things to connect with its fans. First is that it set up its own crowdfunding site. In an age where everyone is using Kickstarter/IndieGoGo/PledgeMusic or other similar platforms, Uniform Motion decided to set up a similar offering, but directly off its own site. They note that the main goal is to be transparent in seeing if they can make back the €4,311 they spent making the album itself. So, that's the "goal" number that they're hoping to raise. The different tiered "offers" aren't anything out of the ordinary: t-shirts, CDs and vinyl, basically -- though the packaging looks fantastic.
Where it gets more interesting, of course, is where they're going beyond what others have done to try to do much more to connect with fans. Last summer, we noted that the band was asking fans to submit sounds, which they promised to work into the album. Not only did the band do exactly that, but it has also created a truly awesome treasure hunt game, in which they've set up a "map" that has all of the songs embedded in the map, along with the various sounds that people submitted. The goal of the treasure hunt is to match the submitted sound with the song that it was in on the map. Here's a screen shot:
Some may argue that this is nothing special or -- worse -- they'll pop up with the overused and silly insult that this is just a "gimmick." But it actually fits so well with the band if you're familiar with their style and aesthetic. As we've discussed multiple times in the past, part of what makes various efforts to "connect with fans" and giving them a "reason to buy" isn't to do what everyone else has done, but to figure out what is special or unique about your art and your connection to fans, and to build on that. And that can be different for everyone. When it comes to Uniform Motion, the band has always had a heavy graphics / animation element to it. After all, one member of the band doesn't play a musical instrument, but rather does live sketches with the music as the band performs. So having this kind of effort just totally fits with the band itself, and highlights again the importance of not copying what others are doing, but figuring out what makes the most sense for your art and your fans.