HOW TO: Give Fans Control of an Album Release
Say you're a band from Australia and you have a new album coming out. It's done. You've picked a release date, but it's not really set in stone. There's a tour coming up through the US in April and that seemed like the best time to release it. No point in touring unless you can put an album in people's hands.
Here's the catch: you have fans all around the world and it would be unfair to make them wait to hear the music just because it happened to line-up with tour dates that they can't attend.
Freestate found themselves in this situation.
They can't just release the album early. With file-sharing and fans connected globally, the music would spread to the US before they even toured there.
Instead, Freestate gave their Australian and global fans control over the release date. If fans pre-order the $8 deluxe version of the album or higher, they get an immediate download of the first single off the album and another exclusive track.
But here's where it gets interesting. For every 175 pre-orders placed, the group is releasing another track to everyone who has pre-ordered the album up until that point. If enough fans pre-order the album, all of it will be released before the official date. And their fans even get to vote on which songs come out next.
This is a great way to get fans excited and put them in control of the albums fate.
If they really want to hear the album, they'll be championing it to their friends, hoping they'll pre-order too. Whatever it takes to push the dial and get the next song released. Freestate has also tied in some other gems into the promotion.
For $50, fans get special thanks in the album and a 15-minute Q&A on Skype. For $125, they also get a 3-song private concert delivered via Skype.
Over the course of the next four months, Freestate will keep their fans engaged and they'll have something to look forward to. This sound like a win-win to me.