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AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kinda Bizarre Audience-Building Strategy: Come to My Apartment

Interesting approach to audience-building: requiring fans to make a pilgrimage to experience a given work.

Check out this Wall Street Journal story about the only way you can hear a Sufjan Stevens song called "The Lonely Man of Winter." The rights to the song are owned by Alec Duffy, who won it in a contest. You can't hear it online, and you can't buy it on a CD.

From the story:

    ...Mr. Duffy decided that putting it on the Internet wasn't special enough. He wondered: What if the only way the song could be heard was in person, in intimate gatherings?

    "This is the finest way we felt we could curate this song," Mr. Duffy says. "It brings people together," he adds, rather than "being lost among 14,000 iTunes."

    The experiment lures strangers to Mr. Duffy's living room about once a week, to "recapture an era when to get one's hands on a particular album or song was a real experience," as he says on an invitation posted on the Web site of his theater company.

    Fans come from near and far, taking subways or timing flights to New York City to attend listening sessions. They walk through a corridor strewn with strollers to get to his corner apartment in Brooklyn's Prospect Heights. Since January, when he started the sessions, Mr. Duffy says about 60 people have come to his place to hear the tune, called "The Lonely Man of Winter." He doesn't charge them to hear it.

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