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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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  • No charge for listening to the song, but I hear
    it's $25 to use the bathroom.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:58 AM  

  • This is news? 60 people total? Every time we have a new clip done for our movie we have more people gathering to see it at our house.

    When I bring our project to local high schools after school is out, we have about 150 teens show up.

    If 60 people is your goal, I have a plethora of additional methods to exceed your goal easily:

    1. Screen on the side of a building in any downtown area. The first time I did this in 1986 when I started the projector there was 12 people. By the end there was over 500.

    2. Offer a free screening in a public park.

    3. Show it during a break of one of your friend's bands

    Best yall.

    By Blogger GB, at 1:02 AM  

  • Jim - ha!

    GB - thought it was interesting not because of the # of people they are reaching, but because the example focuses on standing out in a world where there's way too much choice. Obviously, filmmakers understand this need to connect with audiences in person, especially at screening events where they're present...or their stars are...or where there's a discussion group afterward. There's lots of innovative stuff you can do on this front.


    By Blogger Scott Kirsner, at 9:59 AM  

  • So, does he perform the song live or does he just play it over his hi-fi stereo? What about bootleggers with hidden cassette decks? ;-)

    By Blogger Unknown, at 12:57 PM  

  • Its a Sufjan Stevens' song so more than likely its free to get in, but you are intimidated by a group of quakers who jump out at you from behind the door in an effort to sell you a bible. After that you are free to leave...or are you?


    By Blogger David Geertz, at 2:15 PM  

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