Uncommon Approach: How do we become Stones Throw? (Pt. 2)
We ended Part 1 with the acknowledgement of the unique merch ideas of Stones Throw. But I also came to the conclusion that many examples of labels “pushing it beyond the sale of MP3s” had developed their bases in a more “tangiable era” of music. So the question is: How do I get Uncommon Records to where Stones Throw is at, basically starting today – even though we’ve been around for a few years. Read all about it in the second part of ‘How Do We Become Stones Throw?’
‘Uncommon Approach’ is a column written by Paul “Nasa” Loverro, owner of independent label Uncommon Records. With this frequent column, he gives readers an all access look at the ups and downs of running an independent Hip Hop label in this day and age. An in-depth column from the perspective of an Indie label owner.
We ended Part 1 with me acknowledging the unique merch ideas of Stones Throw. But I also came to the conclusion that many examples of labels “pushing it beyond the sale of MP3s” had developed their bases in a more “tangiable era” of music. So the question is: How do I get Uncommon Records to where Stones Throw is at, basically starting today – even though we’ve been around for a few years.
I talked about the new “Lower Middle Class” of record labels, and how we have no ties to the more tangiable era of music and no outside funding in today’s digital times. I brought up methods like Kickstarter and how successes were being made there by the likes of MegaRan.
But this question of “How do we become Stones Throw?” goes a lot deeper then when they began, how much money they can spend or the level of quality music that they produce. It goes to their fan base itself. I’m not breaking any barriers by describing their fan base as “rabid”. How can I develop a more “rabid” fan base for Uncommon Records? That’s part of this calculation.
A Vital Question To Ask
In part one I also discussed throwing it out to our followers on Twitter, where a great portion of our current fan base resides. The question “What products would you like to see from us in the future besides music?” was asked. I think regardless of whether you are going to press up any merchandise or not, this is a great question to pose to your listeners. It tells you a lot about the fan base you DO have.
Most of the answers I got were T-shirts (we are going to be launching a sick Zazzle store soon that can handle that), stickers (literally in the mail heading to Uncommon HQ now) and other normal stuff. But I also got answers like beer glasses and bottle openers. I got action figures and vinyl dolls. I got fitted New Era hats. A lot of tie ins with comic books, that sort of stuff.
It taught me about who the people that listen to Uncommon Records are. Mostly beer drinking, comic book reading, music listening folks. Sounds just like me. That’s very empowering and helpful to know. I’ve of course investigated some of these things since. Some of them are just out of reach financially, some of them we may do in the very near future. But at least I know what people generally want and that it makes perfect sense. I may even periodically ask this question in the future just to keep a pulse on it.
The Answer To The Question
Now, how do I take a small base that craves this kind of stuff (along with our music) and grow it without spending money that we don’t have? What I’ve come up with is going to be an incentive based street team promotion. Almost like an “online trade up” kind of thing. I don’t want to reveal too many details until it’s really launched, but basically it will be along the lines of “Do this for us and get this”, then you reach a next level and a next and a next. All along the way getting cooler and more exclusive items. This will take some buy in from our supporters and some well thought out plans by us that people will actually be excited about, but I think it can work.
It’s coming soon and I will start to release details about it at our site, as well as here on The Find Magazine through this “diary”. I think it will be unique and it’s is the best answer that I could come up with to “How Do We Become Stones Throw?” That makes logical sense in 2010.
Read all columns by Paul “Nasa” Loverro HERE