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It's Coming Home

Our Director of Sales, Rob Sealy says ...  We've all heard the rumour about it coming home and yes this time, more than any other time (sorry), it may be true. 

Football is the worlds most popular game. Wherever you live, all you need is a ball and some space and away you go. The business of football has been less straight forward with clubs being poorly run for decades and regularly going into receivership but things have changed and now the business of football is starting to utilise its opportunities. Can the music business learn from these changes and take control of all its revenue opportunities by using the tools available to them? Even if it means a change in the way things are done. 

It’s estimated that the size of the potential spend within the music industry (depending on who you believe) is somewhere between 5 to 10 times larger than football. Yet, the income from football is somewhere between 5 and 10 times larger than music. There are obvious differences between music fans where you can like many artists across many genres yet, with football fans, the passion is mostly on a exclusive, lifelong basis.

The turning point for football, outside of the explosion of TV rights, was social media. In 2008, Facebook begged Cristiano Ronaldo's management to open an account. They told him he could get as many as 10M followers. Today he has 122M followers, which is 12 times larger than population of his home country, Portugal making him the most followed human being in the world. The powerful affect of him endorsing brands be it T-shirts, aftershave or cars makes it an instant sellout to the manufacturer.  As is the same with music artists across all genres.  

Prior to this, football clubs have been wary to jump on the social media bandwagon but have suddenly started to realise the opportunity of reaching their legions of fans worldwide through these platforms.  

So, let’s imagine your artist has fans in Kuala Lumpur. They listen to the music on their computer and phones, they own a knock off t-shirt and they dream of one day seeing their favourite artist live, even though they have never left the village they live in. Football clubs have started to utilise data to engage these types of displaced fans, selling them customised merchandise and bespoke subscription packages responding to their audience.

But now the football clubs have realised that the big prize is being an "identity company". Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are these. They offer a free service and in return the user shares his or her identity. 

It’s easy to be skeptical about music or football's ability to create an identity business given the "special' nature of both industries and the nifty competition from Facebook and Google.  However, the opportunity is a massive. A fan database should be able to tailor offers to each individual fan. Not only to enhance the experience and match their engagement with the artist but also help external partners bring new revenues to the table. Imagine if you had a database that could give a car manufacturer a list of 30 somethings who earn over £5,000 a month and need a new car. At the moment Facebook won't give you this information, even though they are your fans. Currently this database of your fans is worth billions to them but this should be worth a fortune to you. Think about that for a moment.  

In football the fans would rather give their data to the club they support over a "normal" business because of the intimacy and trust they feel of the relationship. Manchester Utd have more Facebook followers than Nike and McDonald's combined. 

Although there is more competition the same is true of music fans. The trust and devotion shown in music artists by their fans, needs to benefit both parties. A fan database owned by the artist could and should create new revenue opportunities across traditional and new lines and give the fans a bespoke experience that matches their level of engagement. 

If you would like to hear more about how we are helping artists to own, control and benefit from fan data then contact Rob Sealy on 07919 001752

Written by Rob Sealy - Director of Sales