Bas Grasmayer is one of the people you run into online when you get involved in any aspect of online music marketing – and he knows his stuff.

He works for a digital distributor that has a focus on the DIY musician and has just finished his heavyweight thesis for his degree course – The Answer is the Ecosystem: Marketing Music Through Non-Linear Communication

I’ve read a lot of it already, but more importantly, I’ve bookmarked it and will go back to it again and again.

The part that I have focused on so far is the section where Bas talks about creating an ecosystem for your music to live in:

  1. First, a band, group, artist, label, has to differentiate themselves. This means, their music has to be very good, but it also needs an element which defines it and which makes it different from all the other music in the niche or sub-genre.
  2. Second, as an artist or label, you need to give fans a message that spreads. Niels Aalbers mentioned that people love telling stories. With the phenomenon of word of mouse, stories spread faster and more easily than ever. This does not mean that you have to tell stories in your songs, but that you have to be a story, as an artist or a label, be remarkable and be worth mentioning. A good example of this is the immensely popular pop artist Lady Gaga, whose songs are (arguably) about nothing, but the identity of Lady Gaga is a great ‘story’ (one only needs to look at the pictureon this page to understand that).
  3. Third, when this story starts spreading, that’s when you start building your ecosystem. This has to be done with patience according to Niels Aalbers, specifically noting that business models should be kept out of the door for as long as possible.
  4. Fourth, once the ecosystem is in place, one should start listening very closely to this ecosystem to see what it wants. This is a paradigm-shift in marketing communications, because it has traditionally been about finding a consumer for your product, but this is about finding a product (business opportunity) for your consumers

You might think this would be a bit heavy to wade through, but it’s not!

You see Bas, as a  futurist, hasn’t published his thesis in a mass of text, but as a very, very cool HTML5 site. You can skip about and read bits as they take your fancy.

Without wishing to be too rude about Tony Wadsworth’s report Remake, Remodel: The Evolution of the Record Label which is broadly in the same ballpark (OK, I admit its directed to the record industry rather than the DIY fraternity…but they both need to learn the same realities!), Bas’s effort makes Music Tank’s approach look laughable. Their report, which isheavier on supposition rather than data, costs at least £45 (Bas’s is free under Creative Commons) and doesn’t address the core issue of what to do about the changes in the way people consume music in the ay that Bas does.

PLEASE take the time to read and bookmark Bas’s report. Its ace both due to it’s content but also just because of the way he has made it availbale to all.

Here’s the link.