Should music artists be like the authoritarian Steve Jobs? Is it their responsibility to know what their fans want better than they do? Evan Lowenstein, the successful singer-songwriter and the current CEO of StageIT, certainly seems to think so. In a recent article tantalizingly entitled “The Artist to Fan Relationship: Dating, Love, Texting and Marriage”, Lowenstein argues that “as an artist, it is our responsibility to know what our fans want better than they do.” But, as I found out when I interviewed Lowenstein this week at the excellent SFMusicTech event this week, Lowenstein isn’t quite as dismissive of his fans as he initially appears.
What everyone at SFMusicTech did seem to agree about, however, is the emergence of a new “intimacy economy” in which the artist and audience are wrapped in an increasingly democratic and co-dependant relationship. Grammy award music producer and the former chairman of Virgin Records, Matt Serletic, for example, acknowledged that all the rules of the old economy have changed. While even Jaunique Sealey, who directs much of Lady Gaga’s online marketing effort, acknowledges that this intimacy economy is replacing the more hierarchical industrial model in which artists didn’t need to genuinely communicate with their fans.
This is the second in a series of interviews I recorded at SFMusicTech. The first was with Incubus band members Brandon Boyd and Mike Einziger. Stay tuned for more interviews, including with David Hyman, the founder and CEO of the streaming music service MOG.
We’d like to thank Jeff LaPenna and Zachary Ryan at BAMM.tv for providing the cameras, lighting and production assistance