The future shape of the Music Industry: Engaging with your fans

The future shape of the Music Industry: Engaging with your fans

Josh Freese is a genius. OK, I admit, I didn’t know who Josh Freese was before reading about him on Mashable, but he’s a former drummer of Nine Inch Nails and has played on over 250 albums with some of the most prestigious bands and musicians around. Anyway, his new album is called Since 1972 and here’s the pricing structure courtesy of OC Register:


  • Digital download of Since 1972, including 3 videos


  • CD/DVD double-disc set
  • Digital download


  • CD/DVD double-disc set
  • T-shirt
  • “Thank you” phone call from Josh for buying Since 1972. You can tell him what you like about the record that you purchased, or what you thought sucked. Ask whatever you want, like “Is Maynard really THAT weird?” or “Which one of Sting’s mansions has the comfiest beds?” or “Are Devo really suburban robots that monitor reality or just a bunch of dads from Ohio?” or “Why don’t the Vandals play more stuff off the first record?” It’s your 5 minutes to yack it up. Talk about whatever you want.

$250 (limited edition of 25)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • T-shirt
  • Signed drum head and drumsticks
  • Go on a lunch date with Josh to PF Changs or The Cheesecake Factory (whatever you’re into)

$500 (limited edition of 15)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • T-shirt
  • Signed cymbal and sticks
  • Meet Josh in Venice, Calif., and go floating together in a sensory-deprivation tank (to be filmed and posted on YouTube)
  • Dinner at Sizzler (get your $8.99 steak and “all you can eat” shrimp on)

$1,000 (limited edition of 10)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • T-shirt
  • Signed cymbal, drum head and drumsticks
  • Josh washes your car OR does your laundry … or you can wash his car
  • Have dinner with Josh aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif.
  • Get drunk and cut each other’s hair in the parking lot of the Long Beach courthouse (filmed and posted on YouTube, of course)

$2,500 (limited edition of 5)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • Get a private drum lesson with Josh, or for all you non-drummers, have him give you a back and foot massage (couples welcome)
  • Pick any 1 member of the Vandals or Devo (subject to availability) to accompany you and Josh to either the Hollywood Wax Museum or the lunch buffet at the Spearmint Rhino
  • Signed DW snare drum
  • Take 3 items of your choice out of his closet (first come, first serve)
  • Change diapers and make bottles with him for an afternoon (after hitting the strip club)

$5,000 (limited edition of 3)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • T-shirt
  • Josh writes a song about you and makes it available on iTunes
  • Co-direct a video with him for the song about you and throw it up on the YouTubes
  • Josh gives you and a friend a private tour of Disneyland
  • Get drunk together. If you don’t drink, we can go to my dad’s place and hang out under the “Tuba tree”
  • Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam will send you a letter telling you about his favorite song on Since 1972

$10,000 (limited edition of 1)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • T-shirt
  • Signed DW snare drum from A Perfect Circle’s 2003 tour
  • Josh gives you a private drum lesson OR his and hers foot/back massage (couples welcome, discreet parking)
  • Twiggy from Marilyn Manson’s band and Josh take you and a guest to Roscoe’s Chicken ‘n’ Waffles in Long Beach for dinner
  • Josh takes you and a guest to Club 33 (the super-duper exclusive and private restaurant at Disneyland located above Pirates of the Caribbean) and then hit a couple rides afterward (preferably the Tiki Room, the Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror)
  • At the end of the day at Disneyland, drive away in Josh’s Volvo station wagon. It’s all yours … take it. Just drop him off on your way home, though, please.

$20,000 (limited edition of 1)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • T-shirt
  • A signed drum from the 2008 Nine Inch Nails tour
  • Maynard James Keenan, Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo and Josh take you miniature golfing and then drop you off on the side of the freeway (all filmed and posted on YouTube)
  • Josh gives you a tour of Long Beach. See his first apartment, the coffee shop on 2nd Street where his buddy paid Dave Grohl $40 to rip up tile just weeks before joining Nirvana. See the old Vandals rehearsal spot, the liquor store he got busted at using a Fake ID when he was 17 (it was Dave from the Vandals’ old ID). Go check out Snoop Dogg’s high school. For an extra 50 bucks see where Tom and Adrian from No Doubt live. For another $25 he’ll show ya where Eric from NOFX and Brooks from Bad Religion get their hair cut.
  • Spend the night aboard the Queen Mary and take the “Ghosts and Legends” tour. (Separate rooms … no spooning.)
  • Josh writes 2 songs about you and both are made available on iTunes and appear on his next record (you can sing back up on ‘em, clap, play the drums, triangle, whatever)
  • Drum lesson OR foot and back massage (once again … couples welcome and discreet parking available)
  • Pick any 3 items out of Josh’s closet

$75,000 (limited edition of 1)

  • Signed CD/DVD and digital download
  • T-shirt
  • Go on tour with Josh for a few days
  • Have Josh write, record and release a 5-song EP about you and your life story
  • Take home any of his drum sets (only one, but you can choose which one)
  • Take shrooms and cruise Hollywood in Danny from Tool’s Lamborghini OR play quarters and then hop on the Ouija board for a while
  • Josh will join your band for a month … play shows, record, party with groupies, etc.
  • If you don’t have a band he’ll be your personal assistant for a month (4-day work weeks, 10 am to 4 pm)
  • Take a limo down to Tijuana and he’ll show you how it’s done (what that means exactly we can’t legally get into here)
  • If you don’t live in Southern California (but are a U.S. resident) he’ll come to you and be your personal assistant/cabana boy for 2 weeks
  • Take a flying trapeze lesson with Josh and Robin from NIN, go back to Robins place afterwards and his wife will make you raw lasagna

Now, that’s pretty novel, but at the end of the day it is providing real value to the most important people of all, the fans and punters who Josh is producing music for. It’s almost like buying weight loss pills and getting a gym instructor thrown in, it’s not the thing you buy, but the experience and added value that you get with it that will sell the product.

The question is, will other record labels catch on to the fact that merchandising has now become all about experience?

5 thoughts on “The future shape of the Music Industry: Engaging with your fans

  1. I found this article on Mashable. Apparently no one circulating this story knows Freese–or Trent Reznor.

    Trent is the only official member of NIN. The other musicians are guests who appear with Reznor during public performances.

    A better description of Josh Freese would be to mention he was a member of Perfect Circle and has played guest gigs with NIN, etc.

  2. @Elaine: Thanks for clarifying that. To tell you the truth, this marketing approach does fit in line with the innovation that NiN exhibit, which is why I didn’t question what I read in the other articles. Regardless of this musical pedigree, you have to admit, it’s a pretty funky way to provide unique value to your fans.

  3. I think you are right Owen (in that we will see more of this). The theme park industry, while completely different than selling music, has been headed in this direction for a while now. Sea World’s Discovery Cove in Orlando, Florida is extremely popular (maximum of 1000 guests daily, hands-on time with dolphins) for it’s “personal experience”. Disney was planning it’s “Night Kingdom” park like this as well ( Universal Orlando’s upcoming Rip, Ride, Rockit lets you pick your own soundtrack which, but that isn’t really as extensive as the other examples.

    I think we are going to see lots more of this in the the future from all types of product (not just guest drummers who toured with NiN and theme parks)) provided the consumer will want to pay the extra cash.

  4. @Alain Thanks for your comment. I think personalisation is the key to success in today’s climate .. though it keeps amazing me how budget airlines are going the other way and still managing to retain market share. It just feels alien how impersonal and rude they can be and still get away with it, but that’s probably another blog post …

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