Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Breaking a band’s fans down to €s, £s and $s

A new survey attempts to work out how much a fan of a band is worth

Sigur Ros: you can pay your $10.91 at the door

Fri, Nov 29, 2013, 09:45


Even with followers and fans, it all comes down to money. Every time a social media giant like Facebook or Twitter heads to market to flog their shares, the calculators come out in an effort to establish how much the person using the service is worth to the service.

Of course, the calculations can be flipped to show how much the user is owed too. Without users, free services wouldn’t have any value, which is where that slightly worn and threadbare “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product” saw comes into play. But there’s also a value to be had for the consumer from how they use a free service, something which is often overlooked in the discussions about valuations.

When it comes to bands and fans, though, there’s a much clearer bottom line to the relationship because that fan will go to shows, buy merchandise and occasionally pay for a record. Music marketing service Topspin crunched the data from the 70,000 artists it works with to arrive at figures like a value of $3.78 for a fan who swaps an email address for a track. Naturally, the actual value of that email address varies from act to act. For instance, Topspin reckon that an Arcade Fire fan will buy $6.26 of stuff directly from the band, while Sigur Ros fans are more likely to spend $10.91.

While it’s worth noting that all of this is based on Topspin’s own data, the survey does demonstrate the value of cultivating and maintaining the relationship between band and fan.

The figures may point to a direct cash value for a fan’s email address, but there’s also the cumulative effect of thousands and millions of retweets and likes which help to grow and develop a band’s profile. The old formula of 1,000 true fans certainly has merit, but so too have the sometimes harder-to-quantify actions of the bigger fan mass.