Panel: "Your Fans Are Your Livelihood"
Participants: Glenn Peoples (Billboard), Ethan Bessey, (manager of Band of Heathens), Mark Montgomery (Claritas Capital), Patrick Faucher (Nimbit), Brian Peterson (Bandbox)

Four experts on direct-to-fan sales and marketing discuss both the larger points (like how it changes the supply chain) and the finer points of using new tools, services and strategies. The panelists each gave the audience a short list of their direct-to-fan tips, which are listed below.

Why You Should Care
Revenue is relatively small now but the experts on the panel expect it to grow tremendously in the coming years. In the last two years, there has been an explosion of bundled products and innovative offerings that made been made possible by direct-to-fan services. The future holds much more innovation in recorded music, merchandise and ticketing as these services and tools become more powerful and prevalent.

The Takeaways
Montgomery’s Tips
The artist's Web site is the hub. Social networks don't care about an artist's fans, they only care about their traffic. Thus, an artist needs to direct traffic to the main Web site to collect email addresses and built a better relationship.

Ethan's Tips
Think like a publicist (allow fans to get to know the artist); once you have a great product and fans, give them something for free; charge what the product is worth; and let fans do your marketing.

Faucher's Tips: Own the fan relationship from top to bottom; artists need to get involved in the business strategy; allow fans to be the main marketing channel; sell direct; offer value through exclusives and premium products; use the best tools and measure what they do; and build the right team.

Peterson's Tips: Offer products that are limited in time and/or quantity; interact with your fans; add more value or discount the product; sell first to your core, active fans. (The tips create an acronym, LIVE, for limited, interaction, value and exclusive.)

Billboard.biz Panel Rating?
Four out of four. The expert panelists offered a wealth of practical knowledge for artists and managers in the audience. But I moderated the panel, so I am clearly biased.