Surprise! You get a second post tonight. A few minutes worth of kvetching about having no ideas was all it took.
I found this post via Seth Godin’s blog. It’s called “1,000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly and I’m fascinated by what it’s proposing. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: Instead of a writer, musician or artist attempting major-league, stupendous, billion-dollar, super-stardom, he or she should shoot for establishing 1,000 true fans. A true fan is one who will purchase whatever you put out and will pay for all of the special editions. True fans really dig your work and will defend it to the death. Kelly suggests that if 1,000 true fans spend a mere $100 per year on your work, you’d have a gross income of $100,000 – a decent wage by the standards of most people.
The beauty of this plan is that it seems so manageable. Like it’s really possible. Especially in this era of microcelebrity and the business of giving things away for free. It also seems much healthier than our current system of over-rewarding a lucky few celebrities. I like the idea of spreading the wealth around and recognizing that more of us have been endowed with marketable talents than a handful of people who, though certainly talented, also had the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time. The philosophy of 1,000 True Fans tickles the egalitarian in me.
In related news, Slashdot reported that the entire run of the $300 Limited Edition Ultra Deluxe Package of Nine Inch Nails’ new album, Ghosts I-IV, sold out in just over a day. The package was only available to the first 2,500 buyers. If you do the math, Trent Reznor grossed $750,000. And, look, it only took 2,500 fans, a completely manageable figure for a guy like Reznor, who’s been around for a while. Surely you can come up with 1,000 True Fans.