|David Dallas and fans outside the Rose Tint pop-up store, in Conch. |
Photo: David Dallas' Facebook page
David Dallas has been working the internets for a while now. He and his manager Che have been delving into podcasts, RSS feeds, Facebook and Twitter since 2008. The pay off for Dallas was it got him into America, giving him a presence there when he couldn't afford to be there physically - and led to Dallas getting a US record deal with Duckdown Records. Andrew Dubber wrote about their approach here. It's taken Dallas and his team four years, but he got there. NYC, baby! Home of hiphop.
There seems to be an endless series of New Zeland musicians and bands at present begging for followers on Facebook and Twitter, now that NZ On Air funding requires some evidence of an online fanbase, not just faces at gigs. I've heard some folk being rather scathing of this social media requirement in the Making Tracks funding, but then you look at David Dallas, and he has over 18,000 fans on Facebook. It works.
Dallas recently celebrated the deluxe CD release of his latest album The Rose Tint, with a pop-up store based in Conch Records (from last Wednesday to Saturday). The Rose Tint came out as a free digital download earlier this year, and has hit 50,000 downloads. So, did anyone turn up to buy the CD? Hell yeah.
Dallas was in the store every day, signing CDs, taking photos, selling merch (David Dallas piggy banks anyone?). And they had live instore performances every night. It also pushed the album back up to the top of the hiphop chart on NZ iTunes.
The theory goes like this: if you give away your music and your fans think it is something of value, they will pay for more of your music. Or in Dallas' case, they will pay for music they've already downloaded for free. Cause they think it's good music.
Not everyone got behind the physical relase tho - Dallas posted this to his FB page at the weekend: "Ha, looks like we're on course to crack the top 20 on the NZ charts next week - and that's despite some retailers cockblocking by not gettin it in stores cause we gave the original Rose Tint away for free and they reckon noone cares bout a 'Deluxe'. They're bout to get schooled."
ADDED: The deluxe edition of the album debuted on the NZ album charts at number three.
ADDED: Volume's Duncan Greive says one of the stores that refused to stock the album was The Warehouse.
I went down to check out the last night, with singer Aradhna dropping half a dozen tunes. Damn, she has mean pipes. Her next release is a collaboration with P-Money, heard a few whispers about it and it sounds very cool.
ADDED The Sunday Star Times says that Dallas had 5,000 people come thru in four days.
Here's the New York Times, writing about US three rappers who have released free music to build fanbase. Just like David Dallas. One of these artists just topped the Billboard album chart. Sure, the chart doesn't mean as much as it once did, it terms of sales numbers. Still, its an impressive achievement.