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Everyone Wants to Reach Superfans. It Won’t Be Easy

Labels, streamers and promoters want to get superfans to spend more money, each with a different approach. Which will be more effective?

All this runaway enthusiasm about superfans “goes back to that Goldman Sachs article,” says Mike Biggane, a former UMG executive and founder of Big Effect, which is developing technology designed to help smaller artist teams. This tends to give them a lot of sway in contract negotiations, and as a result, 360 deals — where labels take a share of the money that artists make from touring and merchandise sales, for example — are out of favor with young managers and lawyers, limiting record companies’ ability to cash in on superfans’ passion. Still, despite all the potential obstacles, “We’re seeing a lot of momentum on the institutional music side to figure this out and do it quickly,” Rumburg says, before adding a note of caution: “When so many hopes and dreams get injected into one word or concept, there’s no way it ever lives up to the hype.”

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