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The Curve will tell you how to use the web to give stuff away from free, to build relationships with your biggest fans and to charge them lots of money for things they value.



How one musician makes a living just by asking.

Musician Nate Maingard hit a milestone today.

Since he announced his Patreon campaign in April 2014, he has received $20,000. Patrons currently give him $1,700 a month. Which is not exactly riches, but compared to the uncertainty that many artists face, it is a great start.

In a blog post today, Nate says, “Since joining Patreon I have written 16 songs, made many youtube music videos, started vlogging (video blogging), played a bunch of intimate house concerts, mentored other indie creatives, become a part of The Lyrical Nomads Collective and have even guest lectured at creative colleges in London and Amsterdam!”

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One surprising reason why you should never tell anyone your porn star name

Do you know your pornstar name?

For as long as the Internet has been a mainstream thing, there have been a steady stream of quizzes or websites that let you identify the name of your porn alter-ego.

The first one I remember is “the name of your first pet” + “your mother’s maiden name”.

I tried it out in my head. It’s pretty good. It made me laugh. I’m not going to share it with you. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

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Book review: The Churchill Factor tells us little about Churchill, but lots about Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has followed in the footsteps of a long line of politicians writing political biographies. Johnson chose Churchill, not because Churchill needs another biography – or even a hagiography – but because Johnson is desperate to cast himself as Churchill’s spiritual heir as he positions himself for Tory party leadership (which, by the vagaries of the British constitution, would also make him Prime Minister.)

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Folio Fans: The anatomy of a unique publisher

This is a guest post by Toby Hartwell, the former Managing Director of The Folio Society. I love his description of the success of The Folio Society.

It may not come as a surprise to those of you who are aware of The Folio Society that this bastion of traditional hard back publishing is also home to some very interesting fans. They are core to the continued survival of Folio and rejoice in the relationship that they have with the publisher. Folio is probably alone as a book publisher in having such a strong direct relationship with its customers at the heart of its business model. Over the years it has engendered the perfect breeding ground for passionate and enthusiastic followers of its brand. For those unfamiliar with The Folio Society, the company has, for the last 67 years been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of some of the world’s greatest books. In a sector where roughly 95% of book sales are at prices below £20, some 95% of Folio books are priced at above £20 and many of them are hefty three figure prices. Arguably, if you look at the publishing sector as a whole all Folio buyers are already book super fans in some way.

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Love your freeloaders, love your fans–my TED talk is live

Last November, I gave a talk at TEDx Brum.

It is the condensed version of what I believe about the future of art and the future of business. I talk about how piracy is not the issue, competition is. How we need to harness the web to give stuff away, but we need to use that stuff to earn the right to talk to people again. That we need to enable superfans, by letting those who love what we do spend lots of money on things they really value.

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Why games are good for you–my Start the Week appearance

I was recently invited back on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week programme to discuss the role of videogames in forming friendships and maintaining relationships.

The context was that the lead guest was Dr Susan Pinker, who has recently released a book called The Village Effect. Dr Pinker argues that we all need to spend time face-to-face to make us live longer, be happier and have fewer illnesses. Although Dr Pinker says that she is not against technology, that is not how her book comes across.

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The (Almost) Perfect Email

This is a guest post from Jessie Scoullar of Wicksteed Works, a direct-to-fan agency, on how to make email campaigns zing.

We’re signed up to a lot of mailing lists. For solo artists, major artists, indie guitar bands, rock bands, dance acts, independent labels, for authors and filmmakers and agencies and marketing consultants.

We’re professionally interested in how people with a message choose to convey it. Whenever we receive a mailer, we can’t help but scrutinise it – does the layout work? Are the buttons “bulletproof“? Has alternate text been used where the email client has images switched off? Is it optimised for mobile? How about the text – is the message clear? Is there too much, or too little information? Clear call-to-action?

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Daniel Ek on the Taylor Swift versus Spotify issue

Daniel Ek posted a strong piece on why he thinks Taylor Swift is picking the wrong target in the battle to ensure that musicians get paid for their work.

Well he would say that, wouldn’t he. He founded Spotify. But the full post is worth reading for anyone trying to understand how Spotify (and indeed any subscription service) fits in the world of the Internet, and of the Curve.

Daniel Ek: $2 billion and counting.