3rd October 2014
by Zack O’Malley Greenburg
For the first time, Forbes is bringing together 1,000+ members of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list with some of the globe’s top leaders and mentors to create partnerships that will change the world over the next 50 years. The Under 30 Summit will take place in Philadelphia from Oct. 19 – 22.
It’s been nearly 20 years since Hanson ruled the charts with the impossibly catchy “MmmBop.” But unbeknownst to many, Hanson has quietly adjusted to the new music world–and seems to have found a blueprint for sustainable success.
Since the beginning of last year, Hanson has played more than 95 shows in over a dozen countries, grossing north of $40,000 per concert, according to touring data provider Pollstar. The band continues to release a new album roughly every three years through its own 3CG Records; the latest, Anthem, landed at No. 22 on the Billboard 200.
“First and foremost, I’m an artist,” says Taylor Hanson. “Songwriting and creating music from the ground up has always led what we do. That’s one of the coolest things that we’ve been able to do over time. Even when we started out, it was truly ours.”
In recent years, though, taking a hands-on approach to managing their career has been a key part of the brothers’ experience–and that’s one of the things Taylor will be discussing on the “Music Goes Moneyball” panel at the upcoming Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia.
The panel, named after my FORBES article of the same title, will also feature Next Big Sound’s Alex White, Spotify’s Sachin Doshi and yours truly as a moderator. It’s set to take place at 12:30pm on Oct 20th on the main floor of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
We’ll be exploring how big data and predictive analytics (the sort championed by Next Big Sound) have changed the music business for artists, entrepreneurs and executives. And few musicians have been keeping a closer eye on this trend than Hanson.
“Data is such a funny thing because it’s only as good as your ability to read it,” he says. “Your business being structured to respond is something that’s really key in this era.”
Though Hanson was among the early adopters of Next Big Sound, Taylor and his brothers have been studying the composition and location of their audience for years thanks to the trove of information offered up by their robust fan club.
By simply using their own database, they can tell where largest clusters of fans are, and plan tours accordingly. Hanson has also been known to poll its fans directly to determine what cities make most sense to play.
Meanwhile, Hanson’s devout following has grown up with the band, and the brothers have expanded their business accordingly. For instance: they launched their own craft beer called–what else–MmmHops. With every bottle purchased, fans receive a free song and automatically make a donation to Hanson’s non-profit, Take The Walk.
“One of the things we’ve tried to do, especially over the past five years, is really embrace the face that we’re not just in the music business,” says Taylor. “We’re in the business of Hanson.”
For more on the business of music, check out my book Michael Jackson, Inc and my Jay Z biography Empire State of Mind. You can follow me on Twitter & Facebook.