Last week, Insane Clown Posse created a legal defense fund for its Juggalo fanbase, labeled a 'transient gang' by the FBI. This week, ICP is celebrating another top-selling album release.
See the connection?
The glue is a tightly-bonded, outsider fanbase that snubs the mainstream, 'gathers' at chaotic festivals, and buys lots of ICP stuff. And if you hate the Juggalos and the music they enjoy, you're probably helping the cause. Just this week, the group's Mighty Death Pop scored a fourth-place finish on the Billboard 200, the latest in a string of solid-selling releases from a totally independent operation. "Not even the US government can stop the rise of the 'Wicked Clowns,'" the group emailed Digital Music News. "ICP has 24 albums to their credit, over 11 million sold worldwide, and a highly-successful music festival..."
The timing of this release was no accident, and came right on the heels of the 13th-straight Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-In-Rock, IL. That's where members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope formally announced that legal counsel had been retained to combat the FBI's classifications and resulting issues. The counsel and fan outreach is being coordinated through Psychopathic Records, a nerve center of the ICP cult.
This is an intelligent operation, regardless of what the music suggests. Mighty Death Pop comes in three different versions, each one loaded with different extras and collaborations with a variety of artists. That includes Limp Bizkit, Ice Cube, Kreayshawn, Kottonmouth Kings, Twiztid, Color Me Badd, Geto Boys, Scarface, Willie D, Three 6 Mafia, and Swollen Members - a group that includes its fair share of artists well past their prime (but perfect for this sort of showcase). And of course, there's a box set of all three, across both physical and digital formats.
As you'd expect, the ICP machine goes far beyond recordings and shows. The ICP train also involves iPhone, iPad, and Android apps, Violent J's Psychopathic Radio (psychopathicradio.com), and even affiliated stores like Juggalo Gear in Roseville, CA.
But this is less about a band of outsiders and more about a business model that revolves around near-religious followers that almost transcend the group itself. It's a rare and nirvana-like state every artist should strive for: others with highly-profitable, worshipping fanbases past and present include Jimmy Buffett, Amanda Palmer, Phish, and the Grateful Dead of old. These fans will buy everything, they'll go to every show, and they'll make you very, very rich.
Loves it Wednesday, August 22, 2012
"Not even the US government can stop the rise of the 'Wicked Clowns,'" the group emailed Digital Music News. "ICP has 24 albums to their credit, over 11 million sold worldwide, and a highly-successful music festival..."
I highly recommend people watch this documentary on the gathering of the juggalos. Might give you a better look in the nature of rise of these cute, lovable, folk.
lifer Thursday, August 23, 2012
The "cute, lovable folk" pejorative provides a roadmap (pun intended) for micro-niche success. Not only do they not WANT your Approval, they NEED your Disapproval to fuel their marketing.
If there is no one listening then the statement "I don't give a f@#$" is meaningless.
Loves it Thursday, August 23, 2012
Micro Niche Success comes in all shapes, flavors and colors. In this case it reaps it's riches from the doltish and simple.
There will always be room for niche success withing genres that feed the hate, debauchery, or scandal fire.
These guys just do it in a way that to just seems, I dunno.
But then again, it's their legacy.
God bless em.
PT Barnum Wednesday, August 22, 2012
H L Mencken said it best.
"No one in this world, so far as I know-and I have searched the record for years, and employed agents to help me-has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people."
So no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
jw Thursday, August 23, 2012
This may be true to an extent, but this isn't the case with ICP. They're successful for precicely because they aren't underestimating anyone. They're taking folks seriously that no one else will.
It's very easy to look at fans in very condescending terms, & producing your shows or creating merch as a "mining" experience. But ICP is genuinely enthusiastic about everything they do (pro wrestling/comic books/horror flicks/cheap soda/etc), & they do it well & reach their maximum potential audience.
I think this recent Spin album review comes pretty close to nailing it... http://www.spin.com/reviews/insane-clown-posse-the-mighty-death-pop-psychopathic
AnAmusedGeek Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Color me stupid (or just plain square?)....
But I thought ICP/Juggs basically self-destructed like 10 years ago when ICP announced it was all a joke or something ?
Didn't realize they still have such a large fan base ?
MrJokaswild Saturday, August 25, 2012
I wouldn't color you stupid. They never announced that it was a joke, just that they were christian and the hidden messages (reversed vocals and the like) were bible verses or some other religious propaghanda. They tricked a load of people to listen to what amounted to gospel music. Giving the prophets, christ, and god different names (jokers cards) and wraping that around music seeded with violence that was supposed to illustrate the wrath of god, or the wickedness of the people without him. Thier popularity has only grown since then (lots of depressed kids out there, this gives them a place to fit in). I'm not sure if they are mining for the money of the disturbed though. They came from extremly poor backgrounds and seem to genuinely love thier fans.
@whoisypp Thursday, August 23, 2012
Haters gonna hate, but Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope have created the perfect monster
@paulgreenberg Thursday, August 23, 2012
Probably due to Jest's Juggalos video
Brian Thursday, August 23, 2012
So, basically DMN which is a well known music tech blog just suggested to us musicians worldwide that we should set up gangs and sell drugs in order to make money from music.
And the most funny thing is that DMN is supposed to be the most serious of all these kind of blogs.
NEStorNES Thursday, August 23, 2012
Ha! Dumbest comment ever.
The gang stuff is the PREMISE, it's half made-up! It's the fantasyland of 'otherness' that makes this a unified group.
= $$$ !!!
reaaally? Friday, August 24, 2012
You seem to know better than trained and experienced FBI agents.
What do you do for a living?
@forcemm Thursday, August 23, 2012
The more I read about ICP's business practices the more they remind me of the Grateful Dead.