Building a fan base is an important step for any band interested in elevating their recording and performing career. With attention and planning, even a modest following can become a powerful tool to support an artist’s work and expand their popularity.
People are attracted to bands on musical, cultural, social, sensory and spiritual levels. While fitting in to current trends may result in a rush of flavor-of-the-month fans, the artists who pursue and stay true to their own musical vision appear to have a greater chance at creating a broad, dedicated fan base. Rolling Stone contributed Kentucky-based band My Morning Jacket’s broad success to their unique musical vision, noting “The band’s ecstatic, spacey records and improv-heavy live shows are as popular with Bonnaroo hippies as they are with
In the digital age, artists shouldn’t be afraid to give music away in order to reach more people. Andrew Dubber of NewMusicStrategies wrote an article titled “The 20 Things You MUST Know About Music Online” which counsels musicians to “forget product—sell relationship.” In a recent interview, Dubber told HomeTracked: “I recommend (musicians) recognize that their recordings are not the totality of their economic value. Recordings are idealized performances that show musicians in their best light. These are the best promotional tools available...And if records are the way you want to make your money, just think of it this way: it used to be that you would press 1000 copies, give away 200 promos, and hope to sell the other 800. Now you can press 1000 copies, give away a million copies and sell the thousand.”
Once a band has earned a small fan base by playing shows and giving away music, it’s important to retain their interest and encourage networking by keeping them up to date with current songs, concerts and a steady flow of appealing merchandise. The digital age presents a number of ways to accomplish this, with maintaining a web site, posting profiles on social music sites like Echoboost, email, internet radio, podcasts and social video sites. Performing Songwriter suggests networking through cell phones using fan club text messaging services like Broadtexter, which “enables North America-based musicians to create free Mobile Fan Clubs which easily allow them to use regionalized text messaging to stay connected with fans.”
It’s vital for bands to take their relationships with fans as seriously as their music. The acts who consistently provide people with appealing music, quality live performances and a steady stream of positive interaction will build their fan base while increasing their chances of long-term loyalty.