Your fans are your lifeblood as an artist. They’re the gateway from musical obscurity into nationwide success. And when it comes to fans, there’s no such thing as too many. You want tons. You want thousands. You want millions.
You know it’s doable, but how can you make it happen?
First, let’s get the obvious things out of the way. You’ve written great songs. You have a well-rehearsed and awesome live show that people want to keep coming back to. You have a website and are on all the appropriate social networks (plus you’ve told all your friends and acquaintances to become your fans and tell all their friends). You’ve started a mailing list and you add people to it at every show. You’ve recorded an album that you can sell at gigs and online. And you’re out playing and promoting your music as much as humanly possible. The hustle, the grind, the what have you… You’re out there living the musician life and not letting a minute go past without working on your songs and fan base.
Good start. At this point, you’ve probably got a fan base to start building from, even if it’s a relatively modest size. But here’s where you’re going to have to start getting creative, because now you have the chance to expand your fan base exponentially. Here are a few ideas you might try to accomplish that.
Everyone Has a Success Story
Every successful band has a story. Every famous musician started from few fans and somehow managed to get tons of them. And the vast majority of the time, it wasn’t by accident! Start researching bands you know, bands you love, even bands you hate. Find out how they got where they are. There may be some valuable lessons there. Take, for example, the band I Fight Dragons. They went from obscurity to having thousands of fans and a major label contract within a year or so of forming. One year. They never stopped working, and you shouldn’t either!
Pander to the Masses
This might seem somewhat obvious, but it’s worth mentioning: go after gigs that will expose you to the most people possible. That means finding local music festivals or getting on the bill with other bands that already have big followings. Opening slots are a great way for new acts to get some fan exposure, especially if you’re playing with a band that has a similar style to yours.
Did You Say “Free?”
Fans love free stuff. They love it so much that they try to find ways of getting stuff for free even if it isn’t. So give the people what they want: offer free downloads, T-shirts, stickers, albums, anything. The more stuff people have, the more they’ll listen to and think about your music. The more they do that, the more they tell their friends. Bam, new fans right there… And they’ll keep coming back for more free stuff!
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Commercial
I’ve brought music licensing and placements up many times in this blog. Not only are they a great source of revenue for the working artist, but they can be great exposure in the right circumstances. Sign up for a service like TAXI that gets you in touch with music supervisors. A well-placed song in a movie, show or commercial can instantly earn you thousands of fans.
Take It To The Streets
Street teams are groups of people around the country (or the world) who help you promote your music. They can hand out flyers or CDs, plaster posters promoting your upcoming show in their town, or anything creative you come up with for them to do. Of course, most of them will appreciate something like a free T-shirt for their efforts, but some fans will just like the satisfaction of helping an independent artist!
Take It To The Airwaves
Most radio stations have shows that feature local artists, so if you can’t get in their regular playlist, you’ll probably have a good shot at getting featured in the local slot. With a good reaction there, you can work your way into regular rotation. And don’t forget satellite radio and online stations like Pandora (here’s how to get on Pandora).
Exploit What Makes You Unique
What’s unique about your music’s story? What is different about your songs, about your band history, that makes you stand out in the crowd? If you’ve got a good story to tell, make sure people hear it! Contact local journalists and have them interview you and write an article in the local paper or magazine. Music fans like to learn about cool, different backgrounds artists come from.
People love promoting a charity event. If you find that your shows don’t get the promotion that you’d like, make it benefit a good cause. Turn it into a full-on charity event if you can, and contact local media to cover it. The public latches on to a feel-good story, so find a cause you believe in and give back—while getting more fans for yourself, of course.
Boldly Go Where No Band Has Gone Before
Many artists who get somewhere do it because they’ve come up with a unique idea that no one’s ever done before. Maybe they came up with a really interesting way to promote new music to fans. Maybe they made a really cool music video that went viral. But whatever they did may not work for you, for the simple fact that it’s been done already. Be original, be bold, and go blaze new trails!
The fact is, there’s no one guaranteed way to get fans, but the tips on this page should help you gain many more on your way to 100,000. It won’t be easy, but you knew that already… Right?
With Studio Pros, you can at least be sure you’ll have a professional, radio-ready recording to use as a tool to promote your music. Start a production today!