Growing and keeping a fan-base in 2016

In a world where anyone can be an artist and have their music heard it can be harder then ever to grow a legion of fans let alone keep them. Clearly the most obvious is to make good music but after that how do you interact with fans in between tours and album releases. We live in a digital age and as an artist you need to embrace that or at least pay someone to. And if it’s not on a digital level then there are also direct to fan ways to make a fan a super fan.

Social media can be your gateway to selling out that next show or moving more t-shirts then a JCPenny. When it comes to social media in 2016 you have to be on top of your game. Utilize every platform that works for your image. Facebook is a big one whether you’re into it or not because everyone has a page. Instagram for all your photo based media. Twitter for anything under 141 characters. And Snapchat for the in between moments. With so many platforms to dive into you need to keep everything straight. But don’t post just to post. Have your content be original, entertaining, and engaging to your audience. Also be interactive, whenever possible. Go that extra distance to retweet or comment a fan. You’d be surprised the longterm fans that will come from taking the 5 seconds to do so.

Have your music aways available. There’s nothing I hate more then waiting in line for someone to take my money in exchange for their product. Spotify, Soundcloud, Youtube, Tidal, Pandora, and iTunes to name a few. Use it all, fans should not have to dig to find your music. You are not Taylor Swift. You are not cool enough to excommunicate all of Spotify’s users from your music.

A digital domain is also very important. A website that you can call a homebase with all things you. Have tour info, social media links, photos, and hugely important; an online store. In an age where your track is only worth 99cents or .00027 cents per play it isn’t enough to keep the lights on. As an artist other then selling tour tickets a merch table can be your biggest source of income. Push the shit out of these physical sales. But be personal with it. Always be at the table after shows selling your own product to sign a hat or to thank a fan for attending. If its an online sale, handwrite a thank you note and send it with the package. It’s these small things that fans will keep coming back for.

Crowd sourcing and email lists are more direct data ways of receiving information. These can be just as useful as social media in connecting with your cohort. Don’t pay for a tour if your super fans can raise 10k through Kickstarter or Pledgemusic. Utilize platforms like these to reach a goal in exchange for some sort of thank you. A mailing list can keep your passive and active listeners connected with a regular email update. Then these statistics can be used when booking tour dates.

As a musical act in the 21st century you need to be out of the box as well as in the loop. A digital presence and direct to fan interaction can help you succeed in our current world of uncertainty. But that makes it so much more enjoyable when you see fans support you an a way you didn’t think possible. Always think of your fans and what will benefit them as much as yourself. If you use these ideas as ground work in your self marketing then you may have a future in music.