Addison Israelson — Fan Relationship

A little background on this guy:
Addison started his music career in Rochester, MN, which is next to mine growing up (Kasson, MN). He eventually would just call himself a Rochester-Native even though he grew up in Tennessee, and I first got to meet him when we both were asked to join a band in the Spring of 2015 by the same dude (later called the band “The Rares”). He was a great musician — playing guitar and harmonica — but couldn’t sing, like at all. However, as we continued performing, I noticed a lot of the recurring fans were friends, or family, or friends of family of Addison! He also would be the one who would talk the most, if not all the talking, for our shows.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2016 and Addison had to leave the band to go to school in La Crosse, WI. It really felt like the only people left were our super-fans, so The Rares had to do some re-planning for the future. However, a year later I get asked to play drums for a few “little shows.” When I arrived at the little venues, they were often packed, when usually the people are only there for the food and/or coffee. Show after show, he eventually got a solid band together and decided to call it Addison Israelson and the Blue Bridge Band (if you know La Crosse you get the reference), which is a mix of folk/rock/country/blues with a tiny bit of punk elements. In just one year he had a “Minne-Summer Tour” lined up. He had a good friend design a t-shirt for the tour, his bandmate thought of the brilliant idea to sell “Blue Bridge Condoms,” and another bandmate to be temporary band treasurer for the tour.

Notice that the only thing he did was book shows; he had other people do the work he couldn’t do or wasn’t good at. These people weren’t forced to do it; they did it cuz they were very good friends with Addison. Speaking of great friends… FANS! Every show he would try to talk to as many people he could (friends first), but at the shows with little attendance, he would notice the one person listening the entire time and talk with him/her during the breaks or after the performance — giving him/her the time s/he deserves. Talking with people seemed to persuade them to buy some merch — if not that night, they would buy the next time. And after the shows he would talk with the booking agent, bar tender, FOH sound engineer, or whoever and really get to know each other.

Again, at every show he would take time to ask people (or tell them) to “add us on Snapchat! We are [@]BlueBridgeBand . OR add us on Instagram.. We are [@]TheBlueBridgeBand.” That’s pretty much what he would say at every show, but he would also tell them to like him on Facebook as just “Addison Israelson”, and those would be his main ways of promoting his music.

All of those things seem to working, so if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But there are things I think could help him out when it comes to long-term potential, such as an email list. I know it’s not hip (I’m the oldest in the band) but he should understand the resourcefulness of an email-list. Another thing he should think about is keeping track of where the money goes. Sure, things seem to going smoothly but instead of thinking about pouring money into this thing like a hobby, he ought to think of it as a business (because it is!), where you’re looking for that profit. Specifically, he puts money into the band fund (sometimes asking bandmates too) in hopes to make a profit after the show which he’ll split once the money is in hand. Not the best business plan, but let’s move on before I go any deeper…

Moving to his social media:
Addison does the Facebook and his friend Michael (aka “Zernie”) usually does the Instagram and sometime Snapchat. The most often used are Facebook for sharing music, photos, posting future show dates, and talking about how everything went while tagging people. Snapchat is a hot-hit because 90% of the fans are 17–21 years of age… enough said. So Addison will share stories of “come see us a [fill in the blank]” or share a picture of me after about a month of not seeing each other and say “Look who I found!” You know, keeping the fan engagement between the Facebook posts as I see it. More of the fans in that age group check SC more often anyways.

Overall, his fan engagement is commendable, media presence is definitely there, though, could use some work. What he really needs to do is sit down and have a business plan, because the rock n’ roll method can only get you so far until you are easily screwed over like the many of us.

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