The goal of every artist should be to make the greatest impact they can with their art. How do you make impact? You need fans. Fans are the currency artists live on. Fans allow artists to have leveraging power, measurable success, and monetization. Influence equals money in the music industry.
There are many ways to build a fan base in the digital music industry. Some are easier than others, but the overall sentiment is hard work and time will make the greatest impact.
1. Getting in the right mindset
Artists that want to build a fanbase need to have the right mindset. It’s not as simple as getting people to like you. It won’t work and you’ll leave feeling pretty disappointed. The right mindset is to “find fans.” By this, we mean, find the people that like your music, instead of wasting your time convincing people to like it. This means, going out and learning who your fan base is, what they look like, what their lifestyle looks like, etc… It’s going to take some digging deep and understanding of others. A key trait you should develop is fan empathy.
In the marketing world, theres this term called “critical mass.” Essentially its the number of people needed to make something go viral, or popular: its the tipping point. When you find enough fans, this critical mass can propel your career forward in ways you cannot imagine. Thing of it as progress on an exponential graph. Once you hit critical mass, your progress will grow.
Most of the work in the music world, is simply weathering the storms of the ups and downs of a music career. Having the right mindset can make your mission stand out from the rest.
2. Leverage Social Media
Select a social media, that you are comfortable with, and that most of your fans are on, and get to connecting. Social media is a great tool for leveraging a fanbase. Not only is it free, but you have direct contact with all your “customers.” Lets face it, fans are customers. You need to start thinking more like an business man than a musician.
Post about relevant topics in your industry, genre, and time. Most importantly, be vocal. Your voice as an artist should extend past your music. People want to know what you think about current events. It’s your time to share your opinions. However, be careful, and try not to offend your fanbase or others. Its definitely not the time to be reckless.
3. Understand PR
“Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.” - Disciple Media
You need to be not only aware of what you do, but how your fans perceive you. This is a matter of controlling how to present yourself. Are you the grungy rapper with face tats, or are you going for a more tame approach. you must understand which image you are going for, and create consistency. This means, your posts, wording, visuals and so on must fit your image. That is how you better communicate and control what people “say abut you.” Obviously, caring too much can be it’s own problems.
4. Marketing Strategy
There are various successful campaigns, to market your music in 2020. All in all, it comes down to content marketing. The marketing musicians should implement is content marketing. What is it? It’s marketing based on offering content by building a relationship with the customer. Long story short, content is marketed and distributed to customers for free, and in return the customer gives loyalty, respect and credibility to the brand. This exchange is important because once a customer has loyalty, respect and credibility to your brand, they are more likely to buy according to Hubspot.
I’d almost double down on this point and say one of your best investments as an artist, is to invest in digital marketing of some sort. The gap between your music and your fans is the reach and strategy.
5. Be consistent
What happened to being a man of your word? Having integrity in the music business can take you a very long way. Being consistent, whether its through releases, work, or quality; consistency insures that you stick to your word, goals and vision. That is why this profession is hard, not everyone can be consistent.
Last, don’t quit. It’s very cliche to hear this, but quitting is less about failing, and more about integrity. If you quit, you are quitting on your word and commitments.