Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fan Building 101:Dummies Guide to Your First 100 Fans

I was asked the age old question people ask in this business of music. How Do I GET RICH? There is no easy answer to that question. There are no tricks and short cuts to making it and if you find them be very leery because your career will end just as dramatically as it started. If you notice, most of the commercially made stars tend to fade after a few years because they missed the most important step in the business; Fan Building. True fans are the reason Atmosphere can tour consistently across the country and overseas without having any radio play at all. When was the last time you seen Lil Flip? The most talented artist around you who spit hot fiya and got 16s that rival any Jay whether its Z, Cole, or Electronica often miss this step. Nice MCs with the rarely seen and mythological "budget" that most DIYs never see, sometimes fall short of this. Its not the size of your email list either; its the effectiveness and efficiency of it.

Lets start at the basics. Your family and friends should be your biggest fans in the beginning. Your homeboys that you play Xbox with, smoke, drink, hoop, play laser tag, bird watch I don’t know what you do, but those are your first consumers. At your family reunion and picnics everyone should know your music. This is the easiest way to start because these people tend to care about you. They are often dismissive at first but if you continuously work and they see that you are serious, most will have a vested interest in your success and the word of mouth begins here. They tell a friend who tells a friend who tells a friend etc. The underline goal is to build a network of BRAND LOYAL fans that are active participants in your career.

Next let us visit the world that is social networking. Now somehow people misunderstood the term "social networking" and it became "hey i don’t know you but I’m going to bother the hell out of telling you to listen to my music without ever making a serious connection to you". This is NOT cool. If you have followers or friends you don’t know, get to know them. Talk to them on a real level before shoving kool aid down their throats. It’s a personal relationship that converts people to fans.

Get out of your house and find a place to perform. Find outlets whether open mics, local showcases, or block parties and get emails. Free is a great tool and a way to grab people immediately. Giving away free music in exchange for email addresses is one of the old tried and true methods in this business. You have to have a way to keep the people updated to build the story. Limit the amount of messages you send. No one wants to open their email and see five messages from you every day. Have a monthly or bi monthly schedule. It is important to keep them updated with the latest important news, but sometimes less is more.

These are not mind blowing tips and are pretty standard for beginners. As you grow so should your marketing plan. If you noticed, I didn’t mention media and press. Some people start immediately which is not wrong, but media tends to like a polished product. After building a small base and getting some stage time you have a better story and gives the media something to talk about. But be strategic in the manner you approach press. This is a copy cat industry so use press and media from similar artist. Contact the people who wrote stories about them and build from there. And lastly ABS(always be selling). Everything needs to be sharp and precise. Stand apart and above.

This article was written by @bignatewill follow him on twitter!

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