Dave Cool

I Loved Your Band, Too Bad I Have No Idea Who You Are

NXNE

I recently attended the NXNE music festival and conference in Toronto. It was my first time at NXNE, but the lessons I took away for bands who were showcasing were the same as at other conferences I’ve attended. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re going to be showcasing at a conference or festival in the future.

I Loved Your Band, Too Bad I Have No Idea Who You Are (and Other Lessons from Music Conferences)

1. Repeat Your Name

People are constantly coming in and out of showcases, so please don’t forget to say your name often. If you only said your name at the very beginning of your set, the people who arrived 3 songs in will have no idea who you are. Don’t be shy about it, and you can even joke about constantly repeating it, just make sure to do it. You can mention your website, your Twitter handle, ask people to like your band on Facebook, and sign-up to your mailing list. These are all great excuses to mention your band name.

I’ve attended so many artist showcases and walked out not knowing who the artist was. People are extremely busy, don’t make it hard for them to find out who you are by having to ask around or search through the conference program, be sure to let them know yourself.

2. Play Only Your Best (Rehearsed) Songs

It might be tempting to play that song you just wrote because it feels fresh and exciting, and you think it’s the best song you’ve ever written. But if you haven’t rehearsed it live, PLEASE don’t play it at your showcase. Play the songs you know best, play older “hits”, but whatever you do, don’t go in there playing a song live for the first time.

An artist friend of mine once played a high-profile showcase at a music conference and decided to play not only one, but several new songs that had never been performed live. Big mistake. Everyone I was with commented that those songs were the weakest part of the set and couldn’t understand why the artist had played them. You have to remember that often the people in attendance are not just having a beer and chatting with their friends. Some people are there to do business, and these are people who can help your career. Don’t take risks like playing songs you’ve never played live before. Only play what you know best and what has been rehearsed many, many times. Maybe try out that new song in the late night jam sessions amongst other musicians and ask for their feedback. But please don’t showcase with it.

3. Play Your Heart Out, No Matter What

Regardless of how many or how few people are at your showcase, play like you’re playing in front of all of the agents, managers and festival directors you were hoping to meet. Because you never know who those few people are, and often times it will surprise you.

At a Folk Alliance conference a few years ago, I went to see a private showcase of one my Montreal artist friends, Allison Lickley. It was in a small hotel room, and there were only a handful of people. I kind of felt bad for Allison initially, but then I realized that one of the people sitting up front was Ken Irwin, co-founder of Rounder Records. Most artists would have killed to have Ken at their showcase, and there he was in a tiny hotel room watching my friend Allison perform with only a few other people in the room. And this kind of thing happens more often than you might think.

So whatever you do, don’t complain about how few people are in attendance, or don’t experiment or jam because “no one is there anyway”. Play your set as tight as you can and blow those few people away, because you never know who they are.

*****

Along the same theme, I recently read a great blog post by Chris “Seth” Jackson called “No One Will Remember Your Band: 10 Ways to Stop Being Forgettable". In it, Chris lists 10 ways that bands can stand out at shows. He touched on a few things that always run through my mind at conference showcases like having a large banner on stage, as well as having your logo on the kick drum, amps, etc., which ties-into letting people know who you are. Highly recommended read: http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/no-one-will-remember-your-band-10-ways-to-stop-being-forgett.html

*****

For more tips on attending music conferences, you can download my eBook “Attending Music Conferences 101”. From pre-conference planning, showcasing & networking, to the post-conference follow-up, it offers a step-by-step look at the music conference experience and how to maximize it from a musician’s point of view.

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/30/2011 | 7 comments
David Dufresne

Zoogler employee meetup this week

Hey Bandzooglers,
just a quick note to mention that the whole Bandzoogle staff has made their way to Montreal, for our annual Bandzoogle employee Powwow.

This is important, since all of us typically work from our home offices, whether in California, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia, Leeds U.K. (and many other exotic locales). This week we actually get to meet face-to-face, share some very nice meals (and probably a few drinks too many) in the nice restaurants of Old Montreal, and sample some great music at the Jazz Fest.

This week will be part work and part play, but the "work" part will help us plan out the next year. And, oh my... this will be a crazy busy year... with the upgrade and transition to the new Bandzoogle platform (finally) launching, and then an onslaught of new features and options that many of you have been asking for. (Brace yourselves, Bandzooglers. We sincerely hope everyone can keep up).

We're also planning out our "Backfed" initiative (which I mentioned a few posts ago...) and, all modesty aside, we believe this will revolutionize the way artists and fans interact... And how artists get paid.

So... since this week we won't be glued to our computers and keyboards like we always are, please expect some unusual delays in support replies, and expect time off on the live support chat... we are a small and dedicated team, and we wouldn't trust anyone else to handle your questions and requests while we hold these meetings. So we'll get back to you as soon we can (but not as quickly as usual.... just for this week, we promise).

Thanks, and keep on zooglin'

David

Posted by David Dufresne on 06/27/2011 | 4 comments
Dave Cool

Fans or Friends? How Social Media is Changing the Artist-Fan Relationship (Part 2)

Nancy Baym

Nancy Baym is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. She is also an online fandom expert, an author, public speaker, and has even been made into a comic strip character. She wears many hats, but is consistently making valuable contributions to the debate over social media and the future of the artist-fan relationship. We had the privilege to speak to Nancy to get her thoughts about the impact social media has had on artists and the way they interact with their fans. This is Part 2 of our interview with Nancy (Read Part 1).

 

Fans or Friends? How Social Media is Changing the Artist-Fan Relationship (Part 2)

4. You recently gave a presentation called “Fans or Friends?” at the International Communication Association, talking about the increasingly interpersonal nature of the relationships between musicians and friends. Should artists in fact view their fans as friends, or is there still room in this hyper-connected environment of social media for a clear boundary between the two?

Fans and friends are not the same thing. Individual fans may become friends (as they always have), but real friendships are mutual – friends choose to be connected to each other, they do things for each other, their relationships are based on equality, they spend time together. It’s not a kind of relationship that scales to a large fan base. Artists can’t be expected to take the kind of interest in each individual fan that the fans take in them. That said, the boundary is often not clear (if it ever was), and each artist has to figure out the boundaries that work for her or him, because it’s not the same for everyone and there’s no right or wrong way to draw those lines. Some people feel fiercely private and want a strong difference between friends and fans, others are totally happy to treat fans as friends and to meet them and see where it goes. Just like some of us are gregarious socializers and love to go out and meet new people and others of us are homebodies who are happy with the small social circles we’ve got.

5. Does social media and constant fan interaction remove any possibility of there still being some mystique, some mystery between the artist and their fans?

This is a challenge, and it’s one that some of the artists I’ve talked to fear. Lloyd Cole told me he’s worried about the internet “destroying the last shards” of his mystique. But I think it can be done. There’s a Norwegian band called Kitchie Kitchie Kimeo, some of whose members come out of some of Norway’s biggest (and now defunct) bands. Their first album is released this June. For the last two years they’ve done a great job of being on Facebook and the web and Vimeo but being very mysterious. They will post information about events and weird little 30 second clips with creepy scenes from old movies and samples of their music as the soundtrack. They share nothing about themselves as individuals and it really works to build a sense of mystery, anticipation and specialness. Now they have an audience primed because of their previous bands, but I think that kind of strategy can work if you can figure out how to get people to pay attention in the first place. There are lots of musicians online who just steer clear of talking about themselves beyond reporting things totally relevant to their music like being in the studio, appearances, or release dates. It can be done, but there are definitely pressures that make it harder than it was in the days when you only had to talk to the press.

6. How has social media changed the way fans can contribute to an artist’s career?

The main way is that fans have new power to serve as publicists by sharing information and embedding and linking to music they love. With sites like Kickstarter, social media can also be used to help drive funding of projects up front. I recently gave $100 to an artist who wanted to rerelease a deluxe edition of one of my favorite albums (“Kontiki” by Cotton Mather). I found out about the project because a Facebook friend posted it to his page and it showed up in my newsfeed. And then there are the more ephemeral ways, like just providing continuous support by sharing their own appreciation and excitement.

7. In the age of so many social media options and free profiles on various sites, do you think it’s still important for an artist to have their own website?

It’s essential to have a site that you own and which only you control. MySpace once took the band Bones’ username and gave it to a TV show of the same name. I know of at least one artist who was never able to get verified on MySpace even though his band sold hundreds of thousands of records on a major label. In an effort to limit fraudulent pages, Facebook recently converted an unknown number of legitimate artists’ pages those musicians had created into “community” pages. It is entirely within the purview of any site you don’t own to cut you off, change the terms, give your username to someone else, or otherwise destroy your presence. They can also go out of business or just out of style. I think it’s important to use social networking sites, but you should always be trying to get your fans’ contact information in a form you can move around at will, and you should always have your own data and presence available at a URL you own. You can’t expect fans to access you only through your own website, you have to go where they are, but having your own website is a dependable anchor in an ever-shifting sea.

Bonus Question:

8. You’ve developed quite an online following of your own, how are you dealing with your audience? Where do you draw the line between the professional and personal when it comes to fan interaction through social media?

Ha! I’m very comfortable fusing the personal and the professional, as anyone who reads my Twitter stream (or has ever taken one of my classes) knows. My challenge – as it is for anyone with a range of interests that attract people - is that some followers are music business/tech people, some are social media people, some are old friends, and many are academics. I’ve never been able to figure out how I could segment myself for the different audiences, but I’ve learned that people I would have pegged as caring about one often turn out to appreciate something else so I’ve quit trying and embraced not drawing false lines. I think most of the people who might call themselves my “fans” are younger academics who know me through my scholarship. In that regard, integrating the personal and professional is meant to demonstrate that you can be a successful woman and still have a family and raise kids and have indulgences and crushes and love pop songs and not just be a one dimensional workaholic. I do limit who I friend on Facebook and I don’t follow most of the people who follow me on Twitter because I actually try to read most of the tweets in my stream. I do read all my @ replies and usually respond to the ones that aren’t spam. There are a lot of sites and services I just don’t use. I’ve made friends through Twitter and I look at most of the people I interact with on there as people with a good shot at becoming friends if we ever meet. But there are still lots of things I’ll never post online. I’m pretty clear on my boundaries.

*****

To get more insights from Nancy Baym, you can visit her blog at www.onlinefandom.com, and you can also find her on Twitter: @nancybaym.

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/16/2011 | 6 comments
Dave Cool

Fans or Friends? How Social Media is Changing the Artist-Fan Relationship (Part 1)

Nancy Baym

Nancy Baym is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. She is also an online fandom expert, an author, public speaker, and has even been made into a comic strip character. She wears many hats, but is consistently making valuable contributions to the debate over social media and the future of the artist-fan relationship. We had the privilege to speak to Nancy to get her thoughts about the impact social media has had on artists and the way they interact with their fans.

 

Fans or Friends? How Social Media is Changing the Artist-Fan Relationship (Part 1)

1. How has social media affected online fandom?

First, it’s important to understand that online fandom has been around since the earliest days of electronically networked communication. It existed well before what we’re now calling “social media” (as though telephones weren’t social!). So there are a lot of answers to this question.

One is that it has made online fandom much more visible and important to content creators and marketers. Online fans used to be obscure pockets of fringe activity with amazing potential. Now that potential is starting to be realized in that fans are gaining more power and influence. The online media that have been developed in the last decade or so also enable fans to create a lot of things like videos, artwork, or game mods they couldn’t make or share anywhere near as easily before. In that sense social media have been great for fan-driven creativity.

On the other hand, before social network sites became so important it was easier for fans to coalesce into groups online – there were specific mailing lists or web boards or newsgroups for discussing bands or other media, and it was easy for those sites to develop in-group identities and norms that made them feel like communities. Those groups still exist, but social network sites have decentralized fandom and none of them is good at managing groups. When is the last time you felt a sense of community through a Facebook fan page you’d liked? Those sites can be useful for information sharing and foster fan-to-artist/artist-to-fan communication, but they’re lousy for fan-to-fan communication. In that sense it’s a step backwards for fandom.

2. What do you think are the main benefits, and on the flip-side, the biggest challenges for artists having direct and instant access to their audience through social media?

There are a lot of benefits. People tend to focus on the marketing potential, and there’s no question that having instant access to the people who like you most can only help sales. Artists can keep audiences up to date on everything that matters and keep them engaged with them even when they’re not making music – a big change from the days when you had to hope they’d still remember you enough to care by the time your next record came out or your next tour came around.

There are also subtle benefits that are priceless, like the steady streams of affirmation musicians receive that remind them that their music touches people and that helps them better understand their life’s work, or the new friendships that arise as their audiences shift from being anonymous numbers to real people who come to matter as individuals. I worry that we lose track of these human rewards in thinking about social media through the lens of commerce.

The challenges are big, though. There’s the immediate challenge of which sites to engage. There’s the fact that which site is in vogue changes pretty quickly, the ways those sites work is constantly being tinkered with by the site designers, and paying attention can seem like a full time job, especially if, like most people, you’re not all that interested in social computing. There’s the time it takes to maintain a presence online, the challenge of what aspects of your selves to present, the question of how much to respond to fans who contact you, the continual requests for more of your attention and time than you may be willing to give. There’s often a sense that you have to be constantly available and continuously thinking up clever things to say, and perhaps that those clever things should be personal which may feel uncomfortable. In many ways these are challenges we all face, but they are enhanced for anyone who’s got an audience based on their work rather than personal connection.

3. Is fan interaction through social media simply part of the job description for today’s artists?

As a social media researcher I think I am supposed to say yes, and many of the younger musicians I’ve interviewed feel that it is. But I don’t think it has to be. I do think that someone has to be maintaining a web presence for artists so that when potential listeners go looking they can find out about them, hear them, get a sense of what they’re about, and buy the music. But we’ve got some examples of people like Sufjan Stevens who seem to do fine without tweeting or using Facebook and there are countless artists who use social media a lot yet still get nowhere. Social media can used to build relationships with fans that will endure and keep them interested over time. They can be an important part of maintaining a career and for some people it can make their career. But you can be totally engaged with people online and it won’t buy you an audience if no one likes your music or if you’re too tied up in chatting with them to make it. You can also be engaged with your audience, but in ways that demonstrate that you’re a jerk or otherwise turn off your fans. I encourage artists to use social media, but they don’t have to use every site and if, for them, social media are uncomfortable or deterrents to creative production, it’s totally okay not to use them. Find a fan or friend you trust who wants to represent you online instead, or have management do it for you.

*****

In Part 2 of our interview with Nancy, we’ll touch on whether there is a clear difference between fans and friends, and how social media has changed the way fans can contribute to an artist’s career.

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/14/2011 | 3 comments
David Dufresne

Ownership, access, enjoyment

Happy Fans(image by Flickr user habeebee)

Apple's iCloud announcement earlier this week is the newest (and definitely biggest) "cloudy" announcement about music.  This follows the launch of new platforms and services by Amazon and Google, along with other platforms that are already available; Pandora, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio, MP3tunes, Spotify, etc... I would add Youtube to that list, the biggest (and free-est) of those platforms..

So basically this means that we are increasingly going to listen to music by streaming it on our devices, rather than by popping a CD in a player, or by clicking a specific file in iTunes or on our iPods.  This is major, because it means that you don't necessarily need to own a song now in order to listen to it whenever and wherever you want. You just need to have access to it, through your favorite provider.

So what does it mean for the artist?

People aren't buying CDs anymore, it's hard enough to convince some of them to buy our digital albums, and now they won't even have to do that.

That's right... with exceptions... but yeah, that's mostly right.

So, what now?

I often say that, in the music economy, there are three main, basic opportunities for monetization: ownership, access and enjoyment.
(I'm over-simplifying. MusicBizGuy has a good list here. But fundamentally, they are all in some way about ownership, access, or enjoyment

Ownership

This the the foundation that our multi-billion music industry of the last 25 years has been built on. Simple; you heard a song on the radio (or MTV or whatever). You liked the song. You wanted to hear it again.  You had to own it for that to happen. Get to the store, take $16.99 out of your pocket and buy the CD (along with 13 other songs you didn't really care for... but that's a whole other story...).  Or, fire up iTunes, click, 99¢, enjoy.

In order to enjoy that music, you had to own it.

Access

Well, now technology has made music tracks easy to store and transport (thousands of tracks in your pocket) and easy to transmit (click "play" on a Youtube video and it plays instantly, like magic, even on a phone. Magic.).  New models are appearing where the music fan will now pay for access, directly, or through viewing ads, in an all-you-can-eat fashion.  Anyone use Pandora already ? Or Netflix for TV and movies ? Well, there you go.  The licensing and tech issues that have prevented music from getting "netflixed" earlier are disappearing fast, and we can expect music streaming to go prime time really soon.

Sadly, we can't expect the monetization of access to be significant for the vast majority of artists.  See this otherwise very pretty chart. Self explanatory.  As an author and/or as a performer, do not expect to ever earn significant revenue from your fans streaming your tracks on their favorite subscription service. Make sure you're registered with SoundExchange and you might see some dollars trickle in once in a while. But nothing to quit the day job, I'm afraid.

Enjoyment

This one is interesting. I believe the smart people in music understand that the future lies into optimizing and finding ways to monetize the enjoyment of music. What do I mean by "enjoyment" ? I'm still working on that, but I generally, it means that you're not just monetizing the music (the content). It means that you are monetizing a context, in which the content is being enjoyed.   The easiest example of that is live music.  A concert is content (the songs that are getting performed), that is getting enjoyed by fans in a specific context (in a venue, with friends and fellow fans, on a specific night, with a drink in hand, etc.). There is scarcity attached to the fact that this context is limited, in time - tonight only! - , in seating capacity, etc., and that perceived scarcity means that some fans that care about the content and its creators will attach value to the context, and be willing to pay to get in.

I'll argue that the same enjoyment effect happens when a fan stops by the merch table, or by your online store, to buy a t-shirt or a poster. There, they are actually buying an artifact, a souvenir and a branded testimonial of the enjoyment they get from your music.

Monetize enjoyment

OK, so, live gigs and merch. I get it. What else ?

That's the question. And the future of the music economy lies in finding lots of good answers to that question.

I think our challenge is to create a series of new and easy monetizable contexts.  This will be the topic of many blog posts to come.

A specific area of interest that we've been studying (Chris and I, with other Zooglers and with many friends and collaborators) is the fan-artist relationship.  It seems to me that in the last few years we have seen a profound change in how fans and artists relate. We'll have an amazing interview up here soon with Nancy Baym, on that exact topic. 

But despite the changes in how fans and artists communicate and engage with each other, when it comes to monetizing that relationship, we are still stuck in the old fan-as-a-consumer paradigm.  "You're my fan? Well, good. Now please buy my music, buy my merch, buy my tickets". The good news here is that the innovation is in place, making that transaction more direct than ever,  creating new packages for different levels of fans, and smart fan-funding pre-sale tools (see Kickstarter, and Pledge Music). The bad news is that by treating fans as consumers, we are limiting the artists' margins, and ignoring a potentially bigger potential.

I think we need to focus more on the fan-as-a-partner, fan-as-a-collaborator, fan-as-a-patronFan-as-a-friend. What does it change, as far as the music business is concerned ?  How am I supposed to monetize a friend ? (first hint: you ask.). 

We have plans to come up with a few tools to enable some of our ideas around this (... stay tuned for Backfed later this year) and we will definitely involve the Bandzoogle community, to test some assumptions, ask for advice and ask for feedback, etc.

But in the meantime, what we hope to demonstrate is that:

Music is more valuable than ever (but music needs contexts, where fans will value the content, and the creators).

This is perhaps the most exciting times, for both musicians and fans. The opportunity is there to define a new deal between the two, and to redefine the rules of our industry.

Artists and fans. That's it.
The rest of us (Bandzoogle included) are enablers, and we are peripheral to the main action. And we should only be compensated as such.

Posted by David Dufresne on 06/10/2011 | 10 comments
Dave Cool

How An Emotional Connection Can Create A Cult-Like Fan Base

State of Indie

This is a guest blog post by Jon Ostrow, the co-founder of MicControl, a music blogging community and social media/ blog consulting firm. In this post Jon goes in-depth on a subject that we’ve touched on here on the Bandzoogle blog before, which is making an emotional connection with your fans. Enjoy!

How An Emotional Connection Can Create A Cult-Like Fan Base

Social media creates the appearance that each of your fans holds the same weight, be it one 'like', one 'follow', or one 'friend'. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Your fans are all different.

The fact is that you will run into a wide range of fans; some of whom are really just friends supporting you (because that's what friends do, dammit!), meanwhile others will be dedicated super fans who actively evangelize your music to others. Of course, most of your fans will fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

However, no matter how small the percentage of your fan base that could be considered super fans, these are your true money makers and thus should be the focal point of a majority of your time and attention.

Super fans are the ones who will not just evangelize your music, but will spend the most money- on downloads, physical albums, tickets and mercy.

So what makes super fans so special?

An emotional connection has been established.

These fans more than just like your music. They have a connection to you, your music, and/ or even the fan base that is so strong that it is a part of them.

The more emotionally connected fans you have, the more money you will make both in the short-term and the long-term. The following are 5 ways that you can use to not only cater to existing super fans, but can actually help you to create MORE emotionally connected fans.

Newsletter

Before the internet, newsletters were used as a way to connect a world-wide community of fans. However, even now with the existence of social networks, newsletters are a personal and direct interaction that can connect not just you to your fans, but your fans to each other.

State of Indie

Two excellent examples of community newsletters are the Grateful Dead's 'Almanac' and Phish's 'Doniac Schvice'. What made these newsletters work so well is that they covered more than the music; they covered the scene as a whole.

The 'Almanac', typically spanning 5 or 6 pages in length, spent much of the first few pages showcasing original (and exclusive!!) artwork, discussing side projects and music as a whole that the community would be interested in, as well as updating the community about the charitable foundations started by band members (more on sharing passions below). The second half would be band news, announcements of upcoming tours or album releases and finally, mail order music/ merch and tickets.


State of Indie

Phish's Doniac Schvice was very similar to the Grateful Dead's Almanac, offering up news and updates of both band and community related events.However the Doniac Schvice had much more direct band involvement, including Mike's Corner and Fish's Forum, two reoccurring and often hysterical op-ed pieces written by bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman. There were also 'Mike Replies' where Mike Gordon would publicly reply to fan letters.

By focusing on the community, the fans who received the newsletter were becoming emotionally connected to the scene; not just the music, but the band members and even the fans. If you were in the community, you were apart of something bigger than yourself and that meant something.

Video Tour Diary

A concert is more than just music. It is an event. An experience.

A well-delivered concert experience is THE best way to connect with your fans on an emotional level. Because of this, video tour diaries are an extremely effective way to increase that emotional connected established through the concert experience, by giving the attendee's a deeper look into the behind the scenes happenings before, during and after the concert. Ultimately this gives attendees the chance to grab on to, and re-live the event any time they want to.

The idea of a video tour diary has become quite popular in the emerging hip-hop world, as many of these upcoming artists give their music away for free through mixtapes and focus on making money from the live show; a business model similar to that made famous by the Grateful Dead and Phish.

These videos not only act as a way to offer additional value to those who attended the event, increasing the emotional connection within, but can function as an emotional marketing tool as well. Giving your fan base the opportunity to take a sneak peek of your recent live shows is a fantastic way to drive further ticket sales...

Always remember that a concert is more than just the music. It is an event. If you can convey that your shows are a must-see experience, then you've already begun to establish an emotional connection with fans before they've even bought the ticket.

Share Passions Outside Of Music

Yes you are a musician, and yes your fans are so because of your music. But there is no reason the connection between you and your fans needs to end with the music. By sharing more of your passions with your fan base, you are creating an opportunity to greatly strengthen the emotional connection you have with fans who are not only passionate about your music, but these outside passions as well. This is how a community of super fans is born.

Farm Aid

This is niche marketing at its finest. Since a niche is a very specific, distinct segment of a market, those who support and act from within are much more likely to be passionate about it than someone who supports a broad topic or market. As a rule of thumb, as a market becomes more niche focused, the support from within becomes more passion based.

A great example of sharing passions outside of music, and leveraging it to strengthen the emotional connection TO the music is Farm Aid. Started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Melloncamp in 1975, this now annual concert was created as a way to spread the awareness of the loss of family farms and to raise funds that help keep farm families on their land.

Over 30 years later, Farm Aid is still taking place every year with Willie Nelson in particular acting as the soundtrack to the movement.

Name Your Fans

This is THE first step to creating a tribe, which is the most ultimate form of emotionally connected fan base you could have. This gives your fans away of identifying themselves as apart of a group, and ultimately this creates insiders and outsiders which helps to strengthen the loyalty of those within.

Again Phish and the Grateful Dead did this, with their 'tribes' being dubbed Phish Heads and Dead Heads respectively. Being a Phish or Dead Head meant something more than just being a casual fan - it meant that you were a respected piece of a larger community and brought along with it a sense of belonging.

Lady Gaga super fans

Today, this has been translated to other genres though still holds the exact same precedence where the fans within the tribe are a welcomed member of a community. Like her or not, Lady Gaga has done an incredible job labeling her fans as her 'Little Monsters'.

Even emerging hip-hop artists are starting to understand the power of naming the fan base, such as CT-based Chris Webby, whose 'Ninjas' (Webby is an avid Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan) have lead to the over 13 Million youtube views. His latest mixtape out June 1st (yes, yesterday) has already garnered over 23,000 downloads in under 24 hours.

By giving fans a name and giving them a sense of belonging, loyalty to the community goes through the roof, leading to stronger long-term sales than you could ever have other wise. The fans within these tribes are the ones who look for every opportunity to buy a new release, ticket or t-shirt, are the first to share a new music video (or tour video above, wink-wink), and are THE best asset you can have as you continue to build upon your fan base.

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/09/2011 | 6 comments
Dave Cool

Free eBook: Developing Music Careers in Uncertain Times

Peter Spellman has released a free e-book for musicians called “Musician 2.0, 3.0, 4.0…Developing Music Careers in Uncertain Times”. Peter is the Director of Career Development at Berklee College of Music in Boston, as well as the Director of Music Business Solutions, and someone who I consider to be one of the great thinkers in the music industry. We even featured one of Peter's blog posts right here on Bandzoogle back in April, called "5 Essentials of Music Career Success", definitely check it out.

Peter’s work has had tremendous impact on me over the years, and really helped shape my philosophies about the music industry. His books “The Self-Promoting Musician” and “INDIE POWER” are must-read classics in my opinion.

“Musician 2.0, 3.0, 4.0” is Peter Spellman at his best, and it is a great introduction to his work if you are not familiar with it already. Peter is a master at asking questions that put things in perspective and help you see the big picture. Where most advice and resources for artists focus on the “outward” career tools (social networking, online tools, promo/publicity, etc.), Peter gets you to pause, take a deep breath, and really focus on the inner-work that most of us forget to do.

As with all of Peter’s books, I found myself underlining and highlighting text on every page (I printed it out, still love to hand-write notes and highlight!). At only 30 pages, it's a quick read, but one that can make a profound impact, so I would highly recommend it. And the best part? It’s FREE: Download Musician 2.0, 3.0, 4.0.  

Posted by Dave Cool on 06/02/2011 | 14 comments