Do Musicians Need to Interact with their Fans?

We often talk about the “Hub & Spokes” method to drive traffic to your website using your social media profiles. The root of the “Hub & Spokes” concept is really about interacting with your fans and using all the tools available in a cohesive strategy that will create more awareness about you and your music.

Now, musicians are busy people. Often they play in several projects, or have day jobs, families, or all of the above. So whenever there is talk about social media, newsletters, and marketing in general, it’s understandable that it can seem a little overwhelming. It takes a lot of work just for the artistic side of things, between writing music, rehearsing, playing shows, and all of the logistics that go into those creative endeavors.

But the days of the reclusive rock star hiding backstage, letting record companies and managers do all the promotion and communicating with their fans, is long gone. It’s not enough to write, rehearse, and perform music to develop a sustainable career. Fan interaction has now become part of the job description for today’s musicians.

How We Got Here: Technology

So how did we get here? We’ve seen recording technology reach the point where you can record professionally from the comfort of your own home. You can now take music you recorded at home and easily distribute it to online stores like iTunes and Amazon for a small fee. And the internet, with tools like websites, email, and social media, gives you access to a potential global audience of fans.

The result of these technological advances? A level playing field for all musicians where you can record for cheap, distribute your music for cheap, and reach a potential global audience of fans for practically free. Hooray! Everyone gets a career in music!

Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. The flipside of all of this has been that music fans also now have an unlimited choice of music. They can listen to whatever music they want, whenever they want to. Musicians are now competing for the attention of music fans, who are distracted more than ever by the thousands upon thousands of options available to them at any given moment.

3 Reasons to Interact with Your Fans

So do musicians need to interact with their fans? In a word, yes. But here are 3 reasons why it’s important that you do:

1. Keeps fans aware of you

The biggest reason to interact with your fans is to simply keep them aware of you and your music. As previously mentioned, fans have unlimited choices when it comes to music, so it’s extremely important to keep them aware of your music on a regular basis.

2. Solidifies relationships with fans

More and more, fans want to feel a direct connection to the artists themselves. So interacting with your fans not only keeps them aware of your music, but gives you the opportunity to solidify your relationship with them. Every time a fan makes a comment or asks a question on your blog or through social media, you have the chance to respond and make them feel like they’re an active part of your career. But if you don’t respond, they just might pay more attention to an artist that will.

3. Creates "super fans"

As you solidify your relationship with fans and they start to feel like they’re going on this musical journey with you, some of them will become “super fans”. These are the fans that will buy almost everything you put out; from buttons to t-shirts, to limited edition items. They will also come to all your shows, and probably bring their friends. But most importantly, these are the fans that are going to talk about you and promote you through social media & blogs.

Whereas marketing used to focus on finding ways to communicate the value of your music to potential fans, now the key is getting fans themselves to communicate the value of your music to other people. Here’s why that’s so important:

Nielsen recently conducted a study that found that 54% of people are more likely to make a purchase based off a positive recommendation from a friend.

People are tuning out ads and giving more weight to the recommendations of their friends for what movies to watch, which books to read, and what music to listen to. So if you can get to the point where your fans are actively promoting you to their friends, chances are, your fan base will grow, and with it, the attendance at your live shows as well as your music sales.

And one of the best ways to create this kind of word-of-mouth marketing? Developing a relationship with your fans by interacting with them on a regular basis.

Posted by on Dec 19 2012 9:12 AM
Posted by tunesareme on Dec 19 2012 11:11 AM
No,I think you should treat them with contempt and only be nice to them when they heap praise and adulation on you.:laugh: Just in case anybody is in any doubt,,,,,,,,,,,,,,this is a joke!
Posted by METAFORM on Dec 20 2012 12:21 AM
My fans appreciate the interaction, and I also enjoy it. But at the same time I wonder if all this interaction reduces the mystique of the artist.
vogelJoy - Kid's Music - Children's entertainers in Ontario
I read the title and thought... is this some kind of trick? :)
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Dec 20 2012 6:13 AM
We're dicks to our "fans".. it actually works pretty good as they always show up with more friends. However, if approached one on one on a random encounter I like to be kinda nice, for a minute anyway.:):mad:
Dave Cool
Posted by Dave Cool on Dec 20 2012 4:26 PM
@Metaform: "I wonder if all this interaction reduces the mystique of the artist." That is a valid point, and I wonder the same thing. In the end though, I do think the benefits of interacting with fans outweigh any benefits of trying to be mysterious, which can be next to impossible these days with social media, YouTube, etc. Thanks for reading the post! Cheers, DC
Dave Cool
Posted by Dave Cool on Dec 20 2012 4:26 PM
@Meat Monster: Haha, well, whatever works for you I guess ;-) Thanks for reading the post! Cheers, DC
Kathy Yolanda Rice
Posted by Kathy Yolanda Rice on Dec 20 2012 5:16 PM
I am interacting with my fans much more than I did before social media. Most of the fans who actually purchase my music (CD's) are not plugged in to social media as much as I'd like for them to be. That could be related to the genre (smooth jazz) and the demographics of the fan base. Anyway, I'm looking forward to making new fans thru social media and email blasts, with the intent of converting them into "super fans" who will actually purchase downloads and spread the word about Kathy Yolanda Rice!:)
Posted by MeatMonsterkills on Dec 21 2012 6:24 AM
[quote="metaform"]But at the same time I wonder if all this interaction reduces the mystique of the artist. [/quote] I agree with that big time!.. after all, VIDEO killed the RADIO star... Store? whatever, you get the point.
Bop City Disc and Digital
Posted by Bop City Disc and Digital on Dec 26 2012 2:24 PM
Unfortunately, most of the "fan interaction" is lost in the clutter and detritus of Facebook and Reverbnation,etc. Mailing lists are targets for spammers. Keeping it all straight is tough.
Posted by on Dec 31 2012 10:58 PM
If anyone wants to see fan interaction done right, follow "Kill Paris" on facebook.
sweet paulie t and the florida bluesmasters
Posted by sweet paulie t and the florida bluesmasters on Jan 2 2013 4:45 PM
:sweet paulie t and the fl bluesmasters is now live. come say hi . we now can analyse the traffic to our site. help us get the word out. thanks much
vogelJoy - Kid's Music - Children's entertainers in Ontario
Blogging on Bandzoogle and fan interaction: We're really starting to be able to drive people to our website these days and our blog is getting busy. But people don't comment as much as they do on facebook and it's because the comments section doesn't offer enough for them as guests or commentors. The comments section must let people put their email and their website and the option for their picture and their needs to be a catchy sharing tool for them to click on or the ability for us to add it as a widget / html code from another source. Commenting on the bandzoogle blog is awkward because the guest can't let you know who they are unless they put their whole first and last name down and that is something most visitors don't want to do - they would rather use their nickname or obscure name and link to their site or email. So even for myself I would rather not bother to comment on a blog like my own because of all those things. It just not very welcoming for interaction. One huge drawback is when I do get comments they will never know that I responded to their comment on my blog! That is tragic because we could get some dialogue going for sure and people would love even more to come back to my site. For a solution I have tried using Disqus which works great but it really makes the blog wonky because then there are then 2 places to leave a comment and it gets messy and confusing at the bottom of the post - so I've decided to go against using it not only for that reason but if you do update the blogging abilities on Bandzoogle I wanted to make sure all the comments I do have already are updated in the blogging platform that's already going. Is bringing the blogging platform up to date something you are releasing in the near near near future? Even if the comment section of the blog was taken off so we could add the right widget or code would really help clean things up. I really want my website guests to get the same satisfaction using our site as they would commenting on other blogs using more modern and up to date blogging platforms. We can get 50+ likes on a photo on facebook but people reading our blog would never know we were that cool ;) ...
Musika Ventures
Posted by Musika Ventures on Jun 3 2015 11:42 PM
Great point VogelJoy - I found myself here because I googled Disqus & Bandzoogle. I too find the Blog feature here a bit limiting conversation wise … until it gets updated, I'm thinking of just using a page and installing disqus so I can interact from the blog (Musika Ventures is new, but I also run MERRIN) :)
Posted by Melanie on Jun 4 2015 7:32 AM
Musika Ventures, fair enough! Updating the Blog feature is on the road map this year. Feel free to contact us with any feedback or suggestions about it!
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