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1. The 4 steps to building fandom: investing in fan relationships, focusing on authenticity vs. the algorithm, committing to unscalable interactions, and find new ways to engage your audience.
2. A fanbase is a small network of listeners – usually consider casual fans.
3. Fandom are dedicated supporters who are considered super fans.
4. Cultivating fans and fandom is important to creating sustainability for artist careers.
In today’s newsletter, I want to give you four steps on how you can help your client build a fandom.
For any emerging artist, fans play an important role in their success.
As an artist manager, knowing and understanding how to cultivate your client’s fans is very important in creating sustainability for their artist career.
Working with your client to establish a connection with their audience can ensure they can separate themselves from the noise of social media.
This requires you and your client to work together in creating unique experiences and opportunities for fans.
Building and cultivating fans is a commitment and investment in the future of your client’s career.
Yet and still, there are still artist managers who cannot and do not take building and cultivating their client’s fan base seriously.
Time to change the narrative.
Ask any artist and they will tell you that setting yourself apart in the music industry is no easy feat.
New artists are regularly on the rise and the struggle for attention is definitely real.
Social media provides an artist – your client – with a unique and easy opportunity to build meaningful interactions with their core supporters. Make no mistake: fanbases and fandom are key to changing your client’s career.
A fanbase is a small network of listeners – generally micro-communities – that support an artist in the traditional sense. These are your “casual fans”.
Fandoms are dedicated supporters who cross-interact and engage in creative methods to share and spotlight the artists they love. These are your “super fans”.
Here are 4 steps you and your client need to do in order to build fandom:
1. Invest in building your client’s relationship with their fans
2. Your client must commit to authenticity, not the algorithm
3. Commit to unscalable interactions
4. Find new ways to engage your audience
If you complete these steps, you’ll know exactly when and why you need an artist manager vs. merely going off of what other artists may presume and assume.
Here’s how, step by step:
To create sustained fandom for your client, focus on building a fanbase. This requires you and your client to cultivate fans through direct relationships with their audience and listeners.
Digital streaming curation has created a new type of hit and artist. That’s why investing in building your client’s relationship with their fans starts with simply taking the time to acknowledge and value their listeners.
This “investment” can take various forms. Here are some examples:
1. Experiential events: Pop-up shops around album releases that include exclusive merchandise
2. Exclusive releases: First listens, unreleased music, and special edition releases
3. Fireside chats: Behind-the-music discussions
Any way your client can build connections with their audience is a win in creating fandom. Focus on creating attachment and connection instead of readily monetizing.
This will ensure your client and their fans can continue to deepen their relationship with trust.
Understanding how different kinds of fans show their interest will help you and your client on how to interact with them.
The casual fan is part of your client’s fanbase that will add your client’s song to a playlist. The super fan will be engaged in everything that your client will do.
In my previous newsletter regarding authenticity, I talk about 4 aspects that are critical in building fandom:
1. Avoiding imitation
2. Offer something new
3. Share your backstory
4. Own your narrative
Your client’s commitment to being authentic is based on their focus for creating meaningful music first instead of pleasing the algorithm. Music that resonates with audiences is shared on socials. As a result, it resonates with the algorithm.
Cultivating fans and sustaining fandom is not a “set it and forget it” practice.
In other words, it requires work and most of that work is in unscalable interactions.
In the early days of helping your client cultivate fans into fandom, one-on-one interactions are really important. Most artists miss this as they are attempting to grow their audience numbers.
When your client focuses on adding value to people – their fans – privately, they are more likely to be loyal, share their experiences publicly through their social media, or endorse your client on a reputation platform (i.e. LinkedIn).
This is essential to fandom.
The music industry is focused on pushing content on TikTok.
However, there’s more to the internet than just one app.
And as social media platforms become increasingly saturated, it’s best to go back to basics with building your client’s core community.
Taking your client’s core community to an alternative marketing platform such as WhatsApp, Telegram, or even Twitch can provide rich new ways of communicating. Finding 200 to 500 passionate fans can be the foundation of a long, sustainable career.
Social media may allow for your client to communicate their story, but the real value is interacting with their fans off the platforms as well.
Hope this helps.
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3. Here on my website, I have resources that can help. Check out The Playbook for more information.