Lets face it, you’ve spent months refining your music. The release is only the beginning and you need an audience to release it to, but the question remains. How do you grow a fan base? Here’s a few tips that will get you started on how to grow your fan base in record time.
It’s all too common to spend months working on your EP, carefully crafting every detail of your musical masterpiece. The marketing dilemma is this: When it’s time, you set your release for digital distribution, stoked for the world to hear what you created. A few days after the release; no one knew, or had any clue that you’d made an album.
When artists start their recording projects, “marketing” is often overlooked. Many artists don’t even think past the initial release. As you start working on your release plan, the most important question to ask yourself is “who cares?”
In the traditional marketing world, it’s known as your “target” – your target demographic is the group of people who will value the music you’re releasing. In the music industry, this group is more commonly known as your fan base; they’re the ones who care the most.
Your family and your friends aren’t always a part of your fan base. It’s important not to factor them in too much as you think about your target fan base. When you’re just starting out, absolutely invite friends and family to support you, but don’t stop there. As you begin to meet new people who love your music, the key will be to give them good vibes that actually resonate.
When it comes to your fans, there are two key things to consider: how to get them & how to engage them.
How to get new fans
Start by thinking about how you discover new music and artists… is it online? Is it through friends? What sources do you trust, and where do you go to find new music? Write a list of places you like to discover new artists, then flip it around and consider how people can find you.
No matter what genre describes your sound, there are people who love the type of music you’re creating. Think about where those people hang out. You’re trying to give them music that matches their interests. What blogs or playlists do you think will reach the people that might listen to your music? Is there a Facebook group for the best indie folk metal?
Once you know where your fans hang out online, there are *free* things you can do each day to get in front of them. In marketing, an effort-based approach is called “earned media” & it typically shows up as things like press coverage, or social media posts.
You can also push your music through ads or paid services like hiring PR, advertisement or marketing firms if you have the money for it. Growing your team will split the workload and help you reach more people at an exponentially faster rate.
How to keep your fans
Once you have your audience’s attention, don’t let go. Keep your social media posts and releases active and set a schedule for everything. The easiest way is to schedule posts weekly so that you don’t forget. Possibilities are endless. There’s something advertisers do called a “Competitive Analysis” which looks at what others are doing in a given industry. Draw inspiration from it by doing a quick search of artists you admire, ideally within your genre, you’ll be amazed how much you can learn.
For social media it is helpful to test different types of content to see what works best for you – you can check out your top-performing posts on social platforms through their “Insights” tab. If you see a pattern (maybe people really like video posts), do more of that; ultimately, the best strategy is the one that works best for you. If you have some go-to posts, and if you learn to schedule your posts out in advance, you can test engagement while you’re sleeping… literally.
Keep a email list and try to re-market to your fans as often as possible. Keeping their attention is the most important part. The more loyal the fan base, the more likely they are to share and engage your content. Give your email subscribers more value by giving them special releases, and private videos that only they can access.
Your live show experience is another place for you to test fan engagement. As before, you might look to artists you love for inspiration. If you’ve ever been to a show that moved you, think about what they did and how you might replicate that concept in your own way. The stage, your merch table, your set list & the way you speak to fans are opportunities for you to leave a good impression.
Give your fans a reason to care, deeply. Whether you’re putting yourself out there in a new way, testing out different engagement methods or simply doing some research to learn more about fans in your genre, there are people out there waiting for something to care about… maybe that thing is your music.
Always re-evaluate your strategy and keep trying to find new ways to connect with new fans as well as engage with the ones you have. Making the music is only the first step.
Why 90% of Musicians Outsource Their Mixing and Mastering
I wanted to go into depth with this one because it’s apparent that in today’s industry everyone wants to be a master at everything. I won’t go as far as saying that it isn’t possible, but like a good friend of mine said before, “People overestimate what they can get done in a day, but they underestimate what they can get done in a year.”
It’s so common today that everyone is a, “Singer/Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist, Producer, DJ, Mixing and Mastering Engineer, Record Label Owner, A&R, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Author, Humanitarian, Mother/Father of 3, and leading innovator under 30.”
There’s a small percentage of people where that most certainty applies, but for a lot of people that’s not the case. The rest of us are just trying to make our way through the world just like everybody else. So let me explain:
If I wanted to to have a killer flute or violin solo on my song, the last thing that would come to mind is, “I need to learn to play the flute.” I can play the guitar and I’m a solid keyboard player, but I know the limits to my ability. I’m aware I probably could learn to play the flute, but it would take me a lot of time to be able to play well enough to finish the project. There are a lot of people that understand this simple yet fundamental flaw in humanity that we simply can not know everything.
Master Mind Group
Henry Ford was known to have a row of buttons on his desk that by pushing the right one he can summon someone that had all the knowledge he could need about the business he devoted most of his time to. He called those people his Master Mind Group, and is cited as saying,
“Why should I clutter up my mind with general knowledge for the purpose of being able to answer questions, when I have men around me who can supply any knowledge I require?”
Outsourcing is a major time savor on many projects. Whatever your release schedule is, outsourcing your mixing and mastering will let you work on the release and marketing plan and focus on the important business aspects of the job. Many professional engineers don’t own a recording studio. Why, you ask? Well what good does it do someone to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions on going into business as a recording studio, when they can rent it from someone else that already has it? An engineer can move to any city and go right to work because someone has already done the work on starting up the studio. The engineer will make the studio some money and help keep them in business and the studio will continue to thrive. It’s a win/win. The same is true with with a musician that’s outsourcing their mixing and mastering. It’s more practical to rent someones knowledge and experience for a small fee, than fuss with it for hours, days, or in some cases even years!
Bruce Lee is famous for saying:
“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”
Lets be honest, the most important and valuable assets we have in life is our time and our mind. Every successful person in the world understands the value of time. It’s important to focus your mind on the things that you value most in life.
There’s a huge difference between a musician/singer/producer and an engineer. They are two completely different professions. It’s important to understand that there can be a lot of parallels between them but it’s most certainty not the same. Let me explain.
A real estate agent is not a real estate investor. An agent buys and sells homes for a fee, whereas an investor buys properties to turn a profit. Can they be the same person? Probably, but does an investor want to deal with clients and showings and phone calls? Probably not. Does an agent have tenants living in the houses he/she sells? Sometimes, but they probably aren’t paying him rent.
As a musician, singer, songwriter, or producer is it your job to mix and master your music? Not necessarily. Sometimes you might choose to do so because you have the time to do it. Instead of trying to juggle everyone’s job as your own (especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing), focus on your post release marketing strategy. That’s one of the most ignored parts of the process. Many musicians work on the release and throw it on CD Baby and forget about it. It’s expected that by some supernatural phenomenon the song will get discovered and “blow up”.
All in all, it isn’t a bad thing to work on your own music. Take the time to focus on your craft by working on the practical and important business aspects on how to get your art off the ground by building a Master Mind Group. Have a team of people that will help you on your journey and will make the process easier for you. Always be on the lookout for great talent and be mindful of the people in your circle. Consider adding us to your circle: for a limited time, try our online mixing and mastering service absolutely free. Learn More