When it comes to being an independent artist our definitions of success and what “making it” actually means may vary. Allow me to share with you something called the 1,000 True Fans Theory in hopes that it may encourage you in growing your fan base & seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Leveling The Playing Field
Once upon a time getting a record deal was the only viable means for artists to break through the music industry and earn a decent income. But the arrival of digital audio recording & high-speed internet has undoubtedly leveled the playing field for everyone! Now anyone can setup up a home recording studio and cut their own records and then release them to the world! We have been empowered tremendously and our success relies solely on our work ethic and willingness to learn how to effectively wield the tools that are available to us.
An Old Mindset In A New Era
However, it takes time for people to adopt new ways of doing things. Even though we have the technology available to us to build a legitimate following on the internet some have yet to shift their mindset to the possibilities of today because they’re still thinking with the mindset of the past.
Build Your Platform
Many people still think if they could just get their song played on terrestrial radio or get a music video on a “major” platform such as BET or MTV then they would have finally broken through. I’m not saying these aren’t great goals to accomplish but they’re no longer the only platforms.
Now you have the ability to build your own platform from scratch via the internet and can grow your fan base from all over the world! That’s huge! Just think about this for a moment.
True Fans Theory
If you only had 1,000 true fans that bought everything you came out with from albums, singles, t-shirts, hats, and bracelets. And you came out with $100.00 worth of new product a year then you would make $100,000.00!Even if you only had 500 true fans that’s still $50,000.00! Let’s even go lower, if you only had 300 true fans you could still clear $30,000.00!
I hope that by reading those numbers you realize that obtaining a substantial amount of income through your music is not far fetched! That’s not to say that it’s easy but if you’re willing to work hard on your craft to deliver a quality product and couple that with learning how to use the internet to your advantage then it’s most certainly achievable.
Advice For Your Journey
Here’s some quick advice if you’re seriously considering taking this journey. Define your “why” first! You can’t do this just for the money. If so you are going to most likely get burnt out before you catch traction. You must have a real love for music and equally for people.
It’s going to require you to build meaningful relationships with many people and not shoving your music down their throats like some type of promo robot. This takes a lot of time and hard work to do it right. If you want people to care about what you’re doing you need to care about them first. Address them by their name, take the time to look at what they’ve posted, and show support by commenting.
Be polite, considerate, and make them laugh if possible. All of these are indications that you care about them in a real human way. And only share your music with them when it makes sense. Find out what music they’re into and if you feel like your music is similar to their tastes then let them know about it.
And it’s crucial that once you make connections with people that you stay connected with them. The absolute best way of achieving this is by harnessing the power of building a mailing list with companies such as Aweber. Consider giving them a free download of your song in exchange for them signing up. And send out e-mails anywhere from once a week to once a month. This will allow you to continually build upon your relationship without all the noise and traffic that’s prevalent on social media.
E-Mail Is King
Chances are you already have people who are interested in your music. Why don’t you have them on your mailing list yet? Get into the mode of thinking of your mailing list as your nerve center of everything that you do. It’s your direct way of connecting with your audience. E-mail is king and trumps social media any day of the week! When you post something on social media it’s likely people will miss it but when you send an e-mail to someone they’re notified on their mobile devices and that e-mail sits there until they see it.
Whenever you encounter anyone who is interested in your music, get into the habit of getting their e-mail address. If you’re doing a live performance somewhere take a clipboard with a signup form to collect people’s e-mail addresses. Announce during your performance that if they would like a free download of your song to come give you their e-mail address.
The more people that are on your mailing list the more potential customers you will have and the closer you will be to achieving some of the figures I previously shared. This is only scratching the service and I go much deeper into this on my series called Demystifying Marketing and Promotion For Rappers. But this is the rock-solid foundation to building your own platform and growing a true fan base by building meaningful relationships.
How Did I Do?
I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions, comments or feedback I would love to hear from you so make sure you leave your comments below!