Music must be treated like any other business – there is no point in carrying on if you don’t have buyers or customers and rake in the profits. It is often said that the arts is not about profit motives and creativity is all that matters. Nothing can be further from the truth. If this was really the case, master painters wouldn’t have participated in auctions with their paintings or singers wouldn’t have participated in concerts to spread their popularity. So when it comes to the crunch, having a large fan base is crucial for any artiste. But since nothing in life comes easy and for free, any musician worth his or her salt has to make a great effort to build up a fan base of loyal followers.
This is an intricate process and must be planned down to the last detail. How then will you build up a fan base for your music?
- Perform shows day in and out – Being in the limelight is the lifeblood of any musician. Go out there and perform till you drop. It might not be possible always to have large stage shows on a continuous basis. Only top end musicians can afford world tours stretching over months. But what you can definitely do is perform small gigs consistently. However, keep in mind that not all your gigs will be equally effective. Choose the ones that are and scale up the number of times that you perform them. Select places to perform that have audience that matches your style of music. For rock or punk, cafes and bistros near schools and colleges should be perfect, if you are into blues or soul or jazz, fine dining restaurants in front of a dinner crowd will be ideal.
- Marketing is the key – It can be repeated till infinity that music like any other business has to be marketed well if a fan base has to be built up over time. There are two aspects to it. The first is passive marketing largely done through merchandise retailing. It is very effective and people roaming around a market square with your name printed on the front of their T-shirts can work wonders. Have your own store but keep prices low, just enough to break even. A marginal loss will not be bad either, considering the publicity you’ll get. If one fan can bring in another to your music, you’ll soon have a 100% increase.
The other part is online digital marketing of your music. Get a local SEO company to carry out an optimised online digital marketing campaign of your YouTube or other videos over the Internet or on social media platforms. Your objective will be fulfilled if one goes viral over the Internet.
- Leverage other artiste’s audiences – Look for ways and means to leverage other bigger artist’s audiences to your advantage. Perform before they take the stage or be a fill-in artist between shows. If you can catch their attention, you will be increasing your fan base many times over. You can also go for remixes of popular numbers. It is a good way to introduce yourself and your brand of music to a larger audience. Sponsored shows by large corporations is another option. If say Sony or Samsung have you perform at one of their concerts, you are also catching the notice of their invited guests which in most cases can be substantial.
Plan your approach well and you’ll surely not be short of a fan base for your music.