As a mass panic surrounds us, and the boozy-virus takes all the toilet paper in the country, my mind turns to how fast we can get the ball rolling. I feel that it’s finally time to starting buying stock in Charmin and stop relying solely on your friends to get you that record deal.
Now I’m not saying that your friends are useless, or that they’re not necessary for a musician’s vocation. This post is just a little reminder that you being able to get five of your friends to listen to your music is the least amount of effort you can put into expanding your career (I’m sure you don’t need that reminder).
If your friends are your target audience (and no, I’m not sarcastic here), then you’re doing great! But if you’re always worried no one will show up to your next show other than your best mate. Well, let’s brainstorm.
Who comes to out shows?
Please take your time before answering this. I want you to think about what a fan, specifically your fan, looks like. Maybe use someone else as your template?
Go through your social media and find someone who fits the bill (don’t tell them, don’t be a creep, it’s a fine line we walk here). Does this person ever go out to see live music? If not, that’s okay, but then, how do they consume music? How would they listen to your music? Please don’t answer this immediately, give yourself the time to think, because we are going to be basing a lot of how we proceed off of this answer.
We should all be doing this. Radiohead does this, Eric Clapton does this, Carlie Rae Jepsen does this. Everyone does this. Maybe you’ll think, “Dude, Radiohead just makes art.” Yeah, that’s what they want you to think. What they do, naturally or not, appeals to a particular type of person. Not to say there is never any crossover. Now more than ever, we have fans of all types of music. But just because I like H.E.R. doesn’t mean I’ll pay to see her. Although I should, because H.E.R is amazing.
Remember, we’re trying to expand our reach here. I’m sure you, my faithful reader, have already crafted an excellent sound for your set! I have spent a lot of time trying to “sell myself” to people that never come out to music… like, ever. Sure they listen on Spotify, but they’re not going to come out to a Dean Nelson show even if I pay them to be there. If you take one thing away from this exaggerated point, consider this.
- Take note of people that go to concerts, local or otherwise. Pitch your music to them (in a non-invasive way)
- Get involved in the scene. Once you find a friend group, expand! Take note of the people who go out to a lot of the same shows you go to and befriend them.
This brings me to my next point.
Be a fan
This is the quickest way to expand the brand. You have to break out of your friend group/Be active in the community. Talk… like a lot! Talk to everyone, get interested in their lives! If you’re introvert, this is hard! I know its hard. Damn, let’s figure this out together.
For introverts –
Talk over social media
Make it about them
Bring a friend
Leave an idea in the comments! I understand that I’m an extrovert, and it’s easy for me to talk to a new group of people. Social anxiety sucks, and it can be crippling. Let’s not downplay how hard it is to do this! If you have any ideas, leave a comment at the bottom, and I’ll implement it in the text (with credit, of course)!
How do we create a fan?
How did you fall in love with the bands you gush over? Maybe they possessed some traits you wanted? How did you find them? Were they on the TV? Maybe your cool older sibling showed you the artist? I don’t know, but I want you to stop and picture the group/artist.
Take away the money, and what do you see? What makes them – them?
Making a connection – People usually have a strong bond when they see someone perform and feel a personal connection with the artist. Meaning little things like eye contact, simple conversation (post and pre-show) might just be the most important thing we can do to help us gain fans! Yes, it really is that simple. Just remember people’s names, talk with them, and look at them when you perform. I mean, it’s stupid easy.
Eye contact – It makes someone feel like they exist. I mean, it’s basic shit people.
Remember names – I found a good trick is to associate their name with a famous person, or an old friend. When I meet someone named Glenn, I file them away with my childhood friend Glenn Woodard.
Ask questions about them – This is easier than you think. Talk to them about stuff they love. Talk to them about who they love. Talk to them about family members. Once you find a commonality, enjoy the bond you share. Learn to be less opinionated when talking to new people.
I recall reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people,” and all of this stuff is brought up. It’s nothing new. Do whatever you need to do to remember a name. There is nothing sweeter to an ear than hearing its name called.
Put yourself in a good light – We often feel like if we say no, we’re not doing everything we can to progress. But if you’re performing at a place with shitty sound and you’re standing in the middle of the crowd, more in the way than listening to… that’s not going to help you at all. In fact, it can really hurt your… what the word we used before was…? Vocation. Be smart about where and what you perform.
The Social Media Game –
I wrote a post about this a little while ago. For more on just this aspect, check out this link here.
Do you need to post every day? No. And I get that goes against every other blog out there, but this is what makes us, us sweetheart! I mean, are you really hanging on every word that your favorite artist posts? No. You can wait a few days before we post. You need to post often, yes. But constant communication is burning your fanbase out dude. Make them want you. It’s a classic dating technique, and most of us suck at it.
When we do use social media, we need to think of a couple things.
Create meaningful content often – Meaning if you’re not usually creating whatever you’re supposed to be creating (for musicians that would be, music), The best way to stir up some hype is by creating (duh).
Don’t copy and paste – We can all tell when you’ve been spammed. It is a huge turn off. Resist the urge to write novels to someone. Keep it real and keep it simple!
Pitch to the game changers
What is a game-changer? We usually call them influencers. But influencers are generally high up on the chain, and if you can get the ear of one, you’re in luck. Most of us won’t be able to get them. We can find someone who can help us, though. Take a moment and write down three different names of people that usually have a crowd around them.
Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Jim is at every house party
Sam has ten people around her at all times
Lisa is well connected with the blah blah blah community
Make these three people are your life long friends. Be genuine! Sweetly ask them to help you bring people to the show! Don’t incentivize them with money or any deals unless they specifically ask. After some time, get them involved in the band somehow! They get it, it’s people helping people… it’s powerful stuff!
Pitch your music to the music blogs
Step one – Follow the blogs, stay as up to date as you can.
Step two – Be active in their forms! Learn and love the music they post about. Hell, go and meet the bands they’re talking about!
Step three – Give them your music. Don’t be hurt when they don’t take it the first time. Just keep sending it when you feel it appropriate!
It’s as simple as that, and once we have these things in place we can run through the final step.
Finding someone to help fill in the holes of the roles
No one does it completely alone. How do you get these folks that will bat for you? It could just be a parent who believes in you or just wants to help. But we eventually will have to break out and gather more mass as a brand (duh, and the word “brand” is so overused). You will need someone to help with booking (a booking agent), a few people to tap into, and spread the word with social media (street teams), sometimes a manager can help as well. Although most of you are probably already filling one, if not all these roles, it helps take the pressure off a little bit to have some help.
Haha, I should rename this blog, Duh.
This takes TIME! Be patient. The first ten times you try to get people to come to your shows, they won’t come. It’s okay, it’s not because you suck, it happens to everyone. If you’re annoying someone, stop it. The first few times you pitch your music, it will be shot down. It hurts when it happens, it happens to everyone.
Keep honing your craft. Keep being sarcastic about this sickness going around, but be safe you little monsters.
If you have any extra thoughts, comments, concerns, leave them in the comments below! I Love you!