Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cultivate & communicate

By now I’m sure you know what a social network is. I have little doubt that you’re in one, maybe two or even more. What musicians often fail to recognise is that a network can quite easily revolve around them.

When people go online they invariably do so to make contact with others, their ‘friends’. Frequently these ‘friends’ are deemed such because they are work or school colleagues (present and past), or they have similar interests – music is foremost among these interests.

In the present climate artists have to consider and cultivate their public profile, to feed the fanbase. The rewards from this can be limitless. If a fan feels that they have a personal relationship with you, their loyalty is almost guaranteed. A small but dedicated fanbase can keep an act recording and touring for years beyond their time in the limelight. They are the reason why bands like Marillion are still active.

If we accept that a certain section of society knows how to obtain music for free and has few qualms about acquiring their collection in that way, then we probably also feel that these people are beyond education. Not so. Think of it this way, which are you less likely to steal from – a faceless ‘corporation’ or a friend?

I’m not about to tell you that it’s easy, fans can be very demanding. This said is it that difficult to post an online tour diary, exclusive photos (taken by you, on your mobile) or whatever else to your website, your myspace or your twitter?

Feed the fans and they are likely to stay loyal for longer. The future is in these relationships, in the ‘long-tail’ rather than the short-term. Fans are honest, they’ll give you feedback that you won’t get anywhere else and like anyone else, they’ll stick around if they’re getting what they want. Fans always want more, are you ready to give?

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