Tag Archive for 'music promotion'

Survival Guide for Engaging Fans and Building a Career in Music [Infographic]

Careers in music are built on fans that are engaged with the music and feel connected to the artist. Fortunately there are dozens of services and tools to help artists. Yet if you’re an artist, where do you start? Do you need more than one service? If so, what’s the right combination for you? How do you make sense of it all?

With artists struggling to figure out what they need to do, we’ve developed a “Survival Guide for Engaging Fans and Building a Career in Music” to put shape around this increasingly confusing landscape. It illustrates the ‘tools-for-musicians’ ecosystem, some (but of course, not all) of the key players, their relationship to the whole, and how mobile plays into all of this.

Here’s how it works:

First, do whatever needs to be done to get discovered. This doesn’t mean getting discovered by millions of people, but rather, a core initial group of fans that you will build on.

Next, engage this core initial group of fans in an interactive and authentic way in order to convert them from casual fans into loyal fans. By doing so, fans will be much more likely to support you financially and spread the word.

Once a deep connection has been made, offer fans many ways to support you financially and make it easy for them to do so. This includes selling music and creative bundles directly from your website, offering unique merch, and giving fans the opportunity to invest in you through one of the many crowdfunding platforms out there, like PledgeMusic. Get creative and don’t assume the only way to get paid is to sell music in iTunes!

Finally, carefully analyze what has worked and what hasn’t, and adjust things accordingly. Then, repeat, repeat, repeat… and don’t forget about mobile!

Get Your Music Heard With Jango Airplay

We often write about the importance of musicians having to engage and involve casual listeners in order to build deep and lasting connections with them, and to convert them to loyal fans.  These connections are what drive sales of the concert tickets, band merchandise and music artists need to pay the rent and put gas in the van.

While just getting your music discovered is no longer enough, it is extremely important that you get as many people to hear your music as possible. Obviously. The more people that hear your music, the more potential fans you have to convert into loyal fans. And while not every person who hears your music will like it (sorry), it’s a numbers game and maximizing exposure is critical in order to succeed.

Enter Jango Airplay. Jango Airplay gives you access to millions of active music fans that listen to their favorite artists on Jango.com, a vibrant social music service that lets fans create and share custom radio stations. Your music is guaranteed to play right alongside the artists that you choose in Jango’s custom radio stations, from Jay Z to Arcade Fire to Bella Fleck. Jango Airplay plays your music to their fans, who are likely to dig it. Based on what we’ve heard from many artists, this is a very cheap and effective way for you to get your music heard!

Jango is offering Evolving Music readers a special deal, where you can set up a Jango Airplay account (if you don’t already have one) and receive 100 guaranteed spins on Jango.com for FREE. Then, you can choose how much more you want to be played (packages start at as little as $10 for 250 plays) and where with basic geo-targeting. You’ll also get detailed actionable reports and data about your new fan base so that you can find out who likes you, where they live, how old they are and what other types of music they like. You got nothing to lose, so give this a try! Click here to get started.

Root Music: BandPages on Facebook

Remember when the tables turned and MySpace went from being the coolest social networking site around to a shady place for scantily-clad teens in questionable photos and, well… musicians? Despite the seizure-inducing animated gifs and glittering madness that came with the pimp-your-profile craze, MySpace somehow still maintained its role as THE place for musicians. Your band maybe had its own website if, you know, it was all fancy and stuff. But your band definitely had a MySpace page!

Then Facebook came along and soothed us with its minimalist design and all its tangible real-world benefits, and rocked our collective worlds. And yet, the musician was always left to fend for him or herself.

Enter Root Music. Musicians now FINALLY have a home on Facebook. This clever little San Francisco-based startup has created a way for musicians to share their stuff right from within Facebook. The BandPage is a tab just like your photos, info, or wall tabs. While they browse your page, fans can listen to your music from the embedded SoundCloud player. Want to place a banner on your page? Easy! Just upload the picture you want to use. No need to create a custom one. Every section of the BandPage is easily editable. Just drop, drag, and customize as you wish.

What you end up with is a sexy place within your Facebook profile, which you already use and people are already looking at, to share all your stuff (info, photos, shows, twitter feed and much much more) with your fans. In the place where they are already hanging out! It’s an elegant solution to an obvious problem, and Root Music has done it with aplomb. Once you setup your Root Music Bandpage on Facebook, be sure to set it as the default landing page so that it’s the first thing fans see!

Build Your Fanbase Through The Niche Music System

As the music industry continues to evolve, artists are presented with more and more great options for marketing and distributing their music online and through mobile devices. This abundance of choice has left many artists, managers and labels confused as to how to navigate these digital waters, and use digital tools together with classic strategies (like playing shows and selling merch) to succeed.  Direct-to-fan campaigns are a big part of the new model, but before you can effectively engage in these strategies, you need to have a core group of fans that you can actually market to. It’s the classic get 1000 true fans and you will succeed concept, and while you don’t need 1000 fans right away, you do need at least a small group of loyal fans before direct-to-fan activities become viable.

Enter the Niche Music System. Created by Hagop Tchaparian, the Niche Music System is a strategy designed to help you succeed in the music business through the leveraging of music niches. The idea is to carve a small, local niche for your music in order build initial traction and then promote and rise up through that niche to grow and widen your reach. The logic behind this is that for every niche, there is already an existing audience that is pre-exposed to the sound of that niche. So while you may need to tweak your sound to fit into a specific niche, the Niche Music System provides you with a much easier way to build an initial following.

Hagop initially created the system to mirror the processes his own band (Symposium) went through to gain attention, build a core following, play for more people and make more money. Subsequently, he helped implement a similar system in his work with English electronic artist Hot Chip (pictured below) to help them build early traction, rise through their niche and ultimately get signed by DFA/EMI.

The Niche Music System has now been turned into a 12 week video/audio/PDF course designed to help you get people to care about your music and come out of obscurity.  For a great intro to the course, you should take the time to check out the video below. While the course is normally $47/month (for three months),  because you are an Evolving Music reader, you can get it for $27/month! To sign up and receive the discount, click here.

FanBridge: Fan List Management

We’ve talked ad nauseum about the importance of interacting with your fans via the many social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, via your very own iPhone app, and also via a newsletter. As you fanbase grows, however, you’ll need a way to manage this process. Enter FanBridge. What FanBridge does “is very, very simple: help musical acts email and text their fans.

FanBridge, which is all about “powering valuable fan relationships,” will help you not only get more fans, but also keep them engaged, and track your analytics so you can see what’s working and what’s getting them excited. After all, that’s what you’re working toward isn’t it — getting (and keeping) your fans excited? Let’s examine their 3 steps: 1) get more fans, 2) excite your fans, and 3) keep your fans engaged.

Get More Fans

Let’s say you’re somewhat organized and established and you already have a list. It’s super easy to add said list to your account. They’ll even do it for you for free if you want. Once you’ve got a list going in FanBridge, then you’re ready to start growing it.

Fans that come to your website/blog/myspace etc. need a place to type in their email address so you can add them to your list. FanBridge will whip up the code you need for these forms which, of course, are totally customizable in look and feel. They even have downloadable signup forms for live shows/events that’ll work without an internet connection.

If you are offering a fan incentive, like a free download with signup, they handle everything. You just upload the incentive. Easy.

Excite Your Fans

FanBridge makes converting browsers into buyers easy with simple tools that take visitors to the point of sale for whatever it is you’re selling (i.e. tickets, merch etc.) Whatever actions your fans take are tracked and converted into data that help you understand which of your campaigns are most effective, who is clicking on what, and what you need to do to reach out to your most active fans.

Another important feature is the tour calendar. Your calendar can be part of your newsletter and is also posted on your fan “action page.” Fans can even set reminders about your shows.

FanBridge understands how valuable your fans’ friends are, and gives your fans the tools they need to share your music with them. Viral marketing tools like contests, prizes, “share this” links, etc. are automatically integrated into the system. Remember, the easier it is for your fans to share your music with others, the more likely they are to do it!

Keep Fans Engaged

Artist-fan interaction has become the norm. Finally. It takes a LOT of work to stay on top of all the various ways you are interacting with your fans, though, and you can’t afford to waste your valuable time toggling between twitter clients, facebook pages, and everything else. FanBridge solves this problem by allowing you to communicate with fans across many networks all from a single location.

Email newsletters (which are super important) are a breeze to send out, because FanBridge handles all the backend stuff for you. You simply need to come up with the irresistible content that goes in them.

Another brilliant feature is their mobile text messaging platform. Imagine sending last minute text messages to your fans to remind them about your upcoming show or sending updates from backstage! You can schedule them to send later, too, so you don’t have to worry about doing it live all the time.

This service is priced insanely low for all the cool stuff you get. Seriously. Really cheap.

In case you’re still not convinced you need FanBridge, they’ve come up with 5 simple reasons why you need them: 1) you get superior client service from real, live people, 2) their only priority is making your fan list more valuable, 3) they automate the fan-getting process so it’s working for you 24/7, 4) they do all the analysis so you don’t have to, and 5) you can communicate with all your fans in one place.

Be sure to check out these handy FanBridge resources too:

Tips on Sending Effective Fan Newsletters

3 Fan List Basics for Musicians

How Do I Get More Emails at Live Shows/Events?