Oh my… I simply can’t make it to my other posts that are in the pipeline. Studying my reader this morning, there was a post at hypebot, leading me to a blog on Seattle Weekly written by John Roderick, singer for The Long Winters.
Interestingly, it’s about the artist/fan relationship. Does that ring a bell? Yep, in the comments to my “Ads vs. flattr” posts I mentioned another article coming up on that issue. Now, before I even could post that, here’s that one by John Roderick. Plus, no other than Suzanne Lainson from BrandsPlusMusic (brilliant writer & strategist) commented on the column. And so did I.
Maybe you’d like to first read John Roderick’s article – that’s best to start with. Here’s the part I added:
There are several points to be made. As Suzanne mentions, the career of the musician and closely linked to that, the relationship between the artist and the fan develops. You can’t accuse Amanda Palmer for working with a growing team of people, including management. Still, she is in contact with her fans (online & offline). Though, there might come a time she can’t afford to write her blog herself.
Suzanne is right – you can’t ignore the correlation of success and fan relationship. More success means more fans, more fans means thinning the relationship. So, what to do to maintain the personal aspect between fan and artist?
In times of Social Media, it’s not only an issue in marketing. It’s also about balancing your career (as an independent artist) and the bad conscience you might have for your loyal fans. Though selling your highly valuable time at “Meet & Greets” appears to be an easy way out, it just deepens the gap.
There you are, the artist, most probably disliking those events. Maybe even more than interviews. Regarding bad conscience, there might even be the scent of prostituting yourselves. Then there’s the fans shelling out the money – I remember numbers of up to beyond $ 1,000. For ONE Meet & Greet. And go figure, fans are happy.
Though, there are fans supporting you in another way. They provide constructive criticism during your career instead of worshipping you. Maybe they won’t pay for Meet & Greets, but they are willing to support you in lots of other ways. These are the people to cater as being your Street Team. This is the core of your fanbase. Sure, they might be intersections, but I think you might divide your fanbase into Street Team, paying ones, and the ones who just like your music.
Again, there are interesting points to be learned from artists like Amanda Palmer – some people in her team have been fans. Core fans. Now they are rewarded. Hell, even Prince did that when he recruited people from fansites. Ok, that’s long ago and may I assume he just did it to achieve more control? Whatever.
It’s time to become aware of the fact that bands & artists are more than those 1 to 5 people. From a certain stage on, they are building hubs. And a hub is more than just a network. A network is what it starts with.
The artist, once established (though not necessarily making a living from music) is surrounded by people supporting him and pushing his career. Before there’s even a manager, there’s backup musicians, or a producer, someone texting at Twitter, someone designing the site. Plus, there’s the core fanbase. All of these are building up to the entity called artist. Of course, the musical creativity part still is up to the musician.
Conclusion: While developing your career and building your hub remember to reward them. Sometime later on, it might be money. Before that, it starts with credits, you might help them in their projects, doesn’t matter. That’s nothing too strange for a designer or producer you work with. But remember your core fans, the Street Team, too.