Musicians: The Importance of Building a Fan Base
If a tree falls in a forest and no one sees it fall ... This concept can be applied to a musician without fans. Sure, just as the tree is still a tree, even if no one sees it or hears it fall, a musician is still a musician if he or she has no fans. So, why is it so important to have a fan base? Isn't playing to an audience enough? What is the difference between playing for an audience and playing for fans anyway?
Fans come back a second time, a third time, and so on. Any band can get a first-time gig in a club with an existing clientele and play. But, if they don't give the audience a great show, chances are the band's name will not be remembered by the time the doors hit them on the way out. Putting on a great show means the band must be well rehearsed and on key. But, it is more than that. During the show the band must work to convert the audience into fans. How is this done? The musicians need to perform in a way that connects with their audience. There really is no simple, straightforward formula that works for everyone. It is up to the musicians to find that formula. Good relations between the individual band members are important. If they don't get along, no matter how good they are at playing music, it will show and they will the lack the necessary charisma that will turn their audiences into a fan base.
Fans are the ones that do free marketing. This can be done by word of mouth, or online through places like Myspace. The more fans musicians have posting about their music, the more people will get interested to find out about the music, and this in turn will make the fan base grow and expand.
Fans pass on music. While much criticism exists about downloading music, copying, burning etc., it still works as a viable marketing tool. The point of a musician is to get heard. Even if people of the existing fan base make a copy of an existing cd to pass on to fans, not only do they expand the musicians' fan base, they also make them money in an indirect way. How is this achieved if a fan does not pay for the music? They will pay to go see a show. Most people still like going to concerts, as there is nothing like experiencing the excitement of a live music performance.
Fans Buy Merchandise
Even if they can have the music for free, fans will buy the t-shirt. So, a musician needs to make sure in order to expand his or her fan base (and marketing potential) to have merchandise available.
Not only does having a fan base give marketing and monetary advantages; it gives a musician more status. That is why it is important for musicians to build a fan base.