How to Build a Fanbase in 2023
Musicians, artists, bands seem to have lost sight of what is actually important due to the convenience of streaming aided by an pandemic that turned the music industry on its head.
The conversation surrounding an artist’s success was always hype, energy and attendance at a live show. Due to streaming and social norms ironically favoring those not frequenting social gatherings & laziness the metric conversation became streaming numbers & social media traffic.
Musicians trying to create a music career were given some incredibly misguided information on how to build a fanbase due to this blip in the world & profound affect on the music industry. The truth is social media & streaming numbers can be bought, sold, gamed & faked, which is hardly new information.
The entire industry is aware of bloated profiles created by various individuals & agencies cornering the deceiving numbers market. An artist is wasting extremely valuable in person networking time if isolated at home hovering over a phone and a computer as well as killing their craft of songwriting.
Social media definitely has its place, but I would argue that its usefulness is connecting to music blogs, venues, promoters, record stores & other music fanatics not locally accessible. Social Media has created such a disruption for up and coming artists because it is hiding what is truly important for an artist.
There is only so much time in a day and most artists put a majority of their free time to social media instead of practicing the art of songwriting & performing. An artist’s number one priority is writing better music in order to stand out. The music will turn heads and speak for itself. The music is the product that creates a potential career.
An artist knows they have something special when you receive that repetitive super genuine reaction to their music every where they perform. The easiest way to gauge your music and skill as a self promoter / marketer is by making open mics a testing ground.
The proof in the pudding is the hustle everywhere you go. If an artist does not want to believe this then enjoy and revel in possibly 100K streams and most likely 1 in attendance at your local dive.
Everywhere I read regarding how to build a fanbase fails to mention performing at open mics . Open mics are completely free and already have the curated audience for you to network so there is no need to sift through people that might be interested in what you have to offer.
Open mics are a great place to create culture around your music Monday through Thursday, get in with venues & people others that may want help an artist succeed. It is also a good place for constructive criticism, free live content & zero stress.
Time and time I again I get asked how to get into certain venues and in with certain clicks. The response is always the same. Did you showcase for the venue or attend events at the venue? Did you start to build relationships with the bartender, security, DJ, promoter, local musicians?
You can answer most of these questions by doing an open mic on a Tuesday night from 8-10 for two hours instead of watching Netflix or creating the perfect social media post. Then after your open mic performance you can review the video footage and possibly post your performance and show how good you are. If the audio came out decent you can post it as a live performance to streaming sites adding to your EPK when you reach out to venues or other bands. Total cost is zero.
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