As Barrett Strong sings, “Your love gives me such a thrill, but your love don’t pay my bills. I need money. That’s what I want.” You’re an artist, you love creating works of art to share with your fans, but let’s keep it real, you need money too! Keep reading to see how you can mesh your love of sharing your music with fans and making money.
The Loyal Fan Theory
Ever heard of the loyal fan theory? The premise is that loyal fans are each worth $100 per year. With just 1,000 loyal fans, you could gross $100,000 annually. These are the fans that buy your music the second it drops, are willing to travel hundreds of miles to see you perform, buy merch, and share their love for you all over social media. You want these fans.
Fun fact: Heavy metal music has the most loyal fans, compared to any other genre of music. Take that Beliebers!
Building a Loyal Fan Base
Building a loyal fan base requires time and commitment, teamed with a dash of creativity.
1. Develop strong relationships with people who have been with you from the beginning. Nurturing these relationships are vital because it makes this group of fans invest in you and in your career. You’ll want to show them extra special attention. These are some tried and true methods:
- Create special merch pieces from them
- Keep in contact with them on social media
- Invite them to special events (soundcheck, afterparties)
- Cast them as extras in your music videos & other digital content
2. Create a database of fans. Having a database of emails and/or phone numbers enables you to stay in contact with fans. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to send personal messages. Here are times that a text or email is a smart play:
- Sharing new music – Be sure to include the links to where they can buy/stream
- Tour announcements – You can obtain their locations & shoot a message when you’re heading to their area.
Pro Tip: Be sure not to overload fans with messages, because that will make the messages you send less impactful.
3. Host online contests. Designing online contests is a great way to generate some buzz around your music. “Like & share” on Facebook or “Like & follow” on Instagram contests will get more eyes (and ears) on your music, all while building your social media community. What you choose to give away is all up to you – typically things like merch, meet & greets, work wonders. Again, this is an easy and inexpensive way for you to increase your audience.
4. Make it personal. Fans want to feel a personal connection with their favorite artists. You want to find ways to let your fans into your personal life. Whether you do this through going live on social media, posting pictures of your pets, or sharing behind the scenes stories on a blog/vlog, you need to show fans your personality.
Effects on Your Income
As your loyal fan base continues to grow, you will see the positive effect on your income. As mentioned, loyal fans spend at least $100 a year on their favorite artists. Think about that – $100 is equal to just one concert ticket and a t-shirt.
Moral of the story is keep releasing stellar music, captivate audiences during your live shows, and interact with your social media community, in order to build a sustainable career in music.
We want to hear from you – What creative tactics have you used to build your loyal fan base?