Rule #1…. Your Fans Come First
Guest Article: Written by Dylan Lloyd
As an independent artist, I don’t believe there to be a more essential component to your success than building your fanbase. I know how “common sense” that comes off sounding…but when you think of the normal way a fan is treated by a major artist…they’re seemingly treated like a statistic.
Since the beginning of modern pop music, “superstars” have seemed always like deities. These “higher than high” beings of music culture have always been viewed as unattainable. But what if you were to strip away the layers of unattainability? What if you were to make yourself more directly available to every single fan? How would that change your credibility as an artist? Would it enhance it? Or would it devalue it? I argue that it would enhance it…astronomically.
Since the music streaming business started booming, physical sales have gone down exponentially at an alarming rate. Even digital downloads are now decreasing as a result of people consuming music for free. Fans feel not as much of a pressing need to buy a physical copy of their favorite artist’s record anymore, if they can just stream it for free; or at the most pay a $10 subscription fee every month for a streaming platform of their choice. So as an indie artist who may not necessarily wield the power of what a major label artist does…how does an indie artist stay relevant in the industry as it is today? I believe there to be a simple answer…you reach out to your fanbase, individually. One by one…reach out to each fan and make them feel like a human being, and not another email address that you spam when your new record drops.
On Friday, February 21, 2014, I invented a Fan outreach campaign called “Fan Love Fridays”. Every single Friday since that date, I have acknowledged a fan individually on all of my social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram). I create a collage of fan pictures, fan comments, and an embedded video of me thanking that particular fan personally. After finishing the collage, I post it everywhere for that fan to see and share. It proved to not only be powerful, but genuine. It immediately doubled my fanbase, and as a result I’ve had 7 consecutive Top 100 records on the iTunes Charts. My 7th was my latest record called “Genesis”, it peaked at #85 back on March 3 of this year.
With the success of my “Fan Love Fridays” came a tour I came up with called the “Fan Love Friday Tour”, which now runs in conjunction with my campaign. Every fan I’ve honored on a Friday, I now travel to see them directly anywhere around the world. I take them out to lunch and take a picture with them, so there’s a lasting memory they can always treasure. And the beautiful thing about this tour is, it’s an ongoing tour that never stops and it’s very flexible to my musical tour schedule and any other music business related matters I have to attend to.
As an independent artist, I felt it was imperative that I come up with a way to acknowledge people who love and support my music everyday. This will sound cliche, but in my particular case it’s so true…without my fans, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
Stay true not only to your music, but your fans. Fans are not dollar signs. Fans are not stats. If you treat them that way, they will feel it and respond accordingly. If you treat them like the human beings that they are, it will resonate loudly. I can’t help but think about if major artists were to reach out to their fans this way…how much it would economically change the landscape of the music industry in a positive way.
The question is…why aren’t more major artists doing this?
Written by Dylan Lloyd