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SOUND CHECK- THE SUPER FAN TAKEOVER!

admin : June 1, 2015 9:47 pm : blog
I recently received a bunch of tour promo flyers (about 8 of them) from one of the artists we represent who is getting ready to go on an independent artist promotional tour this summer to promote his new single. This is the same person who told me 6 months ago that he has a job and would never be able to get that much time off from work. Being focused and extremely driven this is a significant attempt for him to finally reach & build his own fanbase. I was impressed with his efforts in recognition of the sacrifices that I knew he would have to make in order to make this happen. Deep down in the recesses of his mind he knew and I knew- This is EXACTLY what he should be doing…..but Why?

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In today’s new music landscape with the most fickle and unpredictable fans ever, touring to reach & build a true fanbase for independent artists has become as essential as oxygen is to breathing for human beings. But Wait! You mean to tell me that new artists need to build a “REAL FANBASE“? What happened to just getting all your friends and followers on social media- FB, TWITTER, & IG to like the music & follow me? uhhhh……ok let me reword this a little bit…..How about what’s needed to gain a ‘BUYING FANBASE” that consists of real people, not the type that only admire your music from afar and pretend to be fans and supporters but the ones that will actually BUY your music or merch, tickets to shows, help promote your events etc. etc. The music business isn’t AT&T and there are no friends & family plans when it comes to having a real fanbase. I’m talking about the people you don’t already know, that live in other towns, states, regions, and even countries. I’m talking about real people and real music fans with debit/credit cards ready to pull them out and make a purchase of something that supports you.

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These people do exist! they are OUT THERE…..SOMEWHERE…..in fanbase cyberspace and they’re ready and willing to become a loyal fan of yours. That’s if you come to them and find them. You have to go out and find them. Once you do, you have to win them over as they are probably never going to just randomly FIND YOU.….. You have to build it; FAN BY FAN, STATE BY STATE, MARKET BY MARKET, brick by brick from the bottom up!! Its called “THE GRIND” and there are no shortcuts, substitutes, or back doors to slide through you just have to bring it and go holla at your fans! Social Media Marketing and Online stuff is cool and it is definitely a piece of the FANBUILDING pie……however, I submit to you that it is only “A SLICE” of a very big pie……but still its only a slice. There is alot more to building a successful, loyal, and real consumer buying fanbase.

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You cannot completely build a REAL BUYING FANBASE sitting behind a computer online. Things have changed drastically……becoming an “overnight internet sensation” is about the equivalent of hitting lotto, and I wouldn’t bet my career on it!! Today’s buying consumer fanbase are so fickle & unpredictable. These people have so many choices, options, and ways to get music free that their loyalty ebbs and flows like the wind….So they really have to know YOU!!! as much as an individual as they know you as an artist and your music. They may hear your music 1 or 2 times somewhere on the internet, along with a billion other artists they like, but they won’t buy your music until they feel totally connected to YOU. You must become more than just another artist on the internet with some good music. You have to become one of their favorite people in order for it to become a real artist/fan relationship. These people have to adore you and damn near fall in love with you artistically & personally. They must be totally inspired to buy everything that is connected to you and your brand. In case you didn’t know the terminology for these type of fans they’re called “SUPER FANS“…..the only type that matter these days. Everyone else is an admirer, supporter, onlooker, lol……or whatever else you want to call them. What they’re not is a super fan and a “BUYER“. You will starve to death and not be able to make it or even have a career if you solely rely on any other type of fanbase to support your career.

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Thus the journey begins!! to the process of actually building a real fanbase consisting largely of “SUPER FANS“. If you build it, they will come!! guess what else will come along with it.
1. SHOW MONEY
2. FEATURE MONEY
3. CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP
4. ENDORSEMENT DEALS
5. LICENSING DEALS
6. MERCH MONEY  
7. RECORD DEAL MONEY
8. LABEL IMPRINT MONEY
9. CO-OP MARKETING MONEY

10. PRIVATE INVESTOR MONEY

The bottom line here is NO REAL FANBASE.……NO REAL MONEY……in this business. This industry is unlike any other industry from that standpoint. Remember YOU are the product, YOU are the service, and YOU are ultimately the brand that your customers/SUPER FANS are buying into. What better way to touch the fans and the people that will be supporting you throughout your career than to BE THERE in the market, in their face, shaking hands, kissing babies, taking pictures, and selling your merch making sure they never forget you…….Personally, I don’t even take an artist seriously that doesn’t do some level of touring. There is no blog site, magazine, tv, or radio show that can replace the indelible lasting impression you leave on a fan that actually met you in person and cherished every minute of it!!  That person will most likely end up following you on all of your social media, supporting your movement, and sharing it with their center of influence, evolving into one of your most loyal and consistent fans. Super Fans buy your new music, merch, and attend your shows for many years to come. What better investment into your career could you possible make?

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I’ve heard just about every excuse an artist can make, but as an old wise man once told me “son you can either make excuses or you can make money, but you can’t make both” so choose one. Don’t let your situation or circumstances define the God given greatness inside of you that must come out. When speaking with alot of the stars and celebs I know on a personal level, I have found one common denominator that they all expressed to me, which is simply this, “Look Rob, I had to do what I had to do and now I’m here. If I didn’t do it……I probably wouldn’t be here right now”. Pretty profound yet simple statement. At some point in your career you’re going to have to say the same thing to yourself, “either I wish I had, or I’m sure glad I did.” Which statement will you be making? There is no way to get around touring if you truly want to be a big brand some day…..There is no way to get around “THE MOVEMENT”, in fact there is “NO MOVEMENT” without “MOVEMENT!” So I encourage you and admonish you to really give this info some careful and reflective thought, because it is your career at the end of the day! It is your dream, and if you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help them build theirs- Tony Gaskins. It has taken some artists years and years of doing it over and over again to build a large fanbase. For others it has happened much faster, either way it is something that has to be done in order to make it. Now more than ever in the industry! With that being said……My bags are packed, car is gassed up, oil changed, hotel room booked, flight booked, and I have some extra boxes if you need some for your merch…….I’m not an artist….I’m executive and even I’m ready to go!! Are you? We’re here to help you on your journey to greatness. Lets start TODAY! See you at “SOUNDCHECK”.
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BIG Mistakes Independent Artists Make With Release Dates

admin : October 11, 2013 7:52 pm : blog

How to release an album is a confusing topic for many independent artist and this article is not meant to answer every question or give a “one size fits all” template of any kind. However, I think it would be useful to go over a few things I see happening all the time among unsigned artists when it comes to presenting their work to the public. Here are some basic ground rules for releasing your music

1) Don’t think like a major label artist. A release date, for you, is just a fixed point in space.

It’s important not to get too caught up in major label artist/major record label album release tactics. Some of their techniques are appropriate for you, and some will hurt your progress. Here’s what I mean. A release date, for a major artist like Lil Wayne, is highly anticipated by millions of people, and so they can afford to do certain things like hording their music/keeping it a secret until the release date, or possibly release extremely cryptic 30 second ambient clips.

This does not typically work for independents. It’s important to understand this. If you have less than 10,000 or 20,000 fans, do not horde your material. We’ll get to that in a moment.

For an independent artist, a release date is not a major event hotly anticipated by fans the world over. It is a fixed point in space for the purpose of identification. When your new album comes out on June 14th, and you promote it as such, then iTunes reads “June 14″, as does all other digital retailers, and importantly, reviewers and websites note this date. It identifies the release and makes it official, historical. Think Wikipedia. Your release date is a benchmark, sure, but it’s meant to pinpoint your album so that is publicly exists.

 

 2) Don’t just post your album on the release date. Promote properly.

Artists often tend to take release dates literally. Meaning, if my release date is January 27th, then I must withhold the music until then. On the 27th, I’ll post a notice to my YouTube, Facebook , Twitter, Instagram, to friends and fans with Soundcloud and Bandcamp links to my album, and there you have it. Do you see an issue with this? There are multiple issues, actually. First off, you have very little chance of getting the album reviewed, or momentum going on the record unless you target very small indie blogs or hire a good publicist, and even then you won’t get the same results as you would have if you gave promotion it’s due time. I recommend at least 2 months of advance promotion time, preferably 4, since that is the amount of time print publications take to plan their next issue. If you’re not a artist with a engaged fans and you have a smaller fanbase, 2-3 months will do just fine. During this time, you’ll want to reach out to as many media outlets, music blogs, podcasts, internet radio shows, etc, specifying that this is an advance release. This means the album is fresh out of the oven as opposed to yesterday’s muffins. Make sense? Of course it does! And yet, most artists don’t know about this

 

3) Stream it, baby. Go with the flow.

I mentioned not hording your work a few times now. So many unsigned artists I talk to are very concerned that their fans may hear their album before it’s release date. I always recommend streaming your album on Bandcamp and Soundcloud in advance of the release. Even as early as 6 weeks is fine to stream your album. Keep in mind, these networks allow you to stream only, not make it available for download.

The confusion on this point, once again, comes from artists thinking like major label artists. This type of thinking leads not to fame, but to obscurity. It seems counter-intuitive, I know. The idea is, if it’s not there and ready for people to hear, and it’s not heavily promoted, people won’t come back. People will come back and check a 2nd time to see if the new DRAKE album is ready yet, sure. But that’s because they’ve built a relationship with him for years. They won’t do the same for you. So you should not only stream your album, but try to get as many blogs as possible posting the stream. Get your fans to share the stream. The absolute worst thing that will happen is that more people will hear your music and become fans. Think about it logically.

One artist’s argument to me was that fans would rip his music from the album stream. He should be so lucky! I don’t even know what to say to that. Let me tell you, if that’s your biggest fear, you’re paranoid. If fans are eager enough about your music to rip it from a stream, then you have a seriously intense following that is presenting you with opportunities you need to mobilize. Embrace it.

 

4.) BUY YOUR OWN MUSIC:

Yes I said it..Buy your own music..If you don’t buy it why should I..You need to buy your music and give yourself 5stars and a great review. This kicks in the analytics on the digital retail site so it says things like “If you liked Kanye you might also like yada, yada, yada” Get it….Key words, backlines, annotations and SEO are important.

 

5.) NOT USING YOUTUBE

YouTube is the number one site for music discovery. Not doing several videos around your release is just ridiculous. Here are just some examples; introduction video (who you are, who inspires you, what’s your music about, where you from, what you like etc. etc…) making of video, performance video, collage video, lyric video, playlist video, behind the scenes video, etc..Just putting videos up without engaging YOUTUBE social media tools(annotations, keywords ,tags,) is ridiculous too…I’m just sayin.

 

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