NARIP markets & monetizes music | Learn Network Access Opportunity

How To Grow A Fan Base

By Alan Beck, Pacific Concert Group

January 24, 2008

To build a fan base as an artist is simple in theory. The main objective for an artist is to create BUZZ. “Buzz” means people at all levels are hearing about your artist including fans, club owners, A&R people, radio program and music directors, editors at music publications and zines, etc. The ultimate goal is that one or two radio stations or more will take notice and start playing your song.  One station leads to the next and before you know it, your artist is getting airplay. Airplay changes an artist’s career.

Airplay creates BDS, which leads to sales and SoundScans. All this gets the attention of major labels or major money to enable the maximum promotion of an artist. The artist who has the money behind him gets the budget to pay for radio promotion and for publicity, and thus compete at the highest level.

Without a real plan to build a fan base and create a serious buzz, it’s almost impossible to succeed.

First, an artist needs a song and identity to introduce to the market. An album is great but a few strong songs about who an artist really is will be the message an artist sends to his fans. As an artist, your style and quality have to be who you are or you are wasting everyone’s time.

Second, an artist needs a video and great pictures to help market himself to people who don’t yet know him. The song, a video and pictures will also be crucial to industry people and others. The good news is that there is a way to do it cost effectively. It’s called an electronic press kit, something an artist can use so that anyone can go to his site or MySpace page and download all of this information, including the artist’s bio.

MySpace is a #1 priority followed by the artist’s Web site. Next, be sure to include samples of the artist’s music and allow free downloads to get his music to fans until artist is getting airplay. At that point, you can charge.

Also very important on the artist’s MySpace page and Web site: live video performances. Have a video of artist singing his songs and encourage people to place that video and artist’s song on their MySpace pages. Build the network.

Set up a radio station tour to meet program directors. As an artist, if you don’t have the hook-ups then you need to find a manger who can help do this. Or find a known artist/producer to produce artist’s song whom PDs know. It’s very competitive out there! Offer radio stations artist’s time and talent at no charge to open any of their events or shows or any on-air promotions. Use song hooks for ringtones as well.

Have a calendar on artist’s MySpace page and Web site so fans will know what artist is doing and how to meet up with him.

VERY IMPORTANT: Answer all MySpace email and add them to your artist’s friend list. Artist should make personal contact with fans. Could take 2 – 3 hours a day, but it’s worth it.

Making as many public appearances as possible is important. Performing for high schools is another great way to get your music out there. Talk to local fair or festival bookers and try to get an opening spot at the state fairs, this can translate into lots of exposure.

Be aggressive: use E-mail blasts and text-messaging to tell people what you are doing and make announcements. Try to find a spot in different cities where artist can perform once a month and sell music to make some income.

Just a start here. Good common sense helps!


Recordings of the panels from NARIP’s Concert Biz Expo – including the one on which Alan Beck (author of this article) was a guest speaker – are available now in the NARIP Store. Click here to buy now, listen and learn!

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See photos from NARIP’s Concert Biz Expo, click here: NARIP Snapshots