You need only 1,000 true Mega Fans to build a sustainable music career. But getting those first few diehard fans who play such a crucial role in building momentum can feel almost impossible when you’re just starting out.
Many artists tell me..
They don’t have time to talk to fans and develop relationships
They are too busy making music to interact with people on social media
They are not able to understand how to use social media effectively
If you feel connected to any of these common issues, then you will need to come to terms with the fact that if you are going to build a business, it does require a level of dedication to your fans.
A music career isn’t all playtime, it’s a business and you have to work just as hard at establishing and nurturing your fan base/ customer base as you do for your art.
The great News..
There are dozens and dozens of ways to find fans for your music style, but it’s ultimately going to come down to your level of commitment to learning and then taking action.
Finding the right balance of tactics that works best for your personal music career strategy always leads with your goal first and then looking at the right strategy that helps you achieve that goal.
Some of you will do this really slowly and some will be moving at lightening speed.
The time this will take is all up to you and your level of commitment to growing your fan base.
Here’s what you need to know..
Know your Micro-niche
Before you do anything else, you absolutely must know your micro-niche of music. Your brand of music encompasses and is impacted by everything you do, from how you present yourself (both in person and online), to how you communicate with your fans.
The more focused your Micro-niche is, the easier it is to find fans. Even better, if you do find fans of your micro-niche, they typically are so happy to discover you that they become instant buyers.
Previously we works at figuring out who you are artistically. Now let’s figure out your Micro-niche.
What is a Micro-Niche?
There are an infinite number of Micro-niches out there and more coming along every day but defining where you fit is your ticket to success in this industry.
Indie artists must break from a micro-niche. That micro-niche must be well delineated and can be very very small and still be effective. The mistake most artists make is making a pop record that does not have a niche to break out of.
It’s like being SMALL fish in a BIG pond.
You never want to be a SMALL fish in a BOG pond full of other fish. You need to become the BIG fish of the Smaller pond that doesn’t have as many fish. If your pond (mic-niche) has just enough great artists in it to already have fans excited to discover more music, then your golden.
The newer your niche, the greater your chance of becoming identified with it. Almost every superstar broke out of a micro-niche they dominated..
Examples: De La Soul: hip hop hippies, House of Pain – Irish hip hop, Queen Latifah: first proud and powerful African American woman in hip hop, Ru Paul, first drag queen with dance hit, and so on.
So you need to identify what makes you unique and special and discover the Micro-niche that fits you.
This is the biggest genres like Pop, Rock, Country, etc. This is the BIG pond. Stay away from the BIG pond. You are a small fish.
A slightly smaller sub-genre like Pop-Rock, Country Blues, Singer-Songwriter. This pond is still WAY to BIG for you. It’s littered with trending artists, mainstream artists and new comers who have no idea what they are doing.
A much smaller crowd and a pond that is open to discover new artists. Ex: Folk Rock, Folk Alternative,
Here you can be a BIG fish in a small pond. It’s the most lucrative place to be. This can change from album to album. But try to become a major contributor to your micro-niche so you can dominate it quickly.
Ex: Renegade Female Folk, Indonesian Folk Rock, Irish Folk Rock, Nordic Folk Blues Rock,
Dance Rock, Dark Fantasy Electro, Fire-fighter Country Music.
MOST POPULAR UMBRELLA GENRES
NICHE GENRE CHART
This shows you just how many alternatives there can be per genre.
MICRO NICHE GENRE CHART
A few examples:
NOT SURE WHAT YOUR MUSIC CLASSIFICATION IS?
Send a text or message to 10 people and what are the 3 most similar bands or artists that you think my music sounds like? If you have an email list, send out a quick email and ask them the same thing.
Write down the top answers you get and start researching those bands on Spotify and Google.
We can also ask the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/musicmarketinginsider
Once you have your music niche figured out, let’s look at ways to find fans.
Use hashtags on Instagram
Hashtags are a great tool to make it easier for music fans to discover you. Search trending hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, and use them to connect with niche audiences and topics of conversation that are relevant to you.
I have a full explanation of how to use hashtags here:
How to get your Instagram post on the popular page https://www.avaliveradio.info/mmi/get-your-instagram-post-on-the-popular-page
Get on music discovery websites
Music fans and industry influencers alike scour music discovery websites like our website at AVA Live radio or sites like Indie Music Spin, Ear Milk, Etc.
I have a good list here:
Even a little bit of traction on websites like those will help tons of passionate music fans find your band over time. Once you get posted, give it time and share the posting often to help people discover the page. If your page gets ranked on google search, it can go viral and bring you non stop fans from that one piece of press.
Get Posted by other Instagram accounts
This can be tricky but if the Instagram page is very niche then it could be amazing. Also when AVA Live radio and Indie Music Spin post your music they use a very specific set of hashtags to help target your audience. You can help by sharing those with your social media team before posting so that you can make sure your getting listed right where you need to be.
As part of this program, we want to help you out so once you figure out your niche. Send us a message on Instagram and let us know what we can post for you. Happy to help out.
This also works with twitter as there are tons of niche music blogs still using twitter to promote their pages.
Engage your fans
There’s no way around it – you have to engage with your fans as much as possible. If you want to maintain and grow your following, they can surely help out.
Growth requires consistent effort on your part to keep them aware of you, deepen the relationships, and ultimately create superfans who will help promote you and support your career in the long run.
Social media and your email list can help you lessen the time involved if you use the tools wisely. I’ll go over those tricks very soon in upcoming steps.
Just remember, every fan knows at least 500 people that may also enjoy the same kind of music. Ask for their help in spreading the music around now that you are attracting the right people to it. If they are a perfect fit for you, they should become extremely vocal and happy to share as often as possible.
Embrace streaming and playlisting
Getting your song featured on a popular Spotify playlist can be even more effective at creating buzz for your band than getting covered by a blog. Curated playlists in your micro-niche are powerful and how most fans discover new music. Makes sure your artist name matches your website and social media pages so you can be found if someone hears you and wants to track you down. Not all plays will equate to followers but it’s amazing for awareness and there’s always trickle-down effect eventually.
Post YouTube covers
When music fans are trying to find a specific song, Youtube is where they go. The algorithm serves up popular and new videos that match that search. Along with uploading your original music to your official channel, posting cover videos will improve your chances of appearing higher in search results and will make you more accessible to new fans.
The best part about cover songs is if you are strategic about the choices, you can gain a never-ending stream of new targeted music fans so try to watch for new songs coming out or trending songs that are right in your Micro-niche. That audience is whom you want, so use that hot new video to get in that long tail with your own version.
Collaborate with other artists in your Micro-niche
I love this one. Just like with playing on stage as an opening act for a larger artist, the social media version of that is to collaborate.
Partnering with fellow musicians in your Subgenre, Niche or Micro niche is an amazing help. It allows you to leverage each other’s audiences. You could trade support slots on upcoming shows with a band as well or collaborate on a cover video. You can also try reaching out to local visual artists to create cool, unique band merch items, and in return, you can help promote their work at your shows and in your online store. This helps you get amazing merch ready for sale.
Build relationships with influencers who love your music
This is easier said than done, of course, but as you already know, relationships are everything in the music industry. One tweet from an influencer with a big following could be a game-changer for your music career.
If you’re brand new to the music business and you have zero contacts, try to network online as much as possible. There are also plenty of online communities and Facebook groups you can join to build up your network.
A lot of influencers can also be paid $25-$100 per post to share your music to their fan base. It’s still relatively low cost considering the fans you could gain from the right person.
Experiment with Facebook ads
It’s expensive while you are testing out the strategy but with a little bit of experimentation and the right audience targeting, you can run Facebook ads that reach new music fans very inexpensively and effectively. The only problem is it’s a very trial and error thing. Google search “look alike audiences” before you try.
To break through the noise and hold the attention of the music fans you’re targeting, you have to be consistent across all of your communication channels. Whether it’s your email newsletter, social media pages, or new music releases, you have to give your fans something to expect and look forward to regularly.
So get organized and make sure you select options that you can maintain regularly.
Look at your year at a glance and try to map things out so they make sense.