Turn On The Fans. Part 1

MMusic is not an art. Music is a business. It has an industry, a sales records, moguls, and advertising. Why does Soulja Boy do well? I mean, his music is weak and terrible! Because he’s a businessman. Your success in sharing your music with the world and influencing others to produce good music requires making a run of sounds that will sell to people. Nobody will know what you did for music until you are a selling musician, like Beyonce, Dream Theatre, Kings of Leon, or Kiss.

So what do we do so that we can sell without “selling out”? The main thing – if it does not hurt the music or artistic intent, do it.

You are a rock band, and everyone in it has a great body? Play shirtless! You are a jazz band? Got a really flamboyant bass player who always looks like he’s gonna launch his rocket when he solos? End with that, so nobody remembers your boring pianist. Play childrens music with punk influences? Pass out cookies to everyone who yells “NO NO NO!” during the bridge of “Time Out is My Time“.

Lady Gaga at MuchMusic Video Awards

Lady Gaga at MuchMusic Video Awards

Now that basic advertising is taken care of (learn to draw peoples eyes!) look at who is listening to your music. It is not everybody. I have yet to see a metalhead headbanging to the Cheetah Girls. You have an audience. They are the reason you come home from gigs with money. Never forget that, and learn about them.

Ask them questions. Talk to them. Sign their shirts and let them admire your gear. Teach them to play a song (they will love you; one of the bands I actively listen to taught me to play a song I liked on bass, it was the most amazing thing ever) and be a friend. But most of all, watch and learn. They are the source of your money. Learn to make that money flow much more readily. Let me show you some example fans (I made these guys up)…

  • Yolanda Miranda Landa

Gender: female

Clothing style: really bright and preppy

What she does at shows: dances to the beat, talks with other bright preppy dressed friends

What she says about the band in comments on myspace/facebook/twitter: “OMG this is really catchy,” “I like that rly funky sound in ‘Danger’ at the show last night,” “(on Steve the drummer’s picture) u look so cute here!!”

What songs are on her (hot pink) profile: “Believe” by Lenny Kravitz, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye, “Take on Me” by Reel Big Fish, “Danger” by the Humanity

  • Ian Pod

Gender: male

Clothing style: really lazy, wrinkled, stained, hair unkept as well

What he does at shows: sits off to the side, you usually don’t know he’s there, but he seems be a little early to the shows so he can watch the band set up

What he says about the band in comments on myspace/facebook/twitter: “cool music!”, “lol,” “nice solo in ‘Danger’!”

  • Barry Apple

Gender: male

Clothing style: very formal looking, a little bit “hipster”

What he does at shows: usually at the bar with a shot or two, hitting on some women, taking business calls

What he says about the band in comments on myspace/facebook/twitter: “great job at the show last night! loved it!” “(on Steve’s picture) and that is why you get all the women, Steve,” “is that a bassoon on the recorded version of ‘Danger’? that’s cool!!!! record more of your songs XD!!!”, “lol Fred,” “stuck at work, listening to your music again”

What songs are on his (slick green) profile: “Supersonic” by Jamiroquai, “Walking on the Moon” by the Police, “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai, “Take on Me” by A-Ha, “Readymade” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Certain Shade of Green” by Incubus

Now I’m gonna ask you some questions.

What do these fans have in common?

What seems to be the thing that makes these guys like the shows?

Assuming this is already a funk rock band with a lot of pop influences, what would the band need to do appeal to these types of fans even more?

Answers are in the next week’s follow-up article! Leave your own thoughts in the comments.