How To Build A Fanbase As A Musician
Find more listeners for your music. Learn how to attract and engage fans with our expert guide to building a loyal following.
Fans have a huge impact on which music artists break through each year; a loyal following can catapult an unknown music artist into the charts. However, as a musician, you won't gain followers by chance. Your fans will support your music and your gigs, but it’s up to you to give them a reason to.
Below, we've put together some essential tips for forming a fanbase and keeping fans engaged.
Why Do You Need A Fanbase As A Musician?
Every creative professional needs to establish a stable fanbase. This is more important for musicians because it’s your fans that determine how well your music will perform.
- Having a solid fanbase will drive listeners to your profiles on platforms such as Bandcamp, Spotify and SoundCloud.
- Fans increase your chances of your music going viral as your fans share content across social media platforms such as TikTok and Twitter.
- You can create a strong community vibe amongst fans that engage with you and your music the most.
Not All Fans Are Equal
Knowing the different interest levels within your fanbase will allow you to tailor the way you engage with them. Different segments of your audience will have different ways of interacting with you and you need to cater to them all:
Your core fans are the people that engage with pretty much everything that you do. They will have your latest album on repeat and write about it on social media. They want to know what foods you like to eat and they'll be first in line for your upcoming shows. These are the fans that will support you unapologetically and this is where you should direct a high level of engagement to keep them as core fans.
A fanbase typically forms from the people around you first, but as your music becomes more successful your international fanbase will increase.
Your international fans might not always be able to make it to your gigs, but they still want to know what’s happening. Social media gives you the opportunity to engage with people from across the world in little time. By posting highlights of your shows, record launches or your latest band photos, you can engage your core and international fans at the same time.
Developing relationships with other musicians that love your music is a great way to network and increase your fan base through word-of-mouth.
It's a tale as old as time. One creative professional will recommend your music to another and before you know it, your career is snowballing.
Collaborative projects typically extend your reach as well, fans of your collaborators can become your fans too.
What Is Considered A Good Fanbase?
People have different ideas of what a ‘good’ fanbase is, but as a musician once you can start earning money from the support generated by your fans, you know you’re heading in the right direction. Building a solid fanbase that you can eventually monetize takes more time than people think. Here are a few ways you can generate income once you grow your own.
- When your fans continuously stream your music on platforms such as Spotify and share content featuring your music on apps such as TikTok, you have the opportunity to start earning music royalties as your numbers increase.
- Uploading visual content such as music videos or promotional content on platforms like Youtube will encourage both your core and international fans to tune in. As the numbers run up, you’re more likely to get accepted into the Youtube Partner Program allowing you to monetize your channel.
- If you launch a short run of merchandise related to your latest music project and you have a strong fanbase, people will be eager to get their hands on the goods and you’ll be sold out in no time. You can start releasing more merchandise knowing that your core fans will continue to support you.
- Brand partnerships will start to find you when your social media fanbase hits double digits. Brands that love what you do and want to establish an audience through you will start to pay you to make it happen. Once you have one brand partnership under your belt it becomes much easier to secure new partnerships moving forward.
Things To Consider Before You Start Building Your Fanbase
There are many things to think about if you want to start building a fanbase as a musician, but if you’re just getting started here are some tips to help you out.
Make great music
Making great music is always the first step. People can tell that you love what you do through the quality of the music you release. Take your time to create something that is meaningful to you. Your fans will thrive off your authenticity as an artist.
Understand who is your target audience
Becoming familiar with your target audience and the social media platforms that they use the most is significant in developing a good relationship with your fanbase.
Create a strong brand identity
A strong brand identity will keep your fans hooked on your music and the content that you post outside of that. They want to admire your quirky dress sense or the unusual dance moves you always incorporate into your music videos.
Be consistent and patient
Consistency is the key to building a good fanbase, but also to maintaining that fanbase. Even if you reach a great level of following across social media it’s important to bear in mind that you need to keep those followers by still delivering the music and the content that they love.
What Platforms Should You Use To Grow Your Fanbase
Without a doubt, music artists in 2023 must know how to promote music on social media. Social media is the best place to grow your audience without having to spend tons of money.
The opportunities to engage with your fans on social media are endless. You can create a conversational community on Twitter where you exchange questions with your fans. Or, you can post behind-the-scenes videos from a rehearsal studio session on Instagram or TikTok. It's up to you to find out what gets your target audience excited.
This is a considerably underrated approach when it comes to musicians trying to build their fanbase. Many people may see email marketing as spam but your core fans won’t. They would love to get email updates from their favourite artists with a round up of what they’ve been up to. Mailchimp is a brilliant platform that makes email marketing simple and effective.
Music Streaming Platforms
Platforms such as TIDAL and Pandora that allow musicians to stream their music are the basis of growing your fanbase. People need somewhere to go to listen to your music before they know if they like it. Featuring your music on platforms such as these also gives you the chance to show support and gain support from other musicians which can open up a host of new opportunities.
Your Own Website
With your own website you have creative control over what you want your fans to see and when you want them to see it. You can drive traffic to all your online channels by running competitions, giveaways, and taking submissions for other projects.
PR marketing that focuses on the music industry can be an expensive but beneficial way to build a fanbase. You can form exclusive partnerships and gain access to popular events. You also have the potential to secure performance opportunities with bigger artists that can boost your own audience.
Paid advertising is another costly approach to building your fanbase as a musician. For emerging artists, organic approaches to marketing work best as you invest in developing your music catalogue. Methods such as social media and word-of-mouth can help you get started without spending a penny. As you become more established, paid advertising approaches will work better because you’re capitalising on the core fan base that you already have.
Music Distribution Platforms
You can place your music in front of millions of potential fans by using the best music distribution services. All of the top providers specialise in helping independent artists get their music on major music stores and streaming platforms such as iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, and Google Play.
Most platforms want to keep users on their platforms
Each online platform is designed with an algorithm that works best for them. TikTok recommends content based on what content you’ve already been watching. Instagram prioritises content from the people you follow, but with a quick swipe the explore page has a host of fresh content for you to browse and engage with. Once you know your target audience you will know the platforms that your fans love the most.
10 Tips: How To Build And Grow Your Fan Base
- Creating engaging content on any social media platform you actively use is essential to growing your fanbase.
- Be authentic in the content and the music that you make. Your core fans want to know that you are who you say you are when you’re both online and live on stage.
- Give back to your fans when you can. Those that continuously support you would be excited to receive exclusive discount codes to your merchandise featured on your website or benefit from a giveaway at one of your live shows. They hype about it across social media and through word-of-mouth will attract more fans your way..
- Submit your songs to playlists to boost your listeners. You can do this through external platforms such as Soundplate or you can email playlist curators asking them to add your music.
- Find a way to educate your fans about the things that interest you or inspire your creative process. For example, letting your fans know how to make an EPK.
- Networking with industry professionals both within the music industry and outside of it is just as important as engaging with your fanbase. The right connections can elevate your music career and grow your audience dramatically.
- Learning from your mistakes is all a part of the process. Building a fan base works in different ways for different people. Once you work out what works for you the fans will come naturally.
- Use the free resources out there that are available before investing large sums of money into growing your fanbase. Real fans are usually organic ones. Don’t get caught up in taking shortcuts that breaches the guidelines of the platforms that can help you the most.
- Always do your research when exploring something new. Whether it’s how to get paid your royalties from music distributions platforms or how to get your music at the forefront on Spotify. A little research goes a long way to ensure your music can be found by your fans without a hitch.
- Make sure your brand identity stands out from the rest. People like to see and share things that are unique. Alongside maintaining an authentic personality, find ways to showcase your personality externally through your style and interests.
How To Turn Your Fan Base Into A Community
The more time you invest in engaging with your fans the more you will gradually start to build a community of people that will support your music no matter what. Nicki Minaj has her Barbz. Beyonce has her Beyhive. Once you let your fans know that you deliver quality music and content whilst remaining yourself, you won’t have to push for a community. The community will manifest itself.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to build a stable fanbase?
Patience is essential when building a music fan base. You have to make time to create content and post when you can in order to get people’s attention. It could take months if you’re active on the right platforms or it could take years if you’re still figuring out what you want to put out to the public.
What is a common mistake to avoid?
Don’t spend too much money. We are in an era where the internet can do most of the work for us. Take advantage of the platforms that allow you to promote your music for free and only invest in the platforms that you deem crucial to building up your core fanbase.
Should I focus on building a local fan base or an international fanbase?
Focus on both. Fans are fans, and if they support your music then it’s only right to appreciate them for it. Local fans are more likely to come to your live shows but international fans are more likely to engage with your content online. It’s a win win either way.
What should I do if I receive negative feedback or criticism from fans?
Always keep it professional when fans give you feedback. They are not always going to understand you through your music or what you choose to show them online. You have a standard to maintain in order to be a successful musician, and that starts with keeping your fans happy.
Should you buy fans when you’re starting from zero?
You should never buy fans to launch your fan base. It can cause issues in the future with the platforms that you use and it doesn’t give you a true representation of who is actually supporting your music.
How much money should I invest in building my fan base?
Some people start with zero and develop a strong fan base using social media and some people have a substantial marketing budget which allows paid advertising to do the work for them. You need to work at your own pace financially to achieve reasonable goals. As your fanbase grows you can invest more accordingly.
Fans inspire musicians to keep creating the music that they love. There are so many ways to let them know that you value them outside of your music. Keep them updated on your creative process, teach them something new, or make the time to go live every week to see how your core fans are doing.
Building a fanbase takes time but it’s worth it.