Every artist, whether they’re selling out arenas or still working in clubs, has two types of fans. Most artists never bother to differentiate between the two and therefore don’t grow their fan base as quickly because they tend to cater to the wrong group. In this excerpt from the latest edition of my Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age book, you’ll see the differences between these groups and why one is more critical to your success.
“Music 4.0 is totally dependent upon the development, care, and feeding of your fanbase. Your core fans or “tribe” is only a piece of your total audience though. Your audience can be broken down into the following two categories: your casual fans and your core fans.
Your total audience, or your fans, are fervent about a particular small niche of music that’s usually a subcategory of a larger genre, which means that they love speed metal (as opposed to the much larger metal or hard-rock genres), bluegrass (as compared to the larger country-music genre), or alien marching bands (as opposed to either of the larger alien-music or marching-band genres). If you’re an artist in that particular niche, your audience will automatically gravitate toward you, but still might not be your fans. This includes casual fans, occasional listeners, and people who like what you’re doing yet aren’t particularly passionate about it.
Although this part of your audience can’t be ignored, it’s probably not a good idea to expend all your energy on it. They’re aware of you and will probably give you a try with every release, unless they’re disappointed too many times in a row. They can be turned into passionate fans though. One “hit” song or album, a change in image, or a change in general perception, and they become the passionate critical mass needed for the breakout that turns a respected artist into a true star.
In Music 4.0, your most important core audience contains your most passionate fans, or your “tribe.” They’ll buy whatever you have to sell, work for free, recruit other fans, and basically do anything you ask. All they want is access to and communication with the artist, which is the basis of Music 4.0.
So to summarize:
- Your audience consists of your casual fans and your core fans
- Fans may like an artist but may not be particularly passionate
- Your core fans (true fans, uber-fans, super fans, tribe) are very passionate about everything you do
- Most of your energy should be directed towards your core fans”
Knowing the difference between fan groups can make a difference between chasing your tail trying to please casual fans that only marginally care about you, or growing your audience by cultivating your most passionate ones.
You can read more from The Mixing Engineer’s Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.