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Personal Connection with Fans Leads New Music Seminar Discussion
Last week, artists, managers and music industry enthusiasts flocked to New York's Webster Hall
By Annie Reuter, You Sing, I Write
(more articles from this author)
2010-07-26
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Bill Werde, Kelly Cutrone, Little Steven Van Zandt speaking during New Music Seminar's 4th Movement "The Creative Conundrum" on Wednesday, July 21st

"When you have fans of your persona, who you are, what you stand for, that's a lot more powerful than having a number one record," says Just Blaze.

Last week, artists, managers and music industry enthusiasts flocked to New York's Webster Hall for the New Music Seminar. The two-day, three night sold-out event featured panels and mentoring sessions from leaders in the business. Moderators included Ariel Hyatt, Peter Kafka, Martin Atkins, Bill Werde and Margaret Cho, who led talks on cultivating artist/fan relationships, music marketing and differentiating yourself from the crowd.

Of the many topics discussed, the most prominent was fan interaction. Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR broke down the 1,000 True Fans logic during the First Movement while additional speakers gave advice.

The concept of 1,000 true fans is that an artist only needs to acquire 1,000 fans to make a living. "A True Fan will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing." Additionally, if 1,000 fans contribute to buying $100 worth of merchandise, concert tickets, music, etc. throughout the year, this becomes the equivalent to earning $100,000, a comfortable salary most can live on.

Mike Doernberg of Reverb Nation stressed this idea. "Your fans are your value. The deeper the fan relationship, the more value you have as a band. It's more important than ever to have a relationship with your fans," he said.

How does one cultivate these relationships and more importantly, maintain them? Stop talking about yourself and sustain a community the panel advised. Relationships are multi-faceted; create a community and promote other indie bands, don't just focus on selling your music. By being authentic in your dialogue you attract more people.

"Engagement is not a destination, it's a continuum," stated Eric Garland of BigChampagne.

Joe Kennedy of Pandora agreed. "It's not about the numbers. Build a base of passionate true believers."

The energetic Martin Atkins had his own take during his 18-minute intensive talk. "Nobody gives a fuck about you, your band and your music except you. It's not how you're communicating; it's what you're communicating."

Instead of interacting with fans solely on social media, send out monthly newsletters with one call to action. Be it, "add us on Twitter" or give away a free track; focus on one specific thing to draw fans in. When people have too many choices, they tend to abstain from making any decision.

Live music producer Tom Jackson spoke of music fans in the concert setting. "It's always about an emotional connection between people. If you can create moments and change their lives at a show, people will keep coming. The key is connecting with the audience. "

While the seminar focused on advising young, independent artists, Just Blaze summed up the discussion best. "When you have fans of your persona, who you are, what you stand for, that's a lot more powerful than having a number one record."

Photo Credit: Workman Entertainment


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