Now’s the time to put all your energy into producing great music and earning a huge fan base. But, take note artists — increasing your fan following cannot be your only key to success. Success also lies in the ability to keep these fans AND manage your career decisions effectively. Thankfully, we live in a world where people are constantly trying to solve our problems, and have thought about almost everything for us. Here’s a look at some useful tools that artists can use to benefit their career in 2012.
An interesting topic I’ve discussed with friends, musicians, and people building an online following is that the focus tends to be on people not yet reached — potential fans. In my opinion, artists should be more concerned with the fans they do have, who can spread great reviews about their music and push people to buy. Ariel Hyatt of Cyber PR agrees. She’s outlined twelve steps for artists to engage and increase their fan base — all by first focusing on existing fans. She promises that they’re fail proof, but I’ll let you guys test it out and be the judge. I won’t outline all of the steps here, especially when you can read them over at the Music Think Tank, but I will say a commonality in every step she outlined was consistency and tracking. Constantly engaging fans through social media and putting out newsletters with tracking capabilities, is one of the great suggestions on the list that, which surprisingly, artists don’t do enough. By shifting the focus onto existing fans, your actually creating content that is accessible to a broader market of friends of fans and casual listeners, as well.
Michael Shoup, a singer/songwriter from Tennessee, landed in a debt trap after he graduated from college with a degree in Music. He was pouring all his money into ineffectively performing around the country, a strategy that didn’t do what he had hoped for his career. That was 8 years ago. Now, Michael is the poster child for pursuing music the efficient and effective way. He’s debt free, booking the most extensive tour of his music career, and engaging hundreds of his fans daily through social media. Lucky for us, Mike found it in his heart to let us in on his secret. He’s got a five step plan that is genius in its simplicity:1. Minimizing -” I challenge you to examine what you do on a day to day basis, and ask yourself (a) do you actually like doing those activities and (b) what would happen if you just STOPPED doing part of it. What are the consequences? What is the worst-case scenario that could happen if you just dropped that activity today? What would the benefits be? What if you only used one social network and built your audience there? Would you suddenly find yourself with blocks of time available to dedicate to your passion or audience? I certainly did.” 2. Delegate – “While the term “independent” in the music industry generally refers to running your own career, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do it alone. This is one part of the puzzle that I find many creatives miss. I know I certainly did. The beauty of being an “independent” artist is that you’re suddenly the boss of your own career; the CEO and founder of your music, and it’s your job to build a team under you.” 3. Prioritize – “Our society, and partially our school system, has ingrained in us that busy is better; that multi-tasking is a necessity, and that Facebook deserves your constant attention. It doesn’t. What does deserve your attention are your goal-driven, well-defined priorities. It’s time to separate yourself from the noise.” 4. Automate – “Along came Debit and Credit Cards, and with them slews of systems to make the process of a transaction more efficient. What if you could use similar automation to get out of your own way? Well you can, and I do every day.” 5. Create. – This is it, folks. This is what you’ve saved up so much time and energy to do. In my personal opinion, this should always be priority and rule #1.
Kickstarter, is it time to jump on the bandwagon?
Kickstarter recently put together a highlights page of their good deeds and triumphs in 2011. Kickstarter is shaping up to be a leader in serving indie musicians in today’s digital age. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects of all types. The company raised over 99 million dollars for projects in 2011, with twenty million dollars for musicians alone. Over eleven thousand users reached their set monetary goals thanks to the website’s platform, with only bigger and better things promised for users in 2012. For artists who need to streamline the fundraising process and automate some of the tedious processes of money management, this is a great solution. Catch up on the stats of Kickstarter’s amazing year over on Kickstarter.com.