Thursday, October 17, 2013

Random Thought Thursday: Fan Base?

Being the "behind the scenes" guy at this blog comes with certain interesting things. The one I am hinting at with this post has to do with fan base.

Seeing which artists get more hits here on the blog is a real interesting process to watch pan out. The "fresh face, family supports your dream, still young enough that friends are excited for your gigs" act gets far more hits than the "been singing and strumming my guitar for years around this town and A LOT of folks "know" me" act. I find it to be an interesting kickback from the music industry, and perhaps a reason why it chews a lot of folks up and spits them out.

We start our musical careers at a high point where we can drag our 50 closest friends out to the dive we are playing the 11:45 PM slot at, we play for a packed house because they told their other friends, and all is well with the world. Do that for a few months, maybe a year or two, and then the excitement dies down. Less and less folks are replying "yes" to your event invites, and some of those that do don't show up to the gig. Soon you are playing to a couple local drunks' backs at the local pub. I suppose my question, is how does a band really get from that "all my friends will come" mentality to "all these people WANT to come see me and I can pack this venue on a Tuesday". Its a hard pill to swallow that a lot of us never will get to that point.

I guess the question is how do we get over that "hump"?

What do you guys think?

1 comment:

  1. There are so many variables here - that you can't really put it into one easy answer. If you look at ticket counts at the bigger (300 to 900 cap )venues, you need to understand what's selling -- Back in the late 80's when I drummed with a roots/reggae/punk act - we consistently had packed rooms - there was a big scene for the music. More people going out, the age bubble was right, there was far less of a competition for mind-share. Drinks were cheaper, admission too. Now - fast forward to 2013: If you take a look at the volume of clubs in Boston - 90% do not offer live music, they don't need too - it's not a great return on investment. So, in the reality of the day and age, instead of lamenting the lack of audience at a live venue ( and let's face it - in the Americana genre much of the audience is musicians in the umbrella)- it's not a major draw to college kids, and the demo of the age group is older, and less likely to go out to bars - getting the oldesters who aren't barflies to come out is pretty difficult) So, to me now, it's not about packing a room, but getting the right people to support your music, through a balanced combination of live shows ( including touring to markets where our (Adela & Jude) genre is more popular), web broadcasting of interesting, entertaining content ( andI don't mean sit and play a show in from of a webcam - that's boring, IMHO...) - and using the tools afforded by the internet to grow a dedicated fan base. Having 200 dedicated fans across the country who will spend 50 dollars annually on merch and music is 10K. - to me that's a far better return than playing a local club with 3 other bands and walking away owning your bar tab. So, back to your original question of growing the fan base - I think the first question is to ask why you want to grow your fan base? to have bodies in a room - or to attract high quality music fans who support you?