It's not easy for an independent artist, especially if you're looking to monetize your music. Although many online music distribution platforms can make sure your music is sent off to streaming services, what happens when you're looking for that extra promotional push? In my opinion, a strong live presence is still a crucial factor in establishing an artist's reputation in the industry.
On one hand, a quick glance at success stories shows how the internet/social media can help get your career off the ground way quicker than ever before. On the other hand, there are a million other talented artists eagerly going for the same viral path to stardom and, as the attention span of music fans seems to be shrinking by the minute, your chances at success breaking as a YouTube or Instagram star are likely diminishing at a quick rate.
Read: 5 Ways for Musicians to Save Money for a Home Studio
When fans have an intimate experience with an artist in a live setting, there is a bond that far exceeds anything that can come to life over the internet.
Here are FIVE WAYS to grow a local fanbase:
5. GO TO OTHER SHOWS
No matter what category your music falls in, there are many people in your city that are fans of that genre and likely other artists and music industry types that are trying to perfect the same sort of sound. Find those local shows and NETWORK. This is where you plant your seeds of a potential fanbase and it will begin to grow. It's also where you'll start building your arsenal of music industry professionals.
The more involved you are in your town/city, the better the chance of your project becoming a local favorite!
4. SET UP YOUR OWN SHOWS WITH OTHER LOCAL BANDS/ARTISTS
Now that you have a better understanding of where the local shows take place and which bands/artists you enjoy that bring a crowd, throw a show!
Most local promoters are booking a ton of dates at any given time. They'll welcome the opportunity for one of the acts that they are organizing a show with to book the full lineup. Fill out the bill with bands that bring people out and whose fans would be into your music.
You also have to make yourself available to their fans and convert them to followers of your project. When you book other artists on your shows, they are more than likely to return the favor.
3. BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Local music scenes converse on the internet as often as they do at shows. Make sure to follow other bands, venues, promoters and fans you meet at shows on Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook. Take part in the conversations going on around local music and shows.
Not only should you just follow them, ENGAGE with them. Make your presence known in a tasteful way. Moreover, keep in mind that there's nothing worse than an artist that doesn't support other artists. A good way to receive support is to give it. When a fellow artist releases a new project or video, it wouldn't hurt you to give a simple retweet, share and/or like.
2. WANT PRESS COVERAGE? START LOCAL
Local press is a great way to learn the ropes of a proper press campaign. Find out the people that are writing about music in your area and reach out to them casually. “Hey! I saw you wrote about this artist. I'm performing with him/her on Friday. I would love to have you come out to the show and hang out. Here's some of my music. Also, we have a couple of guest list spots so if you're coming let me know and I'll throw you on the list.”
Something like that should be enough to get their attention. Make friends with the writers at the show and hopefully they'll start posting about your music. Who knows, as they start growing in their career as a writer and start to contribute to bigger outlets maybe they'll be the ones to give you your first larger-scale write-ups.
1. EMBRACE YOUR TOWN/CITY
Maybe you're not from New York or Los Angeles or Nashville, but guess what…neither are the other people that will be coming to your local shows.
Be proud of where you're from and, in turn, you'll give potential fans a reason to do the same. Even if you are from a major market, take pride in that. Embrace the history of your ‘scene' and all that it has to offer. A lot of people that would come to your shows probably feel just as lucky as you do to play on the same stage where some of music's biggest moments got started.
Let them know how happy you are to be a part of it and you've created a perfect intro to that “bond” that will help convert them to true, long-term fans!
I hope these tips will be a great start to aid you in your musical journey! Stay true to your soon-to-be fans, but most importantly, to YOURSELF. Blessings!