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Suzanne Lainson

Great piece. And something many musicians and people in the music business still don't understand. Everyone talks about making great music. Yes, of course, that is important (although there are successful musicians who don't make great music). But fans or potential fans want more from you than that. They want a "relationship" with you. And unfortunately many musicians either can't or don't want to give the fans that. They didn't get into music to deal with fan relationships.



Brian Hazard

Great article Benji! There was a time when we artists could get away with being mysterious and distant, that doesn't work anymore.

Mike B

Whoa - this is awesome, and deceptively deep. I know I'll be reading this 5 or 6 more times and attempting to really internalize the essence here.

One comment, though. You say:

"What's going to get me to turn them off and listen to you?...It will first be your music and then your story and, perhaps most important of all, the way you tell me that story."

I'd argue that unlike the heyday of radio, when often my first exposure to a band was hearing their new single cold, with no contextual information, these days the way a band tells me their story is actually the first and most influential impression they make on me.

If Band X's story comes to me through my friends, and then their graphic design is pro and on point, their website doesn't have Flash, or hard-to-read text on a black background, and their blog posts/twitter feed/email communication is authentic and engaging - then I might actually listen to their music.

Once you've finished making killer, remarkable music, then I think you might be better off optimizing the rest of your strategy for spreading your story first, rather than the naked music itself. It's a subtle difference, but I think a real one.

That might be just me and my online friends, though. Are other people really sharing a lot of music back & forth on Facebook?

Alan Salus

Nice article. I have to say that artists/musicians have a very different landscape these days. Artist exposure to fans was limited to radio, print media, and touring in the past. The issue now is how you look at the new models. Is it harder, easier, or no different?

From a pure business model standpoint it is much easier now. Low costs, a wide range of tools and applications, and the potential to reach millions of fans who are engaged on social media sites.

I think there’s a ‘disconnect’ with a lot of artists these days. They seem to make the new model out to be much harder and less rewarding than it really is. Musicians are creative by nature and fan engagement is a creative process that should naturally be 'second nature' to an artist.

The product has to be good, but that is refined over hours of practice and live shows. Bands need to be able to play live shows, which fans find fun and enjoyable. Then the fan engagement can really start. PledgeMusic and fan funding sites are wonderful tools to help artists learn what works for their fans. The artist can then start to build a profitable and FUN career.

Music careers are not sustained by just putting out new material every year or playing a show here and there. Artists need to get away from looking at social media as the dreaded 'marketing job' but as part of the creative process. Careers should be fun and fulfilling. If you are doing it for any other reason, you are in the wrong line-of-work.



Excellent article, Benji! I'll be sharing this one with lots of indie artists I come in contact with through my http://www.indieheaven.com organization.
Keith Mohr

Charles Alexander

Hey Benji,

Great article. You kind of allude to something and make a point albeit obliquely.

That is - the discovery process and the way stories about new bands and acts are shared is primarily through word of mouth. Not just any kind of word of mouth, but the buzz from friends and sources we trust. That is where I think social media platforms like FB miss the point.

Voyeuristically watching your peeps click on Spotify links is not it. That IMHO is a lost opportunity. We still hear about all things we love primarily from people we love (or like or envy or trust).

BTW, data from our artists campaigns suggest that fans do a lot of buying from apps within FB. May not be representative - but true at least in our world.

As always great insight.


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