Guest post by Nick Carr of RazrMusic
I help run an acoustic music night at a local pub in every Wednesday night and I notice that attendances go up or down depending on a whole range of things. Who is playing, the weather and so on.
Lately though, I have been thinking about how people can evolve from someone who has no idea about a band to being a rabid 'fan' or 'groupie' of that same band. I would say that there is some sort of conversion process that takes place.
It seems to me that there are four types of people that can possibly comprise a listening audience (bearing in mind that I am talking about the local scene not a stadium show)
1. Converted fans
As mentioned before these are the rabid, one eyed supporters of your music. They come to every show, know all the words to your songs and would even buy a lock of the lead singers hair if given half the chance. It is safe to say that the more of these you have in your fan base the better.
I'm talking about friends, family, work colleagues, acquaintances, next door neighbours and anyone who is not a total stranger to you.
NB: When you first start off as an indie music artist it's always a great idea to make a list of everyone that you know and that you contact them to let them know of what you are doing and to make sure you have their permission to put their details on your fledgling opt-in email list.
If you are a four piece indie music band for example, then theoretically you then have four times as many people to contact and put onto your email list. If you do this before your first gig you have a better chance of getting a good crowd.
These are people that don't know you but are the type of people that go out and see any band because they just love live music.
4. The rest of the population
Basically the rest of us. The ones that are at the pub because it's their local hangout not because they want to hear you (or anyone else for that matter). The ones that are there for dinner or because they were driving past and fancied a drink.
These people are generally apathetic, don't care or can be offended if a band starts setting up and they didn't know about it beforehand (if you have already played a few gigs you will know what I mean)
I am coming to the conclusion that the way to have more converted fans is to have in your own mind the answer to the various questions that people in groups 2, 3 and 4 are going to ask in their own heads. Questions such as:
"What's in it for me?"
"Why should I listen to you?"
"What am I going to get out of this?"
"What is the benefit of me staying?"
I think you are getting my point.
If you are thinking that this is reading like a sales article rather than a music one well, you are right. We as indie music artists and bands are selling ourselves to the public. The public today is bombarded with more information and choice than ever before.
I hear musicians complaining all the time that they don't get people to their gigs and that venues wont take them seriously.
I believe that if you don't answer those questions listed above in your own minds in the way you present yourself, and the way you conduct your live shows with the promotion that surrounds it then why should people come to your shows or venues take you seriously?
I reckon the secret to getting more converted fans is to give them a reason to become converts.
Touch, move and inspire your audience. Give the people that are at your gigs (whether they want to be there or not) an experience they will not forget in a hurry.
Think about it, how you answer those questions is up to you, just have the willingness to search for the answers.