Building Your Fanbase As A Producer: 5 Actions To Take
As music producers, oftentimes the last thing we want to think about is how we can build a strong fanbase. I’ve heard it time and time again from just about every musician – “If my music is great, shouldn’t that be enough to earn fans on its own?”
While creating great music should undoubtedly be the basis of your community, it’s not enough to sustain a fanbase on its own. If you think of your favorite artists, I guarantee they spend time investing in their fans, allowing them to become an integral part of what their sound represents.
Cultivating a dedicated following is essential to your success, but it can be challenging to know where to start. We’ve rounded up 5 key ways you can start building your fanbase from square one. Let’s dive into it.
1. Switch on Social Media
Whether you like it or not, there’s no way around using social media for most producers. Showcasing your beats online might not come naturally, but it can be an efficient way to find new fans, connect with other artists, and establish yourself as an authority within the community.
If you’re not already, get yourself set up on all of the major social media platforms. Figure out a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it. Ideally, you’d have unique content for each platform but repurposing one high-quality piece of content for multiple spaces is okay, too.
At the very least, you should be on TikTok. This app has a stronghold over the music industry, demonstrating repeatedly its unique ability to break underground songs into the mainstream. Let’s also not forget the power of TikTok’s algorithm. It’s hard to say whether we would have known about the Tai Verdes and Lil Nas X’s of today without the power of the app.
TikTok is also a fantastic place for producers since you can repurpose songs, remix them, or sample them without having to worry about copyright claims within the app. It’s not just accepted, it’s encouraged – and it could be the way you start building your audience.
The best way to learn how to create an effective angle for your content is to be a content consumer yourself. Spend time on each social media platform and take notice of what’s performing well, and put your own spin on it. In today’s digital age, followers can certainly convert into fans if you give them a good reason to.
2. Instead of Focusing On Going Viral, Focus On Being Consistent
So many of us are waiting to be swept off our feet by a major record deal or a viral piece of content. What success stories like these fail to mention is how much consistent work went into the creative process before they blew up. Consistency isn’t just important for your fanbase, it’s an essential part of your development as a producer.
There are always ways to improve as a musician, and this should be reflected in what you’re putting out. One of the biggest misconceptions is that artists should just wait around for one of their best works to go viral. Remember, consistency breeds virality. They walk hand in hand.
If you’re always improving, taking feedback from your audience, and staying on top of your posting schedule, you’re bound to strike gold at some point or another. Going viral is like winning the lottery, so it’s up to you to buy as many tickets as possible to increase your odds.
3. Think Like A Fan
If you find yourself getting stuck, revert back to the mental exercise of thinking like a fan. Surely, as a musician, you have a couple of musical heroes who inspire you and make you feel connected to their music. Start to notice what these artists are doing to bring value to you and their community. Identify what you want more or less of from a fan’s perspective and apply that to your own content and creation strategy.
4. Quality Over Quantity
Have you ever heard about the concept of 1,000 true fans? This brilliant essay by Kevin Kelly outlines the path to success for just about any artist, and producers are no exception. Essentially, Kelly’s premise is that if you can cultivate just 1,000 true fans who are truly invested in your art, you can “make it.”
This is much more feasible and far less overwhelming for most artists to focus on, since trying to build a fanbase of millions of people entirely on your own can feel like a frivolous task. The key is to focus on the quality of your interactions and what value you’re bringing to your fans.
Are you interacting with your fans on a regular basis? Are you listening to their feedback? Better yet, are you finding ways to incorporate them into your beat making process? Keeping these points in mind while crafting your art and content (note that they can be separate entities) can make it much easier for you to build a dedicated following.
Not all of your fans are going to be willing to come to your shows, purchase merch, or crowdfund your album and that’s okay. Just make sure you’re paying special attention to the ones who do. These fans are the heart and soul of your music community, so treat them that way.
5. Cast Your Net
Cultivating your base audience should always come first. If you do it right, your true fans will bring in new recruits so to speak, since they’re so excited about what you’re bringing to the table. That being said, once you’ve started to find your home base, it’s a good idea to cast your net to get new ears in front of your music and potentially win over a few listeners. Here are a couple of ways you can focus on broadening your reach:
Playlist Pitching: Pitching to blogs and independent playlist curators can be a great way to network with others in the industry and earn some streams in the process. If a listener likes what they hear and see when they listen to your song on a playlist, they may be inclined to see what else you have to offer.
Collaborate with Creators: Collaborating with other producers is an excellent way to build your skillset and cross pollinate your respective audiences. Find people with similar sounds and reach out. Even if it’s not a full co-release, you can still collaborate over social media via an unofficial remix, shared content piece, livestream, etc.
Improve Your Craft and Give Back: Never stop improving for yourself but also for your audience. Your fans are the backbone of your music and they should feel that way. Try to think of ways you can include them, whether that’s holding a fun ticket or merch contest, or creating a music video utilizing their hand-drawn lyrics.
Building your fanbase isn’t something that happens overnight, but if you invest enough time in your core audience, it should become easier over time. Put in the work to build a community with your music, and your fans are sure to have your back. It’s not always easy or natural, but it’s worth it.
About the Writer
Kate Brunotts is an audio engineer and music producer from New York City. When she’s not writing about music, producing music, or singing and songwriting, Kate helps others realize their unique sound, whether through a fresh mix, new instrumental approach, or total rework of a particular sound.