Note: This is a guest post by Justin Boland of music marketing blog Audible Hype, and first ran on that site on March 25, 2012. Def check it out, some of the best interviews on the net for DIY music marketing.
Justin Boland (aka Humpasaur Jones) is a wordsmith of very high caliber. Not just as a lyricist and performer (and in both cases he’s superb), but also as a writer in general. The man wraps his head around topics that make most artists cry in frustration, then spits them back in easily consumable snippets of call-it-like-I-see-it wisdom.
His blog Audible Hype is one of my favorite go-to places for DIY music marketing tips, interviews, and dope music. So I am very pleased that he’s letting me re-post this article.
Fan engagement has been on my mind a lot lately (how to get them, how to keep them, how to track them, etc.), and Justin has managed to sum up the difference between Fans and Listeners quite nicely. I’ll let him explain.
Read the article below and be sure to check out Audible Hype:
Clarity: Listeners vs. Fans
by Justin Boland
It’s deeply stupid of me to admit this in public, but I give a lot of feedback to artists I don’t know. I run several blogs and work at a non-label “record label,” so I’ve got several inboxes worth of new music waiting for me. Always. It’s happening right now.
I try to listen and give detailed feedback to at least five of them, every day I’ve got time online. I’ve developed an acute allergy to computers lately, but they’re an unfortunate necessity. So in 2012, I’ve probably given well over 50 strangers blunt feedback they were not expecting.
What have I noticed? First off, cats are getting better at not throwing tantrums. Only a few of them have called me a hater. Nearly all of them, on the other hand, have added me to their email lists and asked me to get involved as a fan. This is an important point, because I see the same mistake when people reach out to World Around Records and try to wow us with their stats, usually plays and views: that’s transitory bullshit, rather then metrics that reflect real fan engagement.
Being the being I be, I listen to new hip hop all the time. I’m a fan of probably 5% of it. This is not about me, though — because 1) it doesn’t annoy me at all when artists put me on their promo lists, and 2) what the fuck would it actually matter if it did?
This is about you, about independent artists trying to get their numbers up. The message is simple: stop trying to get your numbers up. That was already a dead scene in 2007. You need to work on your product. You can just buy numbers once you’ve got a project great enough to really catch on, go viral, get noticed…you know, whatever version of the fairy tale you’re clinging to these days.
If I’m just a listener, you don’t want me on your email list.
You’re going to have a lot more listeners than fans. Fans buy your shit, fans talk about you to their friends, fans send you emails about how dope you are. It’s easy to get frustrated but remember, this is a slow process unless you’ve got money to burn. “Friends” are not fans. Other artists are definitely not fans.
Be patient, be realistic, and stop dicking around online.