Artists – Lead Your Audience

The following is a from the Lefsetz blog about forming a tribe of fans and giving them what they want.  That is, if the artist wants a career and for it to be about the music.

The key is to do it differently, and lead.

Railing against P2P, complaining that your music is being stolen, putting FBI stickers on your CDs, none of this enhances your bond with your fans, none of it adds members to your tribe. Think about the tribe first! The label’s tribe is the stockholders, not the music listeners. Do not associate your interests with theirs.

If it doesn’t bring people closer, if it doesn’t satiate and inspire your fans, forget about it.

Example. Playing the “American Music Awards”. You think you’re reaching a whole new audience. But maybe your fans think you’re selling out. Don’t worry about the untold masses. If they’re interested in you, it will only be briefly. If you’re good, your fans will spread the word and convert those who might watch the AMAs who are interested.

Just because there’s a paycheck involved, that doesn’t excuse you. You must think how your fans will react.

You must lead the fans. You do this by constantly creating great music, and playing it live. These are the core precepts. Everything else is gravy. If people can’t get it by hearing your music, via a recording or live, then you’ve got to go back into development.

Start with a little. Blow on the flame to ignite the kindling. Then put progressively bigger logs on the fire. Once you’ve got a bonfire going, it won’t go out overnight.

This is not how it’s been done in the last twenty years. It’s been about getting a ton of logs, throwing gasoline on them and then lighting a match. But fire builders will tell you that oftentimes, this strategy doesn’t work. It’s much harder to get a log to burn than a twig. If a fire starts weak, it can be blown out. It costs a lot to construct a pile of giant logs, just to drag them into place. You’re locked into this plan, you usually only have one chance. Whereas if you start off small, you can see what develops and go where your audience leads you.

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