If you’re a recording artist, you need a strong fanbase, plain and simple. However, learning how to build a fanbase from scratch can feel intimidating. Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide of best practices so that you can get your music career up and running with patience, persistence, and the help of these salient strategies.
Below, we’ll share the importance of a strong fanbase foundation and detail exactly how you can start finding your audience.
The Power of A Strong Fanbase
In today’s age of music, solidifying a strong fanbase is more important than ever. In a saturated music market, it makes sense that labels aren’t just signing artists; they’re signing onto fanbases – essentially fan communities. That means regardless of whether you plan to stay independent or seek out a major deal, you need to learn how to cultivate your own audience.
As illustrated in the famed essay, “1000 true fans”, you don’t need to be a stadium artist to be a full-time creator. If you can build a tight-knit community that’s willing to pay for music, your merchandise, and experiences shelling out to more or less than $100 dollars a year, you can earn a cushy salary of $100K.
At Koji, we strive to create endless resources and mini-apps geared toward musician monetization. If you can tap into building a strong fanbase (not necessarily a large one), our tools will help you convert your creations into a sustainable career.
How To Build A Fanbase: 7 Essential Strategies
Ready to hit the ground running? Here are seven key strategies that will help you build your fanbase from scratch.
1. Make Music That Resonates
This is fairly obvious, but the stronger your music connects with a community, the more likely it is to attract a fanbase. While even the best songs need good marketing to reach their target audience, great music can stand out amongst a playlist and invite listeners to take a deep dive into who you are as an artist.
Art is subjective, but there is a clear difference between a demo and a polished piece of work. Make sure you’re taking the time to properly craft your album, EP, or single. If your music sounds, looks, and feels like it took time, effort, and energy to craft, it’s bound to resonate with some listeners during the promotional process.
Take time to listen to your favorite artists and analyze what draws you to who they are as an artist. Is it vulnerable lyrics? An amazing album concept? Eye-catching visuals? Use lessons from your focused listening sessions to help inform your own strategy as an artist.
2. Focus On Fan Funneling
One of the most important aspects of building your fanbase is building a community for your audience and taking ownership of your data. You can effectively do this by creating a customized link in bio that helps you to grow your fanbase and monetize your music.
Koji’s link in bio is free to use, provides helpful analytics along with pixel tracking functionality, and hosts plenty of mini apps to help musicians monetize their works at any stage in their career. You can customize this link to fit within your brand identity and keep all of your social media and press links in one place.
Your link in bio is the modern EPK. Put time into cultivating your unique brand into your supercharged link and make sure it’s consistently spread across all platforms so that you can expedite your growth as an artist.
3. Give and You Shall Receive
It can be tricky to earn organic interactions when you don’t have initial brand awareness to build from. To jumpstart your fanbase, become a fan yourself! Seek out other underground artists, and genuinely interact with their content. This isn’t just a great way to earn future collaborators, you might find that some artists are happy to reciprocate and engage in your music.
Don’t be afraid to connect one-on-one with potential fans. At the earliest stages if your career your most available commodity is your time. Like and DM fans of other artists, or fans who are posting about or reacting to other artist’s music on social media. You can even create a fan club account for yourself and use that account to reach out and connect with potential fans.
Also, engaging with content helps you refine your social media strategy and help you stay current with ever-changing apps like TikTok. And of course, make sure your link in bio is set up with mini apps like Gift Me or Love Jar so that fans have the option to support you if they’d like.
4. Be Big On Branding
The most compelling artists focus on much more than just the music. Try to think about what your music looks like, feels like, and emotes in listeners. Your experience for fans should be consistent whether they’re experiencing your Instagram or your latest single.
Try to build a profile of what your most dedicated fans are interested in. Which platform do you resonate the most with? What sorts of artists are you getting placed amongst in playlists? Use this information to target and cultivate a strong audience. By staying active on social media and engaging with your top supporters, you’ll start to understand what exactly draws people to your sound and artist brand.
From your merch to your music, everything should be thoughtfully curated to encapsulate you as an artist. Make sure your link in bio EPK stays up to date with where you are as an artist. You can start to use a specific greeting with fans or record your videos in the same space to give your audience a sense of familiarity.
Part of branding is making yourself visible. Stay consistent, upload often, and make sure you direct back to your brand with every piece of content. A simple call to action like, “Check out the link in bio to hear more!” can work wonders.
5. Digital And IRL Interactions Are Just As Important
While learning how to build your online presence is incredibly important, don’t forget that your digital actions should be balanced with your IRL ones. Schedule shows, head out to open mics, or even host your own meet and greet– just make sure you prioritize getting out in the community. You can keep your fans up to date by hosting your event feed in your link in bio with Event Calendar.
At the same time, you should be working to grow your digital sphere of influence. This means networking with other musicians, responding to fans comments and DM’s, and reaching out to curators or other content creators that may be able to integrate your music into their creations.
6. Be Consistent
Today’s music industry is built around algorithms: Algorithms that blow up musicians on TikTok, breakout an artist on Spotify, and put music videos on the recommended feed of users. Every social app has a different algorithm, but you know what they all have in common? A love of consistency.
It’s understandable that any platform falls for creators who take the time to bring consistent ears and eyeballs to their hosted content. This successful strategy isn’t necessarily easy, but it is simple: If you can consistently create, make music, and show up on social media, you’re sure to start building a fanbase.
7. Quantity Breeds Quality
So many musicians mistakenly put off getting started on social media or avoid releasing regularly on DSPs. While there isn’t a “one size fits all” approach to building a strong fanbase, note that creating a large quantity of content makes that easier.
Quality comes from quantity, so if you’re consistently putting your music and marketing chops to the test; you’ll soon create something audiences simply can’t ignore. Stay patient and persistent while fostering your fanbase.
Learning how to build a fanbase in the music industry is just the tip of the iceberg. The most important part is to put these strategies into practice! Enjoy building up your audience from the ground up.