Independent musicians, independent record companies, music marketers, promoters, and others in the music business all use the direct-to-fan business model. In addition, comedians, visual artists, and other entertainers seeking to develop and use a fan base throughout their careers are increasingly turning to the direct-to-fan model too.
The direct-to-fan model gives artists more control over how their music is distributed and how they reach their fans. It bypasses the major record label system and lets musicians create interest in their music, identify their fans, market directly to those fans, sell directly to them, and use these relationships to expand their fan base.
Direct-to-fan models encourage artists to engage directly with their fans and keep them engaged, by knowing who they are (who, what, when, where, why), building the artist's brand and developing the artist-to-fan relationship over time.
In 1997, the British rock band Marillion provided an first example ever of this technique in the music business by using the internet to connect with their fans to fund a North American tour, rather than signing to a record label. In 2008, Alexis Petridis referred to the group as "the indisputable pioneers" of this technique. Michael Lewis in his book Next: The Future Just Happened addressed it as well.
No matter what stage of your career you're at, core marketing principles apply to social media and building up your base. The best examples of social media campaigns are creative ideas that leverage the viral nature of social media to engage fans, and effect change in not only the digital world, but in a physical campaign as well.
Marketing and artist development campaigns are always different. The tools you use should be tailored to your band's strengths and the opportunities you see in the market. Even though these tools will change over time, it is important to remember that your goal is to engage as many fans as possible and develop a community that supports what you do.
It can be exciting to see how directly artists can reach their fans today — there is definitely a lot of growth potential for direct-to-fan campaigns. This is an area where artists, managers, and others (forward-thinking companies who give artists access to resources) need to put in some serious time and attention.
No longer matters how frequently you update your social media accounts, how much music you produce, or how well you broadcast live on Instagram or TikTok.
Your ability to build a community around yourself and interact with your super fans in a genuine and direct way will help you succeed and stand out from the competition.
The music industry changed, and although in the past musicians produced music and audiences consumed it, today both parties may work together and communicate, making collaboration on a variety of projects feasible like never before.
The music industry will play a major role in this transformation because the internet makes distances smaller, a fundamental idea that is starting to become obvious in all aspects of our daily lives.
Calypsoroom, a new platform that allows users to listen to music while being connected by webcam, is one of the ways that artists may interact with their audience. Yes, you got it right right; you can listen to music in a fresh, engaging manner while expressing yourself in a completely new way.
Why should you restrict yourself to listening to music when modern technologies allow you to experience it in greater depth? In Calypso, we've added a new active way of listening to music that enables you to listen to music simultaneously with another person while matching from the same song that both of you have picked.
The process is quite simple: after selecting a song you want to listen to, you try to connect with another person who also wants to hear that song. Once the invitation to join is accepted, the music begins to play simultaneously on both devices, letting the experience to start.
As an artist, try to imagine how grateful and pleased your amazing fans would be to meet you in person and listen to some of your songs together. Consider how potent your next release will be if you receive direct fan reaction and how Calypsoroom, where people will connect and socialise as a result of your music, may express a sense of community around YOUR music.
The internet is providing new and intriguing opportunities for artists to interact with their followers directly when it comes to promoting their work. Make an effort to connect with your audience, learn more about them, and solicit their assistance and advice. And keep in mind that, even though these activities demand persistence, faith, and time, hard efforts always pay off in the end.