Building Your Fan Base: Basics

I want to keep it basic today.

Here is the VERY first step in building your fan base.  Most people skip this step for no reason.

But, here is what you should be doing.

Network with people in your industry.


Ok ok, I’m not just going to leave it there.  Listen, a lot of times when we want to build our fan base, we think too much about going out there and soliciting fans to listen to the music, or check out the webpage, or download the ringtone.  This is all great, but why stop there?

By networking with people in your industry (DJs, Artists, Promoters, etc) you are putting yourself in the eye of their fanbase as well.  I’m not talking about taking over their fans, I’m talking about new avenues of promotion (i.e. putting on shows together).

For the record, I am assuming here that you are building genuine relationships with the people in these industries.  Don’t go up to another artist and ask him if he can let his/her fans know about you, that’s just disrespectful.

A.B.P. = Always Be Professional

Nobody likes their time wasted, especially someone who is trying to get their own business up and running.  Make sure that when you are networking with these people, you are letting them know Whats In It For Them.  For DJs, try to setup a mixtape deal, they host, you pay some manufacturing costs.  For other artists, set up a show together, for promoters help them promote a show or an event in exchange for a performance or an opening for a larger act.  There is always something you can offer and when networking, you should always offer up those skills.

The key in building your fan base is first networking with the people already in your industry.  If you support them they will support you.  Their fans will follow their endorsements.

If you have any questions regarding this, feel free to Email me (see contact page).  I may pull your question for a new post!



It will never be perfect…

My bio says that I started in the music industry when I was 9 years old and would carry my uncle’s equipment.  What about my step into entrepreneurial music business?

I started a record label. Our mission was successful.  Take a town with little to no publicized hip-hop scene and turn it into a town where artists could get shows, media was calling, and fans were purchasing.  We stopped the record label around the time I moved so that artists and everyone involved could go their separate ways, but, I want to prove something here.

What right did I have to play expert and start a record label? Record labels take vast knowledge of the industry and up until that point I just knew how to market an artist (very well I might add).  The truth? I didn’t know what I was doing 100% of the time, all I had was a dream and an obtainable goal in mind.

There is never a perfect time to go for something, if you spend your life waiting until you’ve learned enough, or you’ve planned enough, you will never get anywhere.  I made plenty of mistakes along the way, I put money into things I didn’t necessarily need and purchased glossy flyers when matte would’ve done just fine.  I’m glad I did these things though, I learned greatly from them.  Running my record label gave me the knowledge to pay attention to every detail, delegate, and all around get things done.

But that doesn’t matter.  The most important thing that it taught me was this:

If you have a dream and you don’t pursue it NOW, you can’t expect it to come.

Will certain things not work out? Yes, and you make adjustments and carry on.  You can’t find out what works if you don’t learn what does not first.

If you want to work with someone, why are you waiting?  You should contact them as soon as possible! But, make sure you are networking properly, don’t just ask them to do something for you… that’s bad business. Want to release an album?  Why aren’t you working on it?  As an artist you’re never below anyone or anything, so long as you take action.

Do something for yourself today so you can make it count tomorrow.


Thanksgiving reminds us that…

Every year, during Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of the importance of being humble.

If you’ve seen my article over at (Check it out here) you know my feelings on how being humble can increase an artists overall network, and the importance of being humble in this industry as a whole.

But why?

Continuing with the theme this week: It helps you relate to your fans on an individual level.  If you go around acting like you’re better than everyone, when the reality is your just fronting, the possibility of building a genuine fan base is going to greatly dwindle.

Though I don’t agree with the true historical context of Thanksgiving, I greatly appreciate the accepted overall message behind it. The message of reflection, of taking the time to acknowledge the things which you are thankful to have in your life.  A time where even the most egotistic people are humble.

Its important to remain humble.  I promise, if you remain humble in your socializing, you will receive greater praise for your accomplishments, and will no longer need to tell people to “get like you” rather they will tell you that they are trying to get to your level.  I prefer praise from outside my own psyche personally.

So with that being said, here is my official list.

50 Things I Am Thankful For:

  1. My Family
  2. My Friends
  3. My Team
  4. Having food of Thanksgiving
  5. My Network
  6. You
  7. Music
  8. Hip-Hop
  9. Culture
  10. Knowing my ancestry
  11. Being able to follow my dreams
  12. Having the ability to think on my own
  13. Being humble
  14. Having to work hard
  15. Belief in a higher-power
  16. Technology
  17. DJs
  18. Rappers
  19. Musicians
  20. Go-Getters
  21. Michigan
  22. The Midwest
  23. The negativity that keeps pushing me to be better
  24. Positive people
  25. Good health
  26. Having the opportunity to gain the experience I’ve gained in the music industry
  27. Education
  28. Moleskin notebooks
  29. Hoodies
  30. Sports
  31. My German Shepherd who keeps watch on my house
  32. Books
  33. Having the ability to travel
  34. Having been overseas
  35. Living in America…even though there are a lot of foul things that take place…its still a great country to live in.
  36. Having leadership skills
  37. Being a fairly good speaker
  38. Relaxation after working hard
  39. Big Brothers, Big Sisters & American Red Cross: Two organizations I volunteered for who truly care about the people they affect.
  40. Having shelter and clothing
  41. Koala Yummies (don’t ask, I’m old school)
  42. Lemonade stands as a kid, for teaching the foundations of business
  43. Teachers and Mentors
  44. Everyone who pushed me to do better
  45. The UP, eh?
  46. The ability to communicate instantly with people all over the world
  47. Sharing of ideas via mastermind groups
  48. Being able to give back
  49. Community
  50. Those people who strive to make the world better even when the odds are against them

Have a great and humble Thanksgiving!


How Are You Talking to Your Fanbase?

If you don’t have an E-mail list yet, stop reading this, go out and set up the service, then come back and read this.

As an artist, you NEED to have an E-mail list that your fans can sign-up for.  However, I see a problem with the way many artists are using their E-mail list. Nobody is building genuine connections with their list of people. Very few are trying to tell their story.

I’m not going to get into telling your story because everyone talks about having a story (an integral part of being an artist).  But I want to discuss getting that story to your fans.

The majority of the E-mails from lists I receive from artists have the following in common:

  • I never signed up for them
  • Every E-mail they are trying to hard sell me on something
  • There is no strategy behind when they are sent (sometimes I don’t get an Email for a month)
  • The subjects are typical
  • There is no creativity
  • No Reward

Let’s break these down a little.

I never signed up for the list:

I understand the need to reach as many people as possible, but you definitely should not just add people who’s Email’s you see.  When you do this, a lot of times, your message is going unnoticed entirely.  So, how would you go about adding people to your list if they are someone you met and they gave you their Email address?  Shoot them a personal Email along the lines of “Hey, we talked at ______.  I’d love it if you checked out my website, also when you sign up for my Email list you’ll get a free mixtape that we did”  I’ve gotten a few Emails like this, and while I didn’t sign up for every list, I signed up for a few of them.

Having genuine subscribers also boosts your credibility, I’d rather work with an  artist who has a loyal Email list of 500 than an artist who has a list of 1000 that deletes their Emails or moves them to spam.

Every Email Someone is Trying to Hard Sell Me:

If I begin receiving Emails and I notice a pattern of someone trying to sell me the same stuff everytime.  I’m going to get in the habit of deleting those Emails before I even receive them.  Soft selling is much better if your working the same products.  Try, at the bottom, something like “Oh, by the way, be sure to check out my latest CD here: URL”.

But what should you put for the body of your Email, then?  This is where you tell your stories, people/fans, love stories.  You can discuss the process behind writing one of your songs, something funny that happened while recording, you can take a video of a recording session and hit up your Email list telling them its been posted while giving a little background to the video.

Creating a personal touch to your Emails is SO important to creating fans that convert.  I guarantee the artist who connects with their fans will sell more than the artist who never gets personal.

Subjects Are Typical:

I receive a lot of Emails per day.  If the subject doesn’t catch my attention, I probably miss it. Especially with Artists lists! I can’t even tell you how many Emails I receive that say “NEW SONG CHECK IT OUT NOW!” Be creative with your Subjects, play off of your song name.  If your song name is something like “Never lasts forever” make your subject something like “I knew it wouldn’t last…” you’re going to get people curious to find out WHAT wouldn’t last. That’s your key to a creative subject line.  Getting the fans to be curious enough to open your Email.

No Strategy:

If you’re going to build an Email list, be consistent.  Consistency will ensure that you or your band’s name is fresh in your fanbases mind.  This doesn’t mean send a bunch of Emails a week, it just means find a formula and create a strategy around your Emails.  There is no need to go into anything blind.

No Creativity:

As with any music marketing, promotion, or networking campaign, you NEED to be creative with your approach.  The creative artists are the ones who are breaking molds and building loyal fans.  Why send a message to your fans if you aren’t going to be at least a little creative?

No Reward:

Why would I sign up for an Email list, just to be on an Email list?  Make sure you’re offering people free music, videos, etc.  I also like the approach of occasionally throwing free music exclusively to the Email list to keep giving them reasons (besides your personal, creative, strategic Emails 😉 ) to stay on your list and not click that “unsubscribe” button.


Musicians and Artists need to look at their fans as people, people who want value behind the things they are involved in.  Give them a reason that you’re different from the rest of the artists and musicians out there.