Bands: Bring your own Fans

Bands: Bring your own Fans


Cross posted on the 360 Digital Influence blog

Yesterday I ran into an old friend of mine who I hadn’t seen IRL (in real life) since 2005.  He had, however, recently reached out through social networks to ask me to become a fan of a band I had never heard of – Coventry Road.  The fortuitous in-person encounter allowed me to ask about the motivation for the “become a fan of” request.  He told me that the first question club owners now ask is not “where’s your demo” but “how many Facebook fans do you have”?  Far from the upstart organizing tool of 4-5 years ago, building a digital audience is now a requirement for a band starting out – not a nice to have or an advantage.  Questions this raises:

1) Where is your local music loyalty? Venue owners are passing the buck of responsibility of cultivating loyalty through to the “talent”.   Venues like the DC’s 9:30 Club or even the 100 seat Cactus Cafe (under threat of closing) on the

UT Austin campus have amassed thousands of fans and are successfully booking the types of bands that their community wants to hear.  I still remember the closing of the Flood Zone in Richmond 12 years ago like a death in the family.  Venue matters big time and owners have a chance to double dip on loyalty – attracting 2 sets of fans (Note – big announcement about the future of “fan” vs. “like”ing brands).

2) Is Facebook “Fans” a proxy for audience? I don’t really think its that relevant for local, IRL music.  If venue owners are trying to attract new venue loyalists by bringing in fans of bands that don’t currently patronize their venue, the question is not how many fans do you have, but how many live here?

3) Is there a better way? The opportunity to crowdsource your band lineup awaits.  What if the venue actually tested competing tracks with the venue’s loyal facebook fans?  Or asked them to suggest new bands to bring in or the bands they like enough to stray from their favorite venue?  Great opportunities that we’re just starting to see develop.

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