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Wednesday
Sep282011

The Right Mindframe for Acquiring Fans

I’ll keep this short and sweet. It’s a daunting task to “get people to like” your music after you’ve made it. And without the right mindframe, you’ll quit before you really start to make some great strides. 

In marketing, there’s this thing called critical mass. It’s the number of people that likes something that causes it to explode. If any “product” can attain that critical mass, it’s pretty much a sure thing that it’ll succeed and that its success can be sustained. 

So, when you’re creating new music, your goal is to get to that “critical mass” point. And to help you stay encouraged and to keep moving, I want to share with you what I’ve discovered to be the right mindframe when you’re going after fans.

The right mindframe is to “find fans” not to “make fans”. Let me explain. Every piece of new music made fits with a certain group of people…almost always. Every piece, from trash-can beats to big pop heat! The task isn’t to make people like what was made, but to find the people it was made for (that it fits with) and let them know about it. The people that it fits with WILL like it. The people that it doesn’t fit with WILL NOT like it, no matter how hard you might try to convince them. Of course, when the voice of those it fits with gets louder regarding your music, others will pay attention (and they’ll become fans if there’s something in them that jives with what you made). 

Why is this the right mindframe? Because understanding this and thinking this way helps you weather the rejections that will ultimately come as you weed out those whom the music you make doesn’t fit with. Don’t waste your time trying to convince people that wont like your music anyway. Put your time into finding the people that your music fits with. Your fans are out there!  You just have to find them…and you will, if you stick with it and stay focused. 

—-

Minh is an artist, producer, and entrepreneur based in the DC area. His official website is www.reachminh.com

Reader Comments (21)

Wise words Minh. Very insightful. Thanks for sharing.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterDave Mac

Wow. Thoughtful, no nonsense advice. Quite rare. Ideas we need to keep in mind.

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterTim Young

THIS IS RIGHT ON TIME! I woke up thinking this exact concept this morning!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterR.Y.A.N.

True. This is a good antidote to "Wish your twitter followers a happy birthday!" "Sell keychains with your logo on them!" etc.

People will like you or they wont. The goal is to be compelling, and then reach the people who love that music. No amount of tweeting will get a mediocre artist to succeed to people who think the music is "meh".

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterFreddy

I couldn't agree more. This is exactly what we are building @ MusicHype. We think it is much better to "earn" 5 GOOD fans, instead of 50 non-engaged fans.

Excellent post!

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterKevin King

Incredible, I´m from Brasil, and I´m signing in for a tour contest in America. your post made decide to do it now...thanks! see you soon I hope!
remember our name...Cloud Sheep =)

September 28 | Unregistered CommenterCloud Sheep

So true Minh. Great post!

My book, The Fan Formula, helps musicians identify what's unique about them, who their own unique set of fans are and where to find them. As you say - the people that your music fits WILL like it.

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterEliza

Absolutly right! Thanx for reminding that way of thinking!

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterBuzztune

Thar's true. You have to find your audience, to build your audience. It won't just come to you. Thanks for your wonderful article, Minh!

Sakis Gouzonis
www.SakisGouzonis.com

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterSakis Gouzonis

Thanks Minh, this is so right. And this is the way of no resistance. Trying to convince people of something they don't really like needs exponentially more effort to spend...

September 29 | Unregistered CommenterTom

This is not just good advice in the world of music. This is good advice in the world of sales in general. One of the people who I learned with used to say "Some will, some won't, so what? Next!" It's the right attitude to keep you sane.

September 30 | Unregistered Commenternick

sooner or later, the people that were meant to listen and appreciate your music will find you, trust me. Yeah, right. Anyways, it would have been nice to delve a bit deeper into how you can reach to those potential fans. Any music marketing book will tell you that you need to find your audience, but how you do it, that's another matter. Especially when you don't tour. On social networks? Your audience is probably neither on facebook, nor twitter and don't get fooled by how many "friends" you have as they are just in the same boat as you, looking for listeners. I hope you're gonna dig deeper into this, my friend.

This is a great, great article.

An artist can literally kill himself trying to get people to like him/her and their art, that don't like their art.

Definitely SKIP all that square peg into the round hole type stuff. It will save you time AND sanity.

Find YOUR people. And that is VERY likely not to be the people closest to you.

If you are an artist, make YOUR art.

Art and music make people feel better. It's their soul-food.
It makes life worth living and energizes to do more and accomplish more.

And people NEED it.

Skip the ones who don't like your food.

Find the ones who do and feed them.

September 30 | Unregistered CommenterJon Magnificent

@UgoCapeto

There are a million and one ways to find your fans. But it does start with defining them. I'd Google "defining your target audience" and start researching. You have to understand their lifestyle (down to the tiniest details if possible) and figure out ways to get in front of them in as many ways as possible. I'm willing to bet that, most likely, your fans are a bit like you. I know mine are.

My aim was to make only one simple point and drive it home.

September 30 | Registered CommenterMinh D. Chau

This is more subjective happy talk. People need to connect to you physically. They need to see you perform and love you not like you. It's been 15 years and people still won't accept the fact the people are online for themselves no other reason in the universe. When they are not at their computer they have nothing to do. That's where live performance comes in. They need to love you. They need to not be able to get you our of their mind. It's a love affair. This is nothing new under the sun. I wish artists and people in the business would stop all the happy talk. Enough already.

September 30 | Unregistered CommenterJimmy

Again Minh I agree 100%, this is the key - "defining your target audience". Once you have defined who they are it's easier to find them.

Ugo Capeto says "sooner or later the people that were meant to listen and appreciate your music will find you". That's OK but it will take a long time using that strategy. The more savvy thing to do is to proactively find them based on how you've defined them. Not only is that a faster way of growing your fan base, it also feels better.

Ugo Capeto - you've got a great 'hook line' - "melodic electronica" - so you've already started the process of defining who your fans are.

For a step-by-step guide to difining your target audience follow The Fan Formula.

www.thefanformula.com

@Jimmy

I see where you're coming from just breezing through what I wrote. But this piece isn't about positive thinking. It's about a very basic marketing principle. It's Business 101. Rather, Marketing 101. Marketers almost never try to make someone like something. They almost always work to find the ones most likely to like something and implement ways to get that something in front of them. If you think that this is "happy talk"...you missed the point by a mile.

Also, nowhere in the article did it say, "Sit back and do nothing." And yes, going out there to do live performance is necessary. It's part of finding your fans. But, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble if you know where your fans actually go to hear music. Case in point: A rapper in an acoustic open mic is pretty much stupid. A rapper in a freestyle battle competition? That makes sense. That's finding your fans.

@UgoCapeto...and if you don't tour and you make electronic music...the way you get to your audience is through DJs. You need to get your music into the hands of as many DJs as possible.

October 1 | Registered CommenterMinh D. Chau

Minh has nailed the definition of marketing:

Marketing = creating a 'product' (in all senses of that word) that some people want.
Sales = selling the product you have.

Given that 'art' (read: music) is something that is created from the soul for most artists (and therefore, difficult to "manufacture"), a better use of resources is often to find the market for the art rather than selling your art to passers by.

After all, there are billions of people in the world, yet you only come in natural direct contact with a few of them. The internet has brought down the cost of finding a market such that it is often more efficient than trying to 'sell' your product to the folks who pass by (with current fans excluded, obviously).

The point about playing live in front of an audience is a good one, but we observe that it tends to pay off more to use the internet to find that audience and then tap into it (by playing live for them) rather than to try to convert a audience of non-believers (again, there are exceptions to this rule as with everything).

Thanks for calling attention to this, Minh. A very good and succinct post.

-Jed
COO, ReverbNation.com

October 4 | Registered CommenterJed Carlson

The second step in any marketing campaign is finding your audience. That's a given. Nothing new about that. But How To Find Your Audience, that's something worth reading about. And what this article lacks.

October 4 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

In response to Matt - to find your audience, figure out what's unique about your act and that will give you the key to where to find your fans. Then, as Jed says, you'll end up with a more targeted audience who already like what you’re doing instead of you having to covert them.

For a step-by-step guide to finding your audience follow The Fan Formula – how to attract and keep a large loyal fan base.www.thefanformula.com/the-book/

The book is not a one-size-fits-all answer to growing your fan base since your audience is not the same as the next band's - one of the key points Minh is making. There are worksheets included so you can figure out all of this stuff yourself for your own unique situation.

Eliza Michaels
Author & music career success coach

So true...

If people don't like it, don't be disheartened. Find the ones who do and that will mean more than trying to push your music down people's throats. Genuine fans are more likely to stick by you too :-)

xx

www.angelaparkermusic.com

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