Adding to your fanbase: Some tips for artists in South Africa

What’s good.

I’ve noticed a few trends that might help you build stronger fanbases. We all know that every artist and producer is built by and relies on their fanbase. It takes long periods of hard work to get a solid group of people together who like your work. I remember thinking how difficult it was going to be to get my work out there so that people could hear it. I felt that if enough people knew what I was about, I would be able to build a solid fanbase because I thought my music was good. I looked online for ways and started experimenting. 6 to 8 years down the line and I have the foundations in place to put work out and get large groups to take note. A fanbase exists and I appreciate every single person in it. Here are some points that I think will help you grow a solid fanbase.

people aren’t always going to give you a platform. You either have to earn your way to being put on by someone or make your own platform. My platform is my blog and my social media pages. Yours might be regular open night performances or literally your phone’s camera. Don’t get fancy. You aren’t going to get paid at the start.

no opportunity is too small when you’re starting off. I’ve been told by up and coming artists that they want to get paid for shows and that they deserve more than what they’re getting. I’ve been following a lot music producer stories on blapchat and the one thing that’s common about all the stories is that they worked every opportunity they could on the come up. If there was a meet up, they went. If someone wanted beats, they supplied. One guy even used to move around with a beat CD with 300 of his hottest beats. Networking effectively requires confidence in your work. You might only get this confidence after years of sleepless nights and loads of practice.

your fanbase won’t grow if the music is average. If you don’t have anything special to offer, go back to the drawing board. You don’t have to drop your single tomorrow. Make sure the work is on point before you put it out there. If you submit your work everywhere, you ask to get put on blogs and you try get downloads but you struggle, you need to go work harder. Your music might not be terrible. It might just be average.

network with everyone. Don’t talk to people only when it suits you. You’ll never ever get anything done this way. It’s easy to see you doing this and it makes you look selfish. A lot of the artists I talk to only hit me up when they need a favour or they have a question. Another thing I learnt from all those famous producers on BlapChat is that they kept their relationships warm. They would occasionally shoot a text or say what’s up to their contacts just to check in and make sure everything is okay. That little bit of extra care goes a really long way. Trust me.

make different types of content. Artists promote themselves in a select number of ways namely; song links, video links and pictures of themselves. Producers use videos of themselves playing back their beats These way are common and uncreative. If you’re an artist, take a video of yourself freestyling to something different like the game of thrones intro, walk down the street while taking a video of yourself explaining a funny moment in your career or start a blog. Do different things. Producers can break down the intricacies of their beats and make explanation videos or take a video of yourself doing something unrelated to music that inspires you. There are so many ideas. Some might flop but you might make that one price of content that goes viral like that “man’s not hot” freestyle by that British guy.

keep consistent. When you post, be consistent without being a nuisance. Let people into your life once a day or once every two days and people will get used to seeing you. If you stay off social media completely for 4 weeks you’ll see how difficult it is to command relevance with your posts. Don’t spam your links when people haven’t asked for them. Yes, I’m talking to you. People aren’t afraid to block and report you nowadays.

All in all it’s a fairly simple process with a few rules here and there yet it needs to be done daily to see the effects. I can’t guarantee a massive fanbase using these methods, but it will definitely be an engaged fanbase.

Have a productive week,

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