Mar 2, 2010

Putting my money where my mouth is: Why I partnered with an indie band for their next tour Part Two

Continued from Part One

The top four goals for a new music act while on the road touring:

  • Goal 1: Great performances of great music.
  • Goal 2: Find new fans or let them find the act.
  • Goal 3: Be sure your fans know they are now part of the tribe.
  • Goal 4: Give the fans a range of things to own that will reinforce their membership in the tribe.

I covered Goals 1 & 2 in the first post, let's take a look at 3 & 4:

Goal 3: Be sure your fans know they are part of the tribe.

1. any aggregate of people united by ties of a community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc.


1.a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc.

Call it "tribe", "cult", "family" whatever term suits you but the key idea here is that your fans are bound together by you, your music and their devotion to it.
I had a theology professor in college that used modern day cults as an analogy for the foundation of the world's popular religions. While he stretched a little to make the analogy fit the message was
Make people feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves but reinforce their individual value to the bigger cause.
What does that mean? Your fans will be way more loyal if you show that you value their fandom.
It is all about your fans.

This video with narration by Derek Sivers has been Tweeted and ReTweeted ad nauseum but if you haven't seen it yet, take a peek. It is of course the viral video that hit youtube last year of the lone geeky guy dancing on a hill at a concert who wins the hearts and minds of the other folks until the hill is overrun by fellow dancers. Sivers' is making a point about leadership by looking at why the followers follow. It is because they want to be included in something bigger than themselves. Always consider how to make your fans feel like they are a part of what you are doing and that you write and perform music for them.

Goal 4: Give the fans a range of things to own that will reinforce their membership in the tribe.

I learned about this while on the road with The Cult. (Talking about the band "The Cult" here, not trying to be confusing.)
I spent some time watching fans at the merch booth. The concert T-shirt is the typical totem worn by fans to identify that they are in "the tribe". At the end of the night not everyone has $40 to drop on a T-shirt or USB flash drive recording of the concert but they still want very badly to belong and display their identity as a tribe member. The Cult(the band) offered a $3 key chain with their logo on it. Watching fans scour the merch display for something, anything they could afford and then seeing their face light up over a keychain was a bit of a revelation for me. This was not a case of them deciding between a topshelf hoodie or DVD pack and low cost item. For some fans it is their only choice. Always, always, always give fans an option to be your fans. This includes low cost or free items that the fan will value greater than the seemingly low price.

Keeping these goals in mind when planning for a tour and actually hitting the road will take you a long way toward winning and keeping new fans. So who is the band we partnered with? Take a guess and Stay tuned.

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