Tag Archives: Super Fan

Dance To The Tune Of Your Super Fans With Carlos Castillo

Carlos Castillo, aka Captain Schwilly

“I’m just a music super fan who likes to dress up in silly clothes and dance.”

That’s not only a great line from my good buddy, fellow musician coach, platform leader and hero, it’s who he is. It’s who Carlos Castillo is that makes him a dynamic leader in the music space.

There are a LOT of “experts” in our communities of musicians. Many people who come in with big claims and big promises all trying to get your attention and your dollars.

Sadly a lot of these folks are all talk. Not only do many not really know the stuff they talk about, they also don’t always have your best interests at heart. Fortunately for us, there are uncommon people like Carlos.

If this is your first introduction to Captain Schwilly (as several musicians and creative entrepreneurs know him as), then I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and follow his leadership not just in growing your community of fans but also in giving back to the community with your service.

Giving is the hallmark of success. Read any book by a credible source of success like Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Amanda Palmer, Oprah Winfrey, and the like and you’ll see a pattern of giving among those who have reached the levels of notoriety and prominence that we all dream of.

That’s the heart of Carlos Castillo too. I share that with him, as do all of the past guests on the DIY Artist Route Podcast. Double check what I just said. It’s the truth.

You know what makes a super fan? It’s someone who is genuine in what they say and do. Actually, people who become super fans fall in love with the person and the experience they have with them more than just the music or art or work itself. Anyone can make art. A good musician makes good music. But a great person? Those are harder to find.

It’s this line of thinking and operating that Carlos specializes in from experience. It’s also what he advocates for in his courses and his online communities like the Schwilly Family Musicians. I’m a member. Are you? If not, join up here.

By participating in the lives of the people you want to connect with, you become the leader that inspires and transforms. You gain not just an audience member. You gain someone whose passions align with your own. Their support transforms your career because it hits on a level that’s beyond just art. It’s personal.

Every guest I have on the DIY Artist Route Podcast teaches me something in our conversation. They’ve taught me a lot leading up to the podcast chat. One big thing Carlos continues to teach is that online relationships are very real. Music is just a starting point. Keep that in mind as you cultivate the connections with your audience, your marketing endeavors to media, your network, and your communities of fellow musicians.

I encourage you to follow Carlos via his online FB group and his Schwilly Family Musicians on Twitter. They’re both great resources for you to grow on a regular basis. His email list is pretty badass too.

And if you haven’t signed up for my email list, jump in with me by signing up in the right hand column. I share things with my Growth Farming tribe that no one else is privy to. It’s all about building real, powerful and supportive relationships so all of us grow together.

Music Entrepreneur & Super Fan Tom Giles Joins The DIY Artist Route

Tom Giles

Tom Giles

Networking seems like it’s becoming a bad word in the music and marketing world. I’m not sure how else to talk about relationship building through our existing friends and contacts. Networking just seems like the best word. That’s how I came to know Tom Giles (pronounced with a “J”), the serial musician, entrepreneur and music super fan whose business SoundBloc was recently acquired by Full Screen to further serve the needs of musicians and creative entrepreneurs in the direct-to-fan space.

Hosting the DIY Artist Route Podcast has been a real joy and privilege. This episode marks the 20th of the series. Each new person we learn from teaches some incredible and profound new things. It was past Router and friend Chandler Coyle who put me in Tom’s sphere, helping to set up this chat. But real relationship building and networking, as I’m discovering and living out, is about more than just an interview for a media post. We’ve talked at length about our respective projects before doing the podcast session, and will continue to do so. This is the power of “knowing you back.”

I was very impressed from the start with Tom’s pedigree in music and business. He’s built record labels and promotions companies while also being a musician. His mantra for audience growth is mirrored by Benji Rogers and Derek Webb, who both built similar platforms to help musicians do the same thing: connect directly with their most ardent tribe of fans.

This was also one of the first times for someone to be a guest on the podcast but treat it like a real conversation, turning questions back in my direction to get this side of the story. I appreciate that. It’s uncommon, and made me more connected from the outset.

Plus, there’s a chance that Tom Giles and JJ Watt played backyard football together at some point. Being a Houston Texans fan and having a little bit of a man-crush on Watt, that’s just cool. Chalk up another point for Mr. Giles.

Big takeaways for you in this podcast episode (download and share via iTunes, Spreaker, & Stitcher via the right hand margin) include:

  • How your brand defines everything you’re doing, and why you having full control over how your brand is marketed is very important
  • Insights into artist management and indie labels
  • The power of networking and relationship building to create new collaborations with industry professionals and how you can have those connections too
  • Why you should focus on building relationships to truly grow because it’s the most important thing, even if you don’t think you’re naturally good at relationships or marketing

Tons of good stuff to dive into here and learn from. You should have questions when you’re finished listening. I did. Reach out to me and let’s figure out how to solve your questions together.

Learn How To Get Radio Airplay The Right Way


In the video there’s a bit of role-playing through examples to illustrate the method explained here in this blog.

MusicansPlayInBar

Many artists reach out to me on how to get radio airplay. It’s a big subject that confuses DIY musicians because music submission to radio is so common, but getting accepted isn’t. I’ve set out to remedy this for musicians who are serious about growing their audience using one of the best methods: radio airplay on specific media platforms.

 

Over the past few months I’ve talked about Super-Fans, Audience Growth, and the particulars of what works for Successful Indie Artists.

Radio airplay is one of the methods of exploding your fan base, as well as your music income.

Start with how to NOT get radio airplay

Radio airplay and promotion continues to be a beneficial means of growing your music as an indie or unsigned artist. However, there is a way to get airplay that is more beneficial to you than how 99% of artists do it.

  • Submitting your songs to every station who accepts and plays indie music is not the way.
  • Sending DM messages to radio shows or stations on Twitter is not the way.
  • Emailing stations your mp3 song is not the way.

How to get radio airplay that actually works

One of the best ways to learn how to get radio airplay is by seeing examples that work.  Just like everyone else, I’ve made some big mistakes in reaching out to radio stations to get my platform picked up. The key though is recognizing what works and what doesn’t, and making a pivot on the stuff that isn’t producing the results you want.

Most of us are used to seeing blanket emails that were obviously sent to a ton of people, with no specific individual in mind to receive it. Think about group messages on Facebook or group texts. Even if the person reaching out is a good friend, those are kind of annoying, aren’t they? Treat the person you want to contact the way you want to be treated. Send them an individual note. Before that, have an experience with their station that you can talk about when you email or contact them. By doing this, you show that you’re a genuine person who wants to build community and add value to the station or radio program with your music.

This is the method that I used to get my indie radio show heard around the country and across the world. I first did all the wrong things to grow my radio show. I sent the blanket emails, to both people that I know and those I didn’t. I got the same response from both endeavors: silence. Those tactics didn’t work for me and rarely work for others. There’s a reason why so many artists feel scammed when they pay for radio promoters to pitch their music to stations that get zero airplay from the endeavor.

The real secret to getting radio airplay is a mindset change. Shift from music marketing to community building.”Or as Ghandi said, “Be the difference you want to see in the world.” It’s the Golden Rule. It’s what makes the connections that we all have to build (the real ones, not the mouse clicks that pretend to be connections). Treat those you want to feature you like you want to be treated. It’s the pivot we have to make to see real growth happen.

When I made the pivot, and changed my approach, I found that it actually works. The details and step-by-step process of what to do, how to do it, and why is chronicled in my book book The DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook. The Handbook can also be used in your endeavors to grow your audience online via social media and with gigging, as well as reaching out to other music and media mavens for networking.

Get a preview of the first 4 chapters of the DIY Musician’s Radio Handbook HERE.

Jay Coyle Preaches Super Fan Gospel For Musicians

Jay Coyle

Jay Coyle, Music Geek Services

So far on the DIY Artist Route Podcast we’ve connected with fellow Super Fan building advocates like Benji Rogers (Pledge Music), Michael Brandvold, and Chandler Coyle (Berklee Online & Music Geek Services). Recently I was blessed to get to chat with Chandler’s brother and Music Geek founder Jay Coyle on the gospel of super fans for musicians.

Jay Coyle has a storied past with music and music marketing. His approach to helping musicians market themselves is an outside-the-box perspective that made me instantly pay closer attention. It’s the way that I’ve gone about building my audience for The Appetizer Radio Show, and help musicians connect with their fans for years. And best of all, it’s really easy.

What does your fan base want most from you?
Think about that. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience to see what you can do for them to garner more of their support, AND how you can build stronger connections with them.

Jay Coyle thinks like a Super Fan

Chances are you’re a big fan of at least 1 band or musician. What lengths would you go to in order to see your favorite band live? What about adding their music to your record library, even if that’s digital? Let’s throw some merch in too, because most of us Super Fans have merchandise from our favorite artists. What is it that we most want from our favorite artists, and why are we so passionate about them?

It’s these keen insights into what makes the super fan army move in your direction that Jay is so great at. It’s how his company Music Geek Services has helped many small-to-medium sized bands thrive in a constantly growing music market with new artists emerging daily. More competition creates more noise and less room. No musician in this industry can get by on trying to be all things to all people and expect to win. Instead, focus on your core audience of super fans and make them your prize.

Jay Coyle is one more advocate for the essential piece to your audience growth-Super Fans. Take his insights, tips, and advice to heart and to action. What stood out the most to you in our conversation on this podcast? Comment here and let’s chat about it.

Subscribe to the podcast for past episodes (mentioned above) in the right margin.

Michael Brandvold On The DIY Artist Route Podcast

michael-brandvold

I was captivated by the title “Michael Brandvold shares 25 lessons he learned working with KISS.”

Reading his short Ebook (free on his website) and then hearing his Music Biz Weekly podcast, I was intrigued. “I have to have this guy on the DIY Artist Route Podcast,” I said to myself.

Here we are. Michael Brandvold was gracious to join me in a discussion on what makes successful fan building, and his insights into working with KISS are perfect for understanding the power of Super Fan Building. This is a consistent subject we talk about here on this blog, and today’s insights from Michael are spot on for how to identify your Super Fans and bring them into your music to benefit you the most.

Opening The Super Fan Gateway To Help You Grow

Recently on a blog from Sonicbids, I talked about how to put your online and offline work together to strengthen your audience and build more connections with your fan community. Michael adds more ideas to this, and the best part is they are all simple and inexpensive.

I love learning powerful things from people who simply challenge me to think a little bit differently. We definitely get that benefit in this podcast. Dive in, learn something new, and share it with 1 person you know who can benefit from it too.

Take Michael Brandvold Insights A Step Further For Your Own Music Growth

There are some big areas of audience building and fan community that are discussed in this podcast episode. What areas of your fan building and connection do these ideas resonate with OR are there things that you still are trying to figure out when it comes to growing your fan community?

Did you pick up on how the mainstream successful bands share 1 thing in common with DIY Musicians like you? It’s about seeing what you do for what it is. Reach out and comment here so we can look at them together.

 

Why We’re Already In The Zombie Apocalypse

Artist illustrates modern day life and it's terrifying Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

Artist Source: Steve Cutts / Via stevecutts.comenhanced-buzz-wide-30322-1440435962-9.jpg

You have a band and a fan base that is supportive of your music. Excellent. But you hear news and industry reports that music sales are down, that music streaming is rising and that more and more people are consuming music yet not buying it. We’re already living in the zombie apocalypse. The Walking Dead is a reality. Let me explain.

The Zombies Walk Among Us (And May Be Us)

If I’m not careful, I can waste a ton of time on Facebook. We all can. Youtube is even worse because video is more appealing than any visual medium. Yet many people aren’t aware of their habits towards media consumption, be that streaming music on Spotify, binge watching videos on youtube, or spending all day on Facebook looking at the endless stream of content. This is where the zombie invasion has influenced our behavior towards media and entertainment (music in particular).

Music streaming and media consumption is not inherently a bad thing. However, if your listening experience is driven by an automated program that plays song after song and you never emotionally engage with the music, the artist, the melody or the message. You then have the attitude of a zombie towards the medium itself. Nothing gels or connects that you can build on.

There are hordes of people who consume music all day long, but never engage with it emotionally. Consumption without engagement is the behavior of a zombie that we can see in TV shows like The Walking Dead, video games like Dead Rising, or movies like World War Z (which was a novel first).

Many music listeners are on the big streaming platforms. They have “favorite” bands and artists but own zero music in their library. Hell, they don’t even have a music library. They think that their Pandora Playlist or Spotify playlist constitutes a library. Sorry, that’s not the same thing.

When the mind is not engaged with what it’s doing, or what it’s consuming, you don’t create connections that last. The listening experience doesn’t lead to a search for more music from that artist. As soon as the song is finished, it’s on to the next song. Do you want an audience that isn’t engaged with you and your music experience?

Commercial radio has been programming music stations for decades with this mantra:

feed them the same thing over and over again, program the listeners to only be subjected to a handful of artists because we don’t want them to think or have an opinion that something better may be out there

This is one reason that the big record labels and the big radio stations are trying to get indie radio shut down right now. They want to program to zombies who aren’t paying attention and don’t have engaged minds. They want to control the listening-engagement experience so that they have all the power to determine what music gets consumed.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

In the hit TV show The Walking Dead, there are armies of the undead walking around looking to consume human flesh. They don’t care who the individual is, they just crave flesh. It’s just like people who consume music without thought or care. They will listen and move on to the next song or artist or video or whatever. They “like” you in the moment and when the song is over they’re on to something else.

Why The Walking Dead Is A Metaphor For Music Zombies

The Walking Dead is a show more about the people who are living than it is about the zombies, which is what has made it the #1 show on network television. The people in Rick’s group are another great analogy of the world we live in currently as DIY and indie musicians. Rick’s group is one of a number of humans living in groups across the country. Groups together are strong, and benefit everyone in the community when they decide to live in a community. Individuals out on their own against the hordes of zombies don’t fair well. Often they struggle just to live day to day, or end up victim to the walkers.

Each member of Rick’s group (or family) is a very talented and crafty individual, similar to how your Super Fans operate. Each of them have a particular skill set that adds greatly to you and what you’re doing. As Rick’s group keeps going, they carefully add members to their family and bring people in to help them survive against what awaits them on the outside. This is also the world we live in.

It’s too common and too difficult for us to try and reach the masses because the masses aren’t paying attention for more than 3 minutes. Masses are interested in instant gratification, not becoming an ardent follower and supporter. Those passionate music lovers are out there, sometimes as individuals and sometimes in small groups. When you find them, bring them into your world and give them something they really want: music worth experiencing and a connection with the artist who makes it.

Do these two simple things to survive in the music industry zombie apocalypse. Be on the look out for passionate individuals who not only consume music, but attend shows and buy albums. How can you find them?

They’re at the music venues you attend and perform at. They’re buying music from other bands and merch from tables. Attend other shows and start conversations with the people there on why they love the band you’re both watching, how long they’ve followed the band and how the music has impacted them. Make the connection with them so you can share your music with them and build a true community together.

Do you know who to Michonne or Darryl is in your fan base? They’re your Super Fans. Here’s how to find them.

Gain Super Fans With My Upcoming Book. Be The First To Get It Upon Release (coming very soon!!!)

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Essential Music Promotion Keys Guide

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 5.08.21 PM(This info graphic is much larger with links to pieces that help you. Download it below.)

For DIY musicians and unsigned bands, there are so many marketing and promotion pieces that seem essential to your growth.

Does it seem overwhelming?  The sheer volume (no pun intended) of things you’re told to keep up with as a musician is very overwhelming. You’re not alone if you feel like there’s too much stuff to keep up with.

 

 

How to make growth real and obtainable

Growth is a process, and there are pieces to it. How can you know which pieces are essential and what can be tabled for a later time? I have the answer for you.

The reality of audience growth is that your music connection occurs in two different places at the same time. There’s a balance (just like in all things) between your online presence and your live experience. One happens in real time and the other happens 24/7 with or without you being present.

Music promotion is far more than having a Facebook page, Twitter account and your music on Soundcloud. Ultimately it’s about connecting with real people in a powerful way that creates loyalty and support for your work. By using more than just an online presence you great new opportunities for growth that matters.

The basics of music promotion is like playing an instrument

Music promotion is similar to learning to play piano (follow the metaphor). Once you know the essential keys you can take next steps to putting them to work for you with the greatest opportunity for success. Your success and your use of these keys will defer from other artists, though you can find some similarities at the same time.

The key to growth is to Be Uncommon. The uncommon artist isn’t following bandwagons and doing what everyone else is doing. This is one of the biggest problems that artists encounter as you hear an industry expert say you have to do this or do that online or social media. Forget that. Focus on the keys. Once you learn the keys, you get to determine the sound of your music promotion. Your sound will be different from other artists. That’s what makes you unique, and that’s what draws your super fans in.

Get these keys and put them to use in your music. Want some more help or insights (and maybe a few uncommon ideas to help you)? Reach out to me and let’s talk.

Infographic-Music Promotion Keys For DIY Musicians (download here)

Benji Rogers, The DIY Artist Route & You

BenjiRogersBenji Rogers is one of the biggest movers and shakers in indie music today. The founder of Pledge Music, he’s a profound and outspoken advocate for Super Fans. You’ve heard me talk at length, including multiple webinars and past blog posts on the power of utilizing your super fan group of audience. Now, Benji will give you even more reason to key in and make your super fans the focus of your growth strategy.

Aside from the talk about super fans, which does dominate much of our conversation, Benji Rogers also shares a lot about how to do crowdfunding the right way using Pledge Music. Pledge Music was launched on the same day as Kickstarter, and there is a lot of good things Benji says about the crowdfunding platform. But the key difference is the way that Pledge Music engages with campaign creators (musicians and artists) and the support members who fund the campaigns. This key difference ties in perfectly with why your focus on your super fans should be first, and let everyone else follow suit on their own.

Takeaways just for you

Benji is a quote machine. Nearly the entire call was spent trying to keep up with the gold that was pouring from his mouth, which are applicable to both musicians and creative entrepreneurs who can see how to take these principles and apply them to their work.

Great quotes from our conversation include:
“Ultimately all music is free. But what isn’t free is the making-of. If you lift that lid just a bit, you get the magic.”

“Artists tend to forget that what they do is fascinating to people who can’t do it.”

“You allow fans access to that deeper level while it happens. What if you could get a VH1 Behind the Music while it’s happening? Artists can choose to give as much or as little away as possible. It’s really about a personal connection.”

“Each Super fan is your digital gold, they are the ones that value your business moving forward. That’s your tribe, that’s your community. They’re your weird ones and that’s what’s fun.”

“What I want Pledge to become is the largest Super fan community in the world, owned by the artists that bring their fans to the table, because ultimately we don’t own those fans. The artist does.”

“The #1 place artists fail is email lists. Pushing your fans to third party platforms for engagement is a mistake.”

“17% of all music fans categorize themselves as Super-Fans, but they also make up for over 60% of all the revenue in the music industry.”

It was great to connect with Benji and his statements are in perfect agreement with many of the things I’ve been talking about here on this blog for the past year and a half, especially concerning what real growth looks like and how to really boost your music and artistic endeavors by having the right focus. I also learned a lot from Benji in this conversation, and look forward to further engagements/interactions with him in the future.

If the player up top doesn’t work, give this a shot.

Episode 8: Benji Rogers by D Grant Smith on Mixcloud

The Power Of A Super Fan For Your Music

When you think of one of your Super Fan, who comes to mind? Are there attributes of this person that you can identify?

It’s important to recognize one very important characteristic to this person so that you can fully appreciate the impact they have on your music. It has everything to do with choice, selection and discerning through the myriad of options to choose one particular thing.

 

I like illustrating with pictures and images, so watch this video to see my point:

You may be thinking: “What does Superman have to do with what you’re talking about? You really think someone who simply enjoys my music to the point of being what you call a “super fan” is a super hero?”

When that enjoyment is more than just enjoyment but passionate following to the point of supporting your artistry it’s quite different than just being a fan of someone. A super fan doesn’t just enjoy your music. For them it has so much more meaning. Yes I do think a super fan is like a super hero, because the passion that they has for your art is really, really powerful stuff. Beyond that, it’s also not as common. Super fans are not your ordinary followers.

Benji Rogers, founder of Pledge Music, is a music Super-fan. He’s also a big proponent of Super Fans and the value they bring to artists who really want to do amazing things with their music. Pledge Music is built around the experience of direct-to-fan presentation of music by artists who are conscious of the real process of great art. As my DIY Artist Route & You podcast series continues later this week, Benji will be my guest for a deeper discussion on the value of Super-Fans and how you can build powerful projects with them.

There are countless bands and musicians out there, all making great art. Some musicians are  just creating noise. Your super fan base has very selective hearing, and has discerned through every other sound to find you and choose you.

movies-man-of-steel-henry-cavillCan you honestly tell me there’s not a powerful feeling that comes from knowing you’ve been chosen among other possibilities? What this feeling should do is allow you to be more appreciative of these very unique individuals and the love they have for your art.

Reward this passion and see it spread. You’ll find yourself among more super powered fans and followers than you imagined, and more success with your music.

Chandler Coyle, The DIY Artist Route And You

Chandler Coyle

Chandler Coyle

The DIY Artist Route has taken on a new life. This time, instead of talking with a musician I decided to get some perspective off the beaten path.

Chandler Coyle is a music industry expert. He has decades of experience in helping musicians in a variety of ways, from website building to marketing. He is a professor in music marketing at Berklee College Of Music Online, and works with his brother Jay at Music Geek Services. They have worked with, or are currently working with, bands such as Veruca Salt, Barenaked Ladies, Sloan, Said The Whale, Josh Rouse, The Odds, and Rhett Miller. And he has a weekly newsletter that consists of articles about the music industry, tips on how to grow your audience and a whole lot more, curated from across the web. It’s free to signup and I encourage you to do so here. I’m signed up and love getting great insights each week.

Our conversation dives into some waters that pertain to a variety of areas that you as a DIY, unsigned, or indie musician need to know. One is how you communicate effectively with your fan base. Do you have an email list set up? Chandler notes how that can make your music career, identifying an “unknown” artist with 200,000 emails on his list. There are very big name acts who don’t have that. Insights are in this podcast.

What about your connection to your Super-Fans? Did you know that Rush garners all of their work towards their Super-Fans? Seriously. Even though the band has been around forever and is known around the world, they still struggle with getting through the same volume of noise that you or I do. So instead of trying to compete with all the other bands, they just stick to their Super-Fans. Chandler shares insights into that as well.

How about online marketing, like Twitter? He and I shared some very similar perspectives and attitudes towards patterns we’re both seeing from musicians (and marketers) on Twitter that is a detriment to your growth. We’ll talk about that in the podcast.

Here are some great quotes to take away from this episode:

“Twitter should be treated like a conversation 75% of the time and not auto-pitch.”

“Artists can no longer assume anonymous masses of people consuming your music. We’re back to the patron model.”

“One fan at a time is how you do it.”

“An email list is an artist’s IRA. When given the choice, Derek Webb of Noisetrade will choose data over dollars. Dollars go away and you have to get more. But data on your fans is something you can invest in and grow and turn into a renewable resource overtime if you develop a relationship with your fans.”

“What artists do are fascinating to those who can’t. Even for musicians, when a band or musician shows you what they do it’s a peak into something you can’t see. Sell access behind the curtain to your Super-Fan.”

“Fans can be consumers but consumers aren’t always fans.”

Want more of the DIY Artist Route? Good, because it’s becoming a regular feature and could become a podcast series. If you want more of these audio pieces for you to take with you and learn how to take your music to the next level, let me know in the comments below.