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Your fans

Only 503 pages left on your journey to becoming a rock star!

I think my fans will follow me into our combined old age. Real musicians and real fans stay together for a long, long time.
– Bonnie Raitt

If you want to become successful, then it’s always a good idea to have some kind of a vision, and to develop some kind of a strategy to start with.

If you want to become a successful artist, then you’ll be something like an entrepreneur; and if you want to record your music, then it’s like creating a product.

Of course you want to be an artist first, but I think it’s much more interesting to become a wealthy artist than a poor one.

Earning money will allow you to do all the things you always wanted to do, and having no money will prevent you from doing all of that crazy artistic stuff you’ve been dreaming of.

You may hate to hear that, but money means freedom to a certain degree, at least as long as it’s not too much of it. Things can become quite awkward if you earn too much, but I don’t think that’s your problem at this point already.

Many recent artists have become quite wealthy by producing quite crappy music, but often those artists earned more money with live performances (selling over-priced concert tickets) and side projects (such as TV show appearances, modeling contracts, selling perfumes, or investing in businesses) than by selling records.

This has not always been the case, and in the distant past artists were able to make a whole lot of money by selling records alone. This is still possible today, but you have already learned that only those artists who make good music and who manage to sell a lot of albums (instead of selling singles) are able to make enough cash by selling records.

The good news is that in order to become successful, our strategy in this manual will be to create GREAT art, and thus to sell ALBUMS.

Selling a lot of albums will only be possible if you will be able to promote your record using at least one song that will make people go crazy. As said before, such a “hit song” or a “signature song” doesn’t have to be bad music, and it can even be great art. You’ll learn more about writing and producing such songs in chapters 5 and 6.

As an artist it will also be reassuring to hear that creating something greatly artistic and making money does not exclude each other. You will even learn that it’s quite the opposite: 

It may in fact be EASIER for you to earn money by delivering GOOD QUALITY.

If you want to create a successful product, then you will need to think about who your customers will be.

As a musician, your customers will be your fans, that’s the people who come to your live shows and the people who will (hopefully) be buying your records.

In order to become successful, you must know who your potential fans will be, and what will make them buy your records and come to your live shows. This does not mean that you should create art with fans and sales in mind, nevertheless you will have to understand some of the basics in order to succeed.

Friends and family

Let’s start with the very first fans you’ll ever have, and that’s your family and your friends. 

If you’re lucky, then your parents (at least your mom) will love your music, not matter how bad it is. The same may be the case for your partner in life, your siblings and cousins, and even for your close friends. Some of them will tell you that you’re great, even if they think otherwise. They’ll buy your album but will never listen to it, as they’ll do so just to make you a favour.

This is the typical amateur artist audience, with your grandma in the front row at the album release party.

Maybe that’s the point where you are now, but this not where the story should end.

Of course all of those people are important, they (hopefully) love and support you, and you will need them in future too. If you should ever become really successful, then finding real friends will become harder than ever before.

Even if you’re new and if you’re still an unknown artist, then you should be able to sell about 25-100 units of your first album to your family, to your friends, and to all of the people you know at work or at school. Selling those albums means that you’ll have anything from $250 to $1,000 in your pocket a few weeks after the album has been released, which is quite cool already. If you produce a physical CD instead of just releasing your songs online, then you will be able to pull your record out of your pocket in front of your friends, and they will be forced to buy it. Convince one of them, and all the others will feel embarrassed and buy one too, even if they don’t like your music at all.

If you’re lucky, then this sales strategy may cover the physical production costs of your album already.

Just a short but important note at this point:

Maybe you won’t get famous, maybe you won’t get rich.

But you should set yourself a goal, and the absolute minimum would be not to lose any money with your project.

Always make sure you make enough cash with your music to cover your production costs or even to pay for your equipment. Don’t forget that you’ll also be able to put any additional money in further marketing and promotion.

Nowadays your family and friends can also become marketing tools as they’ll be able to spread the word about you on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. This may even kick off your career if your record is really good. Tell everyone you know to spread the word about your live performances and your (upcoming) album on Facebook or Twitter. Provide them with links to your website and to your video(s), and provide them with photos and cover images they may post.

Friends and family are important, although this is only where it all begins.

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Chapter 2.4   •   Page 1 of 18

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