How, And Why, You Should Build A Community For Your Music

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Share on Reddit
Share on email
Share by Email
Building a community for your music is an important step on the journey to building your brand. Here’s how, and why, you should do it.

Building a community for your music is an important step on the journey to building your brand. Here’s how, and why, you should do it.

As a musician in the 21st century you have an uphill journey ahead of you. It isn’t enough to put good music out in the world. You also have to get people to engage with it in a way that will turn them from casual listeners into fans and supporters. There are many cogs in the wheel that makes this happen, but one important step—and possibly an overlooked step—is building a community for your music. So, let’s have a look at why and how you should go about building a community.

Why is Community For Your Music Important?

In the digital world that we live and work in, actual human connection has become immensely valuable. Customers often choose brands based on how those brands align with their own values because, in essence, they see brands as an extension of themselves. They therefore choose those brands that they feel represent them in some way, and the purchase of particular brands signifies their approval for those brands. Because of this, building a community around brands has become important because it builds a rapport between the brand and its customers and encourages the belief in the customers that the brand best represents them. “The internet has created a more level playing field that allows people to easily and quickly research what’s out there. Having community allows your brand to break through the noise.

The lessons that can be learned from the experiences of consumer brands are particularly relevant to music. On a metaphysical level, music is one of the many ways that human beings seek to engage with each other, and the presence of a real and authentic human connection accentuates this. On a pragmatic level, the digital age has made the process of making and marketing music so easy that everyone can do it, which makes it that much more difficult to stand out. Building a community for your music, by adding the human element and actually connecting with listeners is one way to “break through the noise”. 

Music-related purchases constitute one of the most lifestyle-oriented choices that people make. Music isn’t like toilet paper; people don’t buy music because they require music. They buy music because it fulfils a more abstract purpose related to their identity and lifestyle. This is why identification with the b(r)and is important. People aren’t likely to consistently buy your music and come to your shows simply because they think the music is nice; they do it because they *identify* with it and with you in some way. 

The idea behind building a community, therefore, is not just get people to listen to your music, but to build a strong relationship with them in a way that will encourage them to support you in the long term.

How to Build a Community For Your Music

1. Support your local scene

Music scenes aren’t what they used to be in the days before the internet. Live music doesn’t seem to play the kind of social role that it once did and there may be a number of reasons for why that is: from ongoing gentrification that pushes live music venues out of business, to the proliferation of alternative forms of (often digital and cheaper) entertainment options, to maybe just an oversaturation of bands competing for limited attention and time. It’s likely that we will never again see the kind of vibrant local music scenes, like the ‘90s Seattle grunge scene or the ‘70s New York punk scene, that once sustained young musicians and bands before eventually propelling them to worldwide attention. 

In large part, these local communities have been replaced by online communities which we will get into in a moment. However, these local scenes aren’t completely dead and getting involved in them is still a vital part of building a community. Supporting other musicians means they will be more likely to return the favour and spread the word to their own audiences. Supporting venues means that they have a better chance of staying in business which gives you more places to play.

2. Create connections and stay engaged

It’s important to find ways to get engaged with your audience. The Patreon platform has provided artists and creators a way to directly interact with their supporters, but even if you aren’t quite at that level yet, you should look for every opportunity to interact with your fans. Website forums used to be a great way to do this and there are examples of artists who built their fanbases from scratch by interacting and connecting with other users on these forums.

One of the best ways to do this now is through a facebook group. It’s important to stay engaged with your audience because it gives them insight into your personality, and your personality is as important, if not more-so, to your brand than your actual music. People will support you if they like you as a person and if they find common ground in terms of beliefs and personality with you. So be open to sharing as much of yourself as you are comfortable with sharing, with your audience. It’s also important to be as responsive as you can be to messages since this furthers that human interpersonal connection. Don’t be a stranger to your own community.

Creating a forum like this is also a good way to connect your fans with each other. This allows them to help in the community-building process—community-building is a group project after all—and takes some of the onus off you. Encourage your fans to talk to each other and to engage in (civil) discussions, because that will keep the ball rolling even if you’re not around to constantly push it.

3. Give more than you take

One of the cardinal rules of networking is to give more than you take. Nothing turns people off faster than feeling like they’re being used. You might be building a community for your own b(r)and, but you also have to understand that the community is about more than you and that you need it more than it needs you. 

So, take a genuine interest in your audience. Don’t just pop in to ask them to listen to your newest single or to vote for you in a local radio station contest. Ask them questions, solicit questions from them. Create silly games and contests for them. Appreciate them for their support and activity in the community. Just be a genuine human being in a group of other genuine human beings.

4. Give them a name?

Some of the most vociferous and dedicated fandoms have funny and sometimes cool names that accentuate the team-like aspect of the community. Justin Bieber’s “Beliebers”; KISS’ “Army”; Taylor Swift’s “Swifties”; Slipknot’s “Maggots”; Insane Clown Posse’s “Juggalos”; and…you get the idea. Some of these fanbases have turned into veritable subcultures unto themselves, which should tell you something about the power of the communities that embrace musical artists and the benefits of building a community for your own music.

Suggested Reading: 3 Things To Consider For An Effective Music Release Strategy

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Share on Reddit
Share on email
Share by Email

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 2

You may also like

Leave a Comment