Tom Petty sang “Love Is A Long Road” and it should be the aim for every artist. There should be a need to foster the love of the audience into a sustainable career. But it takes time. In the words of Bon Scott, it’s a “Long Way To The Top”. You’ll get ripped off and on some occasions you’ll get paid. You will have highs and you will have lows. Relationships will break down, friends will leave you and your fans will fall in and out of love with you.
But no one wants to take the time to build the love. There is a general viewpoint that artists believe if they record an album and it gets released, they are entitled to some form of payment. It doesn’t work that way. It’s never worked that way. It’s the audience who decides who gets paid. I am sure the majority of artists understand it.
Relationships are hard. Anybody who tells you they’re easy is lying or has a bad one. And for any artist these days, it is all about relationships. If you want an audience to invest, you need to establish a relationship. You need to make the effort. The days of touring a city based on the sales figures of recorded music in that city/state are long gone. In vogue is data.
How many people are listening to your music in the city?
How many people are downloading your music in the city?
Ask Dream Theater, Metallica, Rush or Iron Maiden how many albums they have sold in Central and South America?
Then ask them how many people came to their shows in those countries. Mike Portnoy stated in the linear notes on the released bootleg recording of Dream Theater’s Santiago, Chile show from June 2005 that they didn’t know what to expect from South America as they haven’t sold many records there. They even went to the show with a cut down stage set to save money and proceeded to play to their biggest live audience.
All the technology companies have a simple method. Get people’s attention first and the money will come later. It’s not any different for musicians. Instead of breaking down what streaming companies pay per listen, focus on what people are listening to. Because everybody like me wants to find the good stuff, the kind of good stuff we can talk to others about.
Think about the times we live in. This news story has been in my inbox for a while, and it fits perfectly with what I am trying to say above.
Ryan Adams has 695,000 Follower on twitter and he posted a few tweets about “Christopher the Conquered” and how his album “I’m Giving Up on Rock N’ Roll” is blowing his mind. So how did Christopher The Conquered life change from this free promotion to 695,000 followers of another artists.
• Website Page Views – 2489 views
• YouTube Videos: 1653 new views
• Sound Cloud: Single from album – 572 Plays
• Facebook: 82 new likes
• Instagram: 40 new followers
• Twitter: 31 new followers
• Spotify: 28 new followers
• Email Newsletter: 12 sign ups
• Internet Sales (Not including iTunes, Spotify, etc. – that takes a while to get those numbers): $86
So going back to my message, “Get people’s attention first and the money will come later”.
The numbers above show me that Ryan Adam’s doesn’t really have 695,000 followers who are invested in what he does and in what he says. The numbers show me that Ryan Adams fan to artist relationship is more like 1 to 5% of that number.
This also applies to metal and rock twitter users.
Dave Coverdale has 180,600 followers but only 5% of that 180,600 number are interested in what he has to say or in what he does. Others might check out his tweets, but only a few engage.
Papa Roach has 566,000 followers but again, if you look at their account and the people engaging with them, the numbers are so much smaller.
Dave Mustaine recently posted a tweet so he can get to 1 million followers (at the moment he has 867,500 followers) but like all of the other Twitter users only a small percentage are engaging with him. However, in saying that, Dave’s entry into wine and beer making has given him a stronger following and there is more fan engagement because of it. In other words, fans of Dave Mustaine are engaging with him over music, beer and wine.
Persistence and perseverance are the key to life. If you give up when it gets hard, you will accomplish little and you’ll get nowhere. And you need to keep working on getting people’s attention every single time.