Dotted Music Blog

Loren Weisman On Learning Music Business And Engaging Fans

Loren Weisman is a music business consultant, speaker and the author of the popular music industry book, the full title of which reads (and describes the essence of it well): “The Artists Guide to Success in the Music Business: The ‘Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of the Steps That Musicians & Bands Have to Take to Succeed in Music”.
Loren, who’s been in the industry for over twenty years, currently writes the official “Music Business For Dummies” book, which will be out in the Summer.
In this Music Growth Talks podcast, we talked to Loren Weisman about ways to engage your fans, why connections and likes don’t equal conversions or sales, various income streams for musicians, reasons you may not be getting any funding and why you should never say things like “Thanks for 1,000 Likes on Facebook” (with tips on what you better do instead).

Listen to the episode below:

Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, or by searching “Music Growth Talks” in your favorite podcast app.

Some of the topics covered in the podcast episode:

  • Individualise information from music business books instead of blindly following the models that don’t necessarily relate to you.
  • Challenges of marketing a music business book.
  • On constantly delivering engaging content to your fans.
  • Why exactly buying followers and likes is the worst thing you can do.
  • Ways to highlight your top fans online.
  • What has changed since the release of the second edition of the book in 2013.
  • What the “Dummies” book will be about.
  • “If you don’t get funding, most probably you are not organised enough.”
  • A sales plan (don’t offer everything at once).

A few notable passages from the episode

Engage Your Fans Authentically

First off, as an artist you know there are a million other people out there that want the same thing as you. There are a million other people that want you to come to a show, buy a shirt, buy an album. The first step you should take is to say, “Okay, what am I saying and how can I change it? Does it sound like everybody else?” Those are good places to start.
The second step is, even if it's coming from the best intentions, don't brag. One of my favorite lines is: “Thanks to our thousandth follower.” If you say thank you to your thousandth follower on Facebook, it almost disrespects the 999 followers that came before. The message it sends out is that you’re only concentrating on the larger number. I'd rather see somebody saying: “We've seen John Smith has been following us for the last 9 months. His comments are really funny, he owns a car repair shop in Bristol. If you're anywhere near him, the band would love for you to get your car fixed at Bristol.” That's funny engagement. And even if it doesn't necessarily relate to the bulk of your fans that might not be in Bristol, it's still engaging.
Another example is if you’re going to Nashville for instance, instead of saying “I'm playing at the Bluebird,” or “Here I am in front of this country music hall,” go with “I really love the coffee at this location.” Or, if I was in London, instead of talking about some of the biggest places there, I'd talk about the Pink Room where the books are pink and the couches are pink, and mention that tea room next to that chocolate place I haven't been to in years. It’s all engagement that people can vicariously relate to even if they're not into music.
I put up a post once on Instagram of my cat suckling on his bed. It's really weird but I post it up with the hashtag “musicbusinesscat”. I added a joke saying how he's really just all in on his bed, and ended with: “This is what I do, this is a consulting that I do”. And I added an even closer joke saying, “I promise I won't suckle on your bed if you hire me.” The idea is that it’s different than these musicians just saying “buy me, like me.”
Furthermore, make sure that if you're asking a fan for something you're offering them something in return. If I connect with you on Twitter and the first thing I get is an automated message saying “Thanks for the follow, now like me on Facebook” – that is a turn off psychologically. I just took a chance on you, and yet you want me to do more for you. Instead say, “Thank you for liking, here's a free download, hoping you enjoy the post.” Something a little bit more personalized that brings the fan in and makes the fan feel special versus just trying to grow numbers. It will help music engagement, and it will help people become more engaged with you. The more they can be engaged with the things outside of your music, like your persona, the more they can look you in the eye and the more they're going to want to be engaged. This in turn will make them want to tell other people about you and also get them more excited about you. From that point, it doesn’t matter if you don’t show up on their feed because they will go look for you.

Andrew Apanov is the founder of the Dotted Music digital marketing agency, and host of the Music Growth Talks podcast.
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