An audience is always warming but it must never be necessary to your work.
– Gertrude Stein
. . .The music is nothing if the audience is deaf.
– Walter Lippmann
I chose these two quotes for a reason. They relate an internal conflict I have. I have experienced far too many musicians whose main impetus is narcissism. They desperately need others to pay attention to them. Their heart and mind are not in the right place, in my opinion. They make decisions based on sometimes temporary benefits and act without a long or even mid-term plan. In contrast I have focused my efforts on the development of my project concept and crafting music. Ultimately, however, without an audience (whatever form that may take) I’m just a guy in the woods with a guitar. If I fell a tree with my might and prowess on the guitar and nobody hears it, does it really matter? Developing an engaged and interested audience for The Sunrise Review is essential to the success of the other goals I outlined in my last post. It is key to the continued growth of the project. It’s also the area I have put the least amount of effort into and the one that may require the most effort.
The audience-performer relationship is an interesting one, even more so when it’s construed into a business scenario and that’s the goal of this year. So, what does that look like?
The Classic Patronage Model
A single individual supporting one or more artists. It is incredibly rare these days and I am not putting any effort into development in this area. Individuals just don’t have that kind of moolah laying around.
This is the new paradigm, lots of folks giving a little bit to support the artist. For a while having an audience also meant being in close physical proximity to them if only temporarily. That has also changed, thanks to the ol’ internet. As a result so has how you go about developing the relationship. There are a number of ways to engage fans and listeners as a musician using the world wide web. It’s actually a multi-billion dollar a year industry. There are so many methods that it can be somewhat mind-numbing to choose the best ones for a particular endeavor.
A Digital Game Plan
Here is my focus in 2013 for developing the audience for The Sunrise Review
- A Dedicated Website:
I had this already, and have spent the past few months updating, upgrading and generally improving it.(it took 3, really!) I’m pretty pleased with it and am equally glad that I am able to be in complete control of it. It’s the official source of info on The Sunrise Review. It’s got all the music, videos and photos in one spot as well as blog posts and project updates. An area that could improve is SEO. Right now if you search, solar power music or sunrise review, it takes a couple pages to get to this site. Something I aim to change.
- Newsletter Subscribers
This is my primary form of communication with my audience. So far I have about 750 folks who get the email. About 20% of them actually read it and significantly fewer click on the links. I would like to get the subscribers above 1,000 and more folks participating in the calls to action I include in them. One of the ways of enticing folks into joining is free music, so I have some tunes set aside for that purpose.
Are you signed up? I promise you won’t get spam. It’ll be just the opposite. Great music and interesting stories.
- Social Media
Like any responsible independent musician these days, I have social media accounts for The Sunrise Review.
I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t use these as much as I could. Partly due to my aversion to the narcissistic nature of them and partly because I’m not really sure what to do with them. I’ve made an effort to begin working on creating a “social media strategy” but it’s full of fits and starts in trying to remember to follow it along with the hours of research and web design I have been doing. Not to mention actually writing and rehearsing music, the point of it all.
This is the basic 1, 2, 3 plan for building the general awareness around The Sunrise Review in 2013. I have also identified some target demographic markets for the project: Americana and Arabian Music Enthusiasts, Outdoor Adventurers and Renewable Energy/Sustainability Advocates. I will be working on creating different materials for engaging each of them.