by Marvel Umoh
Community in the Music Business refers to a small fraction but potent group extracted from the fan-base of a creator/artiste, they are usually a commercial advantage to the creator’s career.
The concept of fandom and stan-culture is really popular in Pop Culture so well that we experience banters and heavy promotion everyday on our social spaces by fans – From being a Game of Throne fan, to a Gunner, to a Red Devil, a Titan or a Beehive to the most popular in Nigeria – Wizkid FC and the Obidient.
All these are people who for different reasons are following, endorsing and promoting someone they love, an idea or story they can relate to. Thus, a fan base is a group of supporters who are drawn together under an identity to support and promote a person, idea or story they love. However, a community is a group of people deliberately gathered by the creator, artiste or his/her team to support, promote, defend and buy the creator`s idea, story, product and actions.
Here is the difference – In a fan base situation, the fans orchestrate the gathering and
groupings but for the community, the artiste/creator or his or her team orchestrates the
gathering or groupings.
Why Is Community Building for Artistes Important?
- Humanize your brand.
- For Feedback.
- For Ambassadorial Benefits – Evangelism.
- For commercial sales reasons.
- Accountability sales.
As an Artiste, apart from the fact that you love what you do, you are making music so you can blow up and make enough money to bring your family out of the “trenches” or support them or people you care about; building a community puts your fans in front of you, brings them closer to you and makes them a primary motivation for doing music.
As a creator and as an artiste, they will be days you wake up to zero motivation and then you remember you have a community solidly supporting, defending and evangelizing for you. At that point, you begin to realize that your career is way bigger than you – it is now not about you but the people who love you, your art and are riding for you without being paid for it. In that case, they become your motivation.
HUMANIZING YOUR BRAND
From the early 2017, the wave of humanizing brands started building in conversations across different B2C type of businesses and it became really prominent in 2018 – a clear example is
‘’Uche From Bolt” and brands talking on their different communication channels on digital as the first person – replacing ‘’We” with ‘’I”, you often notice how brands reply with “I” instead of “We” on their digital platforms.
This reality became more conspicuous and popular at the invent of the COVID-19 pandemic which made humans more connected than usual. Just the idea of slowing down and watching out for your neighbors, family, friends, mates, coworkers amplified the essence of humanity and the conversation, thus; making humanizing brands through communities more popular, necessary and important.
t want to talk to machines and unknown people, they want to talk and relate with real humans – with people who can feel their pains, emotions and understand their story. Thus, communities make that possible. A quick example of humanizing your brand in-practice is Chris Browns recent Meet & Greet events of which his fan booked a spot with $1000 to have an up- close and personal time with their idol. Photographs of intimate and friendly poses from different fans broke the internet. Whether it was Chris Brown hugging a female fan passionately or it was him twinning with a male fan or doing the bestie post with a young fan or giving that mummy and son pose with an elderly fan, he gave them a real everyday human experience of his brand.
Fans always want to touch, shake, feel, hug and hear from their idol in a very personal capacity. Not every artiste must do these things the same way but it’s important to figure out the best ways to communicate their humanity with the fans and also communicate in a way that works for the brand and what they stand for.
Because the community is the closest to the artiste and the artistes
team, they always communicate their feedbacks to the artistes and the artiste uses this piece of information to make the brand experience better for the community, the fan-base, stakeholders and the public. In other cases, the artiste makes some decisions with the community and that pretty much makes them more involved in the life and career of the artiste. Example is an artiste asking the fans where to hold an exclusive concert and options will be discussed amongst the community. Eg, BEEKAYs 7th Crush EP listening date and venue was decided by members of his community. He asked them in his community group and they agreed on the date and venue.
THE AMBASSADORS – THE EVANGELIST
I know we have heard many times that one of the most effective forms of marketing is
“referrals’’ and “recommendations’’. In music business, this act is called “To put someone on to’’. For example, I can say “Sampson put-me-on to Omah Lay, now I’m a fan”. Well, this is how recommendations and referrals are described in the pop culture scene. That being said, your community are the first lovers of your work and people usually tell people about what they love they will defend and promote the artiste, story, idea or anything associated with the artiste.
Every creator or artiste need these kinds of people. This really was a major player in the emergence of the Alte movement in Nigeria from 2016 till date mostly because the sound isn’t mainstream, so recommendations will always be a necessary way to push the movement and its sound forward. And that is because the Alte community is a solid community.
The fastest way to sell your merchandise, music and tickets is by building and having a strong community. The community trusts you so well to purchase whatever you put out for sale no matter how little the product is. According to study, it is believed that it takes 1000 devoted community members to have a successful career in the music business.
The easiest example is AQ and how he sold his “Blessed” Album and also how he grew his community into constantly believing and purchasing whatever he puts out for sale. I will narrow it down in my next article.
The next example is Tyler Perry – he grew a strong buying community from email list and currently, he`s one of the wealthiest film makers in the globe.