18 Jan Why the “personal connection” matters
Me and my baby Natalia.
As an independent musician I’ve been slowly and steadily maintaining a base of supporters and fans of my music over the last 9 years. We, as an industry, have learned that it’s generally the “personal connection” that matters to most to fans, but I’ve never really understood why that is the case.
I always assumed that a hit song is defined by one that resonated with a ton of people – both in production and songwriting. But so many “hit songs” have inferior songwriting, in my opinion, that I figured my tastes were just too far off from mainstream to really ever resonate with a massive audience.
As a professional musician and independent artist, it’s hard to understand the elusive “fan connection” unless I can experience it firsthand. But the problem is that listening to music isn’t hobby for me anymore – it’s work. I can’t help it. When I listen to the styles/genres that resonate with me, I find myself analyzing the vocal quality, production, songwriting, etc. I don’t just listen for “fun”.
However, there is only one genre I both really enjoy AND that still feels somehow “magical and mysterious” to me – that’s electronic music, particularly house and trance. And it’s one that I started listening to – for fun – in 2003 before I was a professional musician (hell, I could barely even play the piano back then!). But in general, the “new” listening options in electronic music out there today are so vast and overwhelming that I don’t find myself discovering anything new, but most often just continuing to listen to my same old albums/playlists including D:Fuse, Oakenfold, Deep Dish, Sasha, Tiesto, Amran Van Buren, etc.
After listening to their songs, I found that I wanted to listen more and now I follow them both on Apple Music and Spotify (though Jorge uses the Spotify more than me).
For the first time I am following – and really listen to – a couple new artists, both of which are independents. And this is *not* just out of a desire to support my colleagues. I’m actually really just enjoying their music as sort of a “soundtrack” for my daily tasks, just like I used to do back in the day before I left DSP software engineering to become a full-time musician and audio engineer. THIS genre is one that I can just listen to and not find myself “working” by analyzing the music.
But if I create a “channel” on Apple Music based on these artists, I can find even more of a similar style. It will be endless, really. And maybe when I want to mix it up, I can do that. But the point is that I am ready to get more from these two artists because I feel a CONNECTION to them. I WANT to get their emails. I WANT to hear their latest release. I WANT to know what’s going on in their lives to whatever extent they are willing to share publicly.
THIS is the secret sauce. LET people connect with you. Your music provides a service that really enhances the lives of your fans. And although today there *is* more music out than ever before, because of the various social platforms and the internet at large, there are more ways than ever to *really* create a connection with your fans and foster *real* relationships. And it does NOT take as much time as you would think.
NOW I understand why my small-but-mighty fan base is so supportive. I can’t count how many gifts – both monetary and purchased – that we got when our baby was born back in June from people who I have NEVER met in person *or* I’ve only ever met once. But they are on my newsletter list and I try to keep in touch with them at least once a month with updates into my life and sharing new music. They love my music and they feel connected to me.
So, for the first time, I can experience what that feels like from the “fan” side. This is so huge to me – it’s going to change the way that I move forward interacting with my fans for the better, I know it.