Get 1,000 True Fans for The Best Music Career

1,000 True Fans Could Change Your Life & Music Career – The Kevin Kelly Theory

Super Fan

True Fans Will Buy Everything You Make

A lot of artists, musicians, painters, designers, creators, etc. are twiddling their thumbs waiting for stardom. But you don’t need to be the most famous. You don’t need to have a million followers. 1,000 True fans alone can change your life & your music career.

One thousand true fans are better than ten thousand regular fans. A true fan is the fanatic that comes to your every show. They don’t just show their friends your work in a repost. Super Fans bring their friends to your show. They help you set up and break down. These fans want to buy everything you make. They’ll drive more than an hour to see you live. The true fan is deeply invested in everything you do. Your art gives them something that they truly connect to. The connection creates value that they will pay for, whatever it is. Again and again, your true fan will spend 5x the amount regular fans do.

Turn 1k Fans into $100k

Imagine if you had 1,000 true fans. You can create and sell them up to $100 of value every year. Your art will earn you $100,000 every year. This goal is actually as simple as selling merch at a showcase like a t-shirt, pin, hat, Tiny Tape music player, a custom lighter, & some stickers. Let’s do the math.

Showcase Ticket $20
T-Shirt $20
Enamel Pin $10
Hat $20
Tiny Tape Music Player $20
Custom Lighters $2
Stickers $2

You could split up your fans between 1 showcase every 2 months. Fill the venue with about 170 people at each show in different cities. This doesn’t even account for the money you’ll make from friends your fans bring to your event. Then there'll be extra bucks from and food and drinks too.  With just 1,000 true fans spending up to or more than $100,000 a year, all your bills will be covered more than twice over. You could surely make a living off art.


Foster Direct Relationships

Relationship Marketing in Your Network

The trick is, you want to have  a direct relationship with your fans. Stay connected. This could be through social media, but should also include E-Mail and even phone numbers. Social media platforms fade after a while but people often keep the same Email or phone number forever. With direct contact, you can give your fans routine updates. They need to know when you are about to release new music, art, a film, etc.

Furthermore, they can pay you directly, rather than pay you through a publisher, retailer or record label. Distributors like this will only give you a small percentage of profit from your art that you worked so hard on. On top of that, the publishers and music labels don’t go out of their way to share fan / customer contacts with you. So if you leave whatever deal you have with said label, you may lose a good amount of access to the fans you built. Thus, direct relationships result in better fan retention and support.

One thousand music fans or customers is a lot more likely to accomplish than a million. Especially when you’re first starting out. A million is possible, it just comes with so many more challenges and it requires a very large budget. Most of your favorite, popular musicians have a record label to spend 100k – 300k on promoting them in just the first year of a career. This money pays for stylists, blog articles, playlist placements, PR, management, song artist features and more. But if you can build one thousand true / super fans on your own, then they will be your core base of promoters to go out and tell everyone how awesome you are.

Super Fans Are Your Marketing Team


Marketing Evangelist

Your super fans are your hype men & evangelists. They tell everybody about you & make you look important. They will be who you use as proof to record labels that you are worth an investment. A strong fan base is leverage to demand a better & fair record deal that won’t put you in debt. Even if you want to remain indie, imagine how much your social media would blow up if you had one thousand genuine comments from super fans every time you posted a new project or song. A lot of people have thousands of followers, but many are ghost followers that don’t really engage. Super fans are waiting for your next piece of work. Their engagement can boost you far up in the algorithm and make other people interested when they see your name pop up in their feed multiple times with consistent engagement.

Super Fans Are Social Proof

Or you can even ask your super fans to help you get the attention of a brand or influencer you would like to work with. If you target an influencer and have your fan base leave one thousand authentic comments tagging your social handle, then the influencer will know that you are valuable for collaboration because you also have your own network of engaged fans. For instance, as a musician, you could make a video featuring you using a native instruments drum machine. Next you would go to the Native Instruments website or twitter and browse through to find some of their staff members Emails or Twitter / Instagram accounts. Post your video and send out an Email or text blast to your one thousand super fans instructing them to tag that person @NativeInstruments_Staff (for example).

After the company or influencer has been tagged and you’ve got their attention, you can DM them and send an email to start a relationship. If your brands and audiences align, hopefully after a few conversations, you end up with something like a sponsorship thanks to your super fan base. Companies and influencers are much more willing to invest when they know you have an active audience that you can bring to the table.


Let Super Fans Pay Your Music Expenses

And it doesn’t have to be one thousand fans. Just move the numbers around. If it’s 500 fans, then sell them $200 of value a year. And even if not every single of your one thousand is a super fan. For every true fan there will be a couple regular fans who maybe spend $20 on your music, painting, or designs. But 5 of those equals $100, the numbers add up.

Imagine galvanizing your small army of fans to launch your Kick Starter campaign. If each fan donated just $1, you might have enough money to mix and engineer your next project for free. It might be enough to do a small, cross-state music tour. If each fan donated $5, you could rent a nice  venue, lights, & a stage. Plus you would still have money left over for your next album release. Then your super fans would come to that show to spend even more than $5. The best part is they would be the ones paying for it all.

When new comers see your Kick Starter already has up to $1,000 from 1,000 donors, they’re more likely to donate. People are more likely to support when they can see proof that you are trusted and have a believable cause. Also, Patreon is another crowd funding route in which fans subscribe for monthly exclusive content. You could offer a $5 monthly membership for sneak peaks at behind the scenes material. $5 from one thousand fans equals $60,000 by the end of the year. That’s almost twice the average American income.

Be Consistent. It's a Long Journey.

Of course this feat is no snap of the fingers. It takes time and plenty consistent effort to go from zero to one thousand super fans. But it can be done, one fan at a time. And it is far more likely than 1 million regular fans. Even if you never make it past 500 super fans. If fans only buy half your merch or music, you’ll still have all your bills paid by your art and then some. And it will never be a waste. When you get to a million, the super base will still be there as your Day 1’s. They are your core, original following, who love your art no matter how it changes or ages.

So you can still get your Spotify streams for now. You can also use other main stream outlets that expose you to random people you don’t come in contact with. A combination of strategies is good. But if you focus on direct relationships with a few super fans first, you will make much more. And it will take much less time. Then you can then use that money to fund marketing for your future 1 million fans.

Related readings: 10 Merch Ideas Fans Will Love | 5 Ways Musicians Make Money That You Didn't Know