Your Questions Answered: How To Build A Fanbase From Square One


Every Friday we do a post where we offer our help and will answer any question you may have inside the comments. This week we wanted to bring your attention to a great question and an answer we thought you would appreciate.

“Love the blog and all the advice, but I have a question for you in regards to promoting/getting the word out in this day and age of saturation. So let me paint a scenario which is partially hypothetical..part true…but will be effective.

Ok, let’s assume I am a singer/songwriter who has been working on his craft for years and have finally put together an EP of 5 really GREAT songs that are also well recorded. They just sound awesome all around and I can’t wait to show the world. But here’s my problem…

I have 0 twitter followers. 0 friends on Facebook. 0 youTube subscribers. And none of my friends have any influence, nor am I well connected. I’ve just been focusing on my love of music. So, my problem is, I have no launching pad!

Years ago, I could go on MySpace and add 10000 people a day…and people would actually listen (no matter how annoying..but it did work). That wouldn’t be everything, but honestly, it got the ball rolling for a lot of bands.

So let’s assume I make a really high quality video, of a great song – then what? If I just upload it and tag it properly, I’m not gonna be expecting traffic to just show up. Or if I email a bunch of blogs and say “Hey, I’m a nobody, will you listen to my music, which has 0 fans, and post it on your blog for me? I promise it’s good!” Doesn’t seem like it’ll be too effective. I also can’t just “Add” people on Facebook. And there aren’t “local” shows in my town anymore…no one gives a shit – I think mySpace kinda devalued music and independent artists because everyone was bombarded by tons of shit, so now the world is jaded and if someone says, “hey, check out my band”, people are hesitant to even give it a shot.

Now, after painting that gloomy picture, my question in a nutshell is: How does an artist get his music listened to by strangers on the internet? Dare I say, a lot of strangers? What’s the first move in promotion starting from point zero?

Thanks for reading! 
-your friend.”

Hi Your Friend,

The best technique I know of this is to make Internet friends. As we describe in our book, you should identify some smaller groups you sound similar to. Hopefully local to you. Enter them into a service like Mention and as you see writers and fans mention the other groups you have targeted on blogs and social networks, find ways to interact with users on Twitter. Submit to those blogs, who write about the groups you have targeted. Then go to SoundCloud and start posting your music in groups appropriate for your music and begin to be a part of the community. Put your music on a service like Earbits which will introduce you to new listeners of your genre who want new music. Last create community. Start a Facebook group and then search Bandcamp in your genre until you find similar artists to you, using their Discovery tool. Write them and invite them to the Facebook group and discuss how you can work together and promote your similarities and community.

Obviously this is the short of it, and the long version of it is in our book. Hope this helps.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.

  • yourfriend

    Mention sounds like a great idea. And I didn’t realize how social soundcloud has become. Thanks for the response!