I recently asked a Japanese music duo that I occasionally co-bill with how they’ve gained their fans - their last gig having brought in almost 50 people.
I was under the assumption that they must have a full on website, Facebook page, and especially in Japan, an active Twitter. Turns out that not only do they not have ANY of these, aside from an occasionally updated blog, they’re never online.
They don’t even own a computer!
Meanwhile, here I am starting my day by reading 2 hours worth of music industry blog posts to learn the latest greatest ways to become the next Amanda Palmer.
Perhaps I’m doing something wrong… perhaps a lot of us are.
Their strategy seems distilled to the purest way to connect with fans. Write good music, be consistent with your branding (but not getting hung up on said branding), hustle and have a good sense of humor. ENTERTAIN. Every Wednesday, regardless of weather (including snowstorms), they are outside of their town’s main train station performing at 7pm. Fortunately, it’s a major transit hub so there’s a LOT of people coming through.
Folks in town recognize them. Every time they perform they have their demo CD and fliers properly displayed. While I don’t know how their earnings are on CD sales at those Wednesday evening busking-fests, they’re definitely getting people interested in taking a flier, seeing when they’re performing and most importantly, coming to their monthly showcases at a nearby music venue where tickets are around 2500 Yen each (without drinks).
I’m fascinated with new media, the “leveling of the playing field,” etc. but I’ll admit - hearing their success stories makes me happy. Sure I’m always gonna love my YouTube discoveries, but in many respects, I’m old fashioned when it comes to my music. Though this makes me sound like a navel-gazing curmudgeon, if you can’t perform, unedited, in front of people, how good a performer are you? Sure, editing is itself an art, but it’s hard for me to think of anything better than live performances.
As an aside, one thing that will definitely work in their favor? They’ve got high school girl fans. And anyone who knows the sweet demographic to pitch for in pop music, it’s the Belieber crew. That is - once you become “the in thing,” in the collective high school hive mind, you might as well be famous already. Granted, that might be at the expense of your dignity, but as they say, a gig’s a gig.
As an aside Part 2, back to writing blogs about music instead of writing a song XD Just kidding! New songs are on their way, and possibly a new album. If that pans out, I will obvs. promote it on Friendster. And MySpace. And Hi-Five :P