Connecting With Fans Means More Than Talking About Your Latest Work

from the open-up dept

Aaron deOliveira alerts us to this great quote from artist Michele Banks from an interview in Scientific American:
I think some artists donít get the best out of Twitter or other social media because they mostly write about their own work. I talk about everything Ė art and science, sure, but also football, music, politics, kids, cats, whatever. If you think of it as a great free-flowing conversation that you can jump into any time, and you both listen and respond, then itís amazing. If you just talk about yourself, then youíre that guy at the party that just talks about himself, and youíre not going to be very popular.
For years, we've talked about this concept of Connect with Fans + Reason to Buy (CwF + RtB), and too frequently have assumed that the really difficult part is the RtB side of the equation. But it's really amazing just how many artists have trouble with CwF as well. And this is a great explanation of why. We often hear from artists who say, "well, I have a Twitter and a Facebook feed, but it doesn't work." And then you go and look at the feed, and all it is is them announcing, "I just released this work," or "I'm performing at such-and-such on December 10th," or whatever. It's not just that there's little interaction, but that there's little that's interesting.

But then you go look at the Twitter feeds of folks who really connect with their fans and you see something totally different. You look at Kevin Smith or Amanda Palmer or Zoe Keating and you see that they talk about all sorts of interesting stuff that goes way beyond what they're famous for -- and they talk back to lots of other folks as well. They talk about their lives. And it's amazing how just doing that helps connect them even more to their fans. It makes their fans that much more loyal and committed. It really is about building a connection. Too many artists like to mock these forms of communication ("who wants to hear what someone had for lunch"), but they don't realize that sharing, listening, communicating... and just being human and authentic is an amazing way to connect with fans in a powerful, lasting and meaningful way.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 5:36pm

    Are you going to listen to him Masnick?

    Or are you only ever going to write about your little 'issues'?

    He is talking about people like the one trick pony that is 'the masnick' !!!

    But thats ok, we've learnt not to expect too much from Mike, he does not appear to have much in the way of "depth"..

     

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  2.  
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    Dementia (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Re:

    Is this your first attempt at trolling? I really hope so, because anything would be better than what you've posted so far.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 6:13pm

    Re:

    We've secretly replaced the trolls with GM Turkeys... let's see if they notice.

    -5/10

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 6:19pm

    Re:

    Wow you are on the pulse of technology. I hope you help hollywood's latest attemt at collusion. The newest diversion, "WHO KILLED NATALIE WOOD" Maybe Piracy killed Natalie Wood, Who Realy Cares? I know what to expect from Hollywood, just sequals, remakes, a lack of ideas, and the same old bullshit. Let's not forget they are broke. but not broke enough, They still pay off congressman and senator for a vote.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Re:

    my turkey was full of crap, I just thought it was from the MPAA.

     

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  6.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 6:25pm

    People like to feel a better connection to the "stars" they like. It keeps them real when they talk about things they aren't "experts" in. If all they do is pimp the new release, you can figure out its a management team posting, and it is much less desirable to follow them.

    When you can engage them, maybe even get a question answered that has nothing to do with their field you get a better connection. There is sometimes people who share to much, don't care if you had an epic sandwich for lunch - unless your telling the story about how you found this awesome shop tucked away someplace. As the existence of TMZ and the like prove, we like to see them off the pedestal sometimes and get reminders they are human.

    Even posts promoting yourself can be used to connect... I'll be in X city on the 10th for a concert, whats the best bar I have to hit when I am there? Whats the best Y restaurant? Showing an interest in where your going to be performing, and maybe showing up at Lou's Froyo at the mall because they told you its the best Froyo ever will accomplish multiple things.
    - It shows your fans your listening to them.
    - It shows you want to connect with your fans without having to have a giant event with fences and barriers, where the best possible interaction is a wave or a hi as you blow back out to the SUV. (not always possible depending on your "star power", but not all of your fans are crazed stalkers they are just excited to meet you.)
    - It shows an interest in the places you go beyond the arena and hotel room.

    You can leverage it, but it takes some actual work and thought. Its not boom I have a facebook, my work here is done.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 6:37pm

    Re:

    I think you miss the difference in purpose between an opinion/political blog and a musicians/artist's blog.

    Art is designed for us to enjoy. So if someone goes to a musicians blog, they go there to enjoy, like as if attending a party. They want to have an open conversation with artists and other fans as if they were friends.

    When you attend a meeting on politics or a community meeting or when you submit letters to the editor to a newspaper, the purpose is to discuss the issues, not to enjoy oneself. The purpose of Techdirt is to discuss issues that are important to us. In that regard, Mike does engage his audience. He responds to relevant questions, comments, and criticisms on the issues that he discusses. He engages in the discussions about the issues. Because the purpose of this opinion blog is for us to express our opinions and to discuss various issues that we deem important. If we wanted to engage in an entertainment blog or twitter gathering we can do so at our convenience.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re:

    and, as Mike points out, everyone can develop their own business model and curtail it to their specific audience. No single business model fits all and there is no uniform way of engaging with all audiences. Mike engages with his audience over issues he sees important in ways that work for his audience. Others can engage in their audience in ways that work for them. Every audience is different. Techdirt is an opinion blog and we visit Techdirt to engage over the issues. Someone visiting the twitter account of a rock star is probably visiting it for different purposes and would probably expect a different course of engagement.

     

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  9.  
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    Sage, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 6:58pm

    Too early for turkeys

    Where's the part about t-shirts?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 7:12pm

    Re:

    "Are you going to listen to him Masnick?"

    WTF?! This is Mike Masnick!

     

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  11.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 7:41pm

    Re: Too early for turkeys

    It is not just about t-shirts. It is about getting fans to support you because you make them feel good. Think of it as the, "I will never wash this hand again syndrome". With people actually bathing and coming back for more.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 11:06pm

    not this garbage again..

    You can't have personal relationships with everyone of your "fans", when a fan only brings in a few bucks profit. Trying to grovel to your fans is pathetic and unnecessary, people don't expect personal interaction from artists and such, that's not what they want. They want the product that made them famous. Of course mikey thinks that product should be given away for free, then you get rich somehow off of groveling to your fans.

     

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  13.  
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    herodotus (profile), Nov 24th, 2011 @ 12:45am

    "But then you go look at the Twitter feeds of folks who really connect with their fans and you see something totally different. You look at Kevin Smith or Amanda Palmer or Zoe Keating and you see that they talk about all sorts of interesting stuff that goes way beyond what they're famous for -- and they talk back to lots of other folks as well. They talk about their lives. And it's amazing how just doing that helps connect them even more to their fans. It makes their fans that much more loyal and committed. It really is about building a connection. Too many artists like to mock these forms of communication ("who wants to hear what someone had for lunch"), but they don't realize that sharing, listening, communicating... and just being human and authentic is an amazing way to connect with fans in a powerful, lasting and meaningful way."

    What depresses me about this is that it is an extension of celebrity culture into a medium that shouldn't require artists to be celebrities. The mass market economic conditions that necessitated the creation of celebrities in the first place no longer obtain. But while the inefficiencies of the old media have been bypassed, the unfortunate mental habits that they gave birth to are still walking around like cultural zombies.

    I guess what depresses me is how all of this demonstrates convincingly that ordinary people care very little about music. Without some sort of narrative to make them feel 'connected' to it, music is as uninteresting to most people as Boolean algebra.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2011 @ 10:14am

    Re: not this garbage again..

    "when a fan only brings in a few bucks profit."

    Fans are how artists make their profits.

    "Trying to grovel to your fans is pathetic"

    Yes, because the artist is more important than his fans and he shouldn't interact with his inferiors.

    "and unnecessary"

    Yes, actually working is unnecessary. IP holders should make money off of the work of others.

    "people don't expect personal interaction from artists and such"

    Maybe not you but you don't speak for everyone.

    "They want the product that made them famous."

    Most artists hardly make any money from record sales, they make most of their money from things like concerts, live performances, and from other activities. It's been that way for a long time, where have you been?

    "Of course mikey thinks that product should be given away for free, then you get rich somehow off of groveling to your fans."

    Of course you think that IP holders and middlemen should make all the money while artists and fans get scammed.

     

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  15.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 24th, 2011 @ 8:37pm

    "Without some sort of narrative to make them feel 'connected' to it, music is as uninteresting to most people as Boolean algebra."

    Bull twaddle.

    If you're talking about music theory, you're probably right but if you're talking of human reaction to music then, with respect, you're full of it.

    Speech, that thing we do most of the time, engages mostly the Cerebral cortex as does traditional narrative in written works. In other words the logical centres of the brain.

    On the other hand music, as does anything involving rhyme, rythymn and metre (a beat) engages not only the logical parts of the brain but also all of the emotional and visual (yes, visual) and other sensory parts of the human brain. If you want to argue that point then explain to me how easily people can be brought to tears listening to music, how easy it is to remember traditiional poetry which mostly exists in lyrics these days something fiction writers can mostly only dream of.

    People were interested in John Lennon BECAUSE he was a celebrity and when he and Yoko started to tell people what they had for lunch, whether or not in a bed in Toronto or not it came across as genuine as did the lyrics in his songs when he wrote about how he felt about things and things he'd observed. More importantly, it came across as genuine and really him and not only a PR move (something The Beatles hardly needed).

    He conncected, as did the rest of the band when they began to do much the same, however reluctantly. The fans cared because people were moved by their music not just their celebrity status. Keep in mind that most people have very active and accurate BS filters and can detect fakery.

    There's no need to be profound, certainly Charlton Heston never was yet he was genuine in his connection through the NRA in the United States no matter how much I personally disagreed with him.

    It's not about being profound. It's about piercing the veil of perfection that surrounds celebs and gives rise to gossip rags. If the musician or artist is in control and genuine then even the need for gossip rags and sites vanishes. People feel they already know the artist or musician (an artificial distinction by the way but it makes it clear that I'm talking about actors, poets, painters and others not just musicians and composers).

    We humans will always develop celebs. It could be anyone though the ones we remember are the celebs of their era usually poets, playwrights, philosophers and religious leaders in their time. It didn't need the MPAA or RIAA and a vast army of agents and publicists to create them.

    Nor do most of us need to understand the subjects in depth to appreciate them on what they create. As long as the work is a genuine reflection of them.

    And artists made the connections as a matter of course before the invention of the MPAA, RIAA, agents or publicists hangons that attach themselves to them now.

     

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  16.  
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    herodotus (profile), Nov 24th, 2011 @ 10:19pm

    Re:

    "Bull twaddle."

    Oh?

    "If you're talking about music theory, you're probably right but if you're talking of human reaction to music then, with respect, you're full of it."

    What you are calling the 'human reaction to music' is actually the human reaction to a tiny subset of music.

    "music, as does anything involving rhyme, rythymn and metre (a beat) engages not only the logical parts of the brain but also all of the emotional and visual (yes, visual) and other sensory parts of the human brain."

    Rhyme is not properly a part of music, but of lyrics or poetry (which music doesn't require). Nor is music visual. This is figurative thinking that only confuses matters.

    Pitch, on the other hand, which IS a part of music, goes unmentioned by you.

    "If you want to argue that point then explain to me how easily people can be brought to tears listening to music"

    It's called sentimentality. It is far from being the apex of music. The reason it appeals to so many people is because it is easy. It requires no reflection or knowledge to be experienced.

    "He conncected, as did the rest of the band when they began to do much the same, however reluctantly. The fans cared because people were moved by their music not just their celebrity status."

    You keep talking about 'people being moved' as if that proves something. People are 'moved' by the most tawdry and predictable pablum that can be imagined. Some people cry when they hear Lee Greenwood sing about how he is proud to be an American. So what?

    "There's no need to be profound, certainly Charlton Heston never was yet he was genuine in his connection through the NRA in the United States no matter how much I personally disagreed with him."

    Here I admit that you have lost me. What do Charlton Heston or the NRA have to do with anything?

    "We humans will always develop celebs."

    Actually 'celebs' are a fairly recent phenomena. Look for a copy of Daniel Boorstin's 'The Image' for the relevant history.

    "And artists made the connections as a matter of course before the invention of the MPAA, RIAA, agents or publicists hangons that attach themselves to them now."

    Here I will agree with you.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2011 @ 11:25pm

    Re: not this garbage again..

    You're right, artists can't connect with millions of fans. Too much work, too little time.

    Now, apply the same thing with Youtube and other user-content websites, and the monitoring of submitted content for possible infringement. Too much work, too little time.

     

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  18.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 25th, 2011 @ 11:26am

    Re: Re:

    What I was getting to in the Heston remark was the connection between fans and the "celeb" not a connection between music and the individual. He was genuine in what he said not controlled by a PR flack.

    As for the recent development of celebrity it's the name we give to them that's recent not the actual "status", if you want to call it that How else to explain the status of the romantic poets at the beginning of the 19th Century? Other than the stirrings of mass media which, I'll much more than concede.

    Your reply turns back onto music theory, which I know quite well and, when I sing, largely ignore as not having a thing to do with what I'm doing. I'm a trained choral singer having been semi-tortured into it being inserted into church choirs growing up. Theory is all well and good but it's part in the "real world" is marginal, at best.

    Being moved has everything to do with music as it has with poetry until the latter half of the 20th Century. There have been a number of studies done with look at the differences between what parts of the brain "light up" listening to music, pre-20thC poetry and prose. Prose lights up the fewest by far, poetry much more and music involves the entire brain regardless of whether the person being tested likes that style or not. Dismiss that all you want, it's fact. There's a very good reason that humans are the only creatures on this planet, that we know of, that make music for it's own sake. Individuals react visibly to a subset of music be it tiny or wide but their brains react to it the same way before the filter of like and dislike gets in the way.

    To get back to the subject at hand which is how artists communicate with fans I am pleased to read that you do agree that it is what they ought to do, again, without the hangers on and the people the entertain, move, educate and in other ways please with their work as a way of increasing their income.

    P.S. As for the Lee Eastwood song you mention I rather like it though I'm not a country fan and I'm not an American. To those who are moved to tears the song isn't pablum, speaking of narrow subsets. So soon after Remembrance Day I was thinking more of Dire Straits "Brothers In Arms" take that as you will.

     

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  19.  
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    herodotus (profile), Nov 25th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "As for the recent development of celebrity it's the name we give to them that's recent not the actual "status", if you want to call it that How else to explain the status of the romantic poets at the beginning of the 19th Century? Other than the stirrings of mass media which, I'll much more than concede."

    'Status' doesn't imply 'celebrity'. The romantic poets had to be exceptional poets to achieve their status. Fergie just had to be kind of hot (if you like that sort of thing). If she were famous for being hot, that would be OK, but she is famous as a musician, which is...unfortunate to say the least.

    What I was talking about in my first post was simply that people who aren't musicians seem to need more than the raw sound to 'relate' to music.

    Are you really disputing this?

    "Being moved has everything to do with music as it has with poetry until the latter half of the 20th Century. There have been a number of studies done with look at the differences between what parts of the brain "light up" listening to music, pre-20thC poetry and prose. Prose lights up the fewest by far, poetry much more and music involves the entire brain regardless of whether the person being tested likes that style or not. Dismiss that all you want, it's fact. "

    Yes, but what do these facts mean? This is not anywhere near as clear cut as you seem to think. To see just how confused some humanists can get about brain scans, try reading this.

    I would never assert that emotions have nothing to do with music. But they don't exhaust it either. Musicians have intellects as well as emotions, though very few people seem to want to acknowledge this. And it isn't just late twentieth century music that demonstrates this. Beethoven himself quickly grew annoyed with the cult of sentiment that dominated his listening audience. He famously upbraided Goethe simply for telling him that he found his music 'deeply moving'.

    "As for the Lee Eastwood song you mention I rather like it though I'm not a country fan and I'm not an American. To those who are moved to tears the song isn't pablum"

    And to people who like McDonald's, a Big Mac isn't junk food. And yet nutritionists insist that it is.

    I wonder why?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 30th, 2011 @ 11:51am

    Wow, this is not at all entitled.

    Gee Mr. Director/Writer/Musician, I love your art but no way in hell would I ever pay to enjoy it. But if you tell me what your wearing, what you had for lunch or what drugs you take I'll throw you a couple dollars. No, no, don't write your thoughts down in a story, just tell me your deepest secrets in 140 characters or less.

    Just imagine how lousey and untalented people like Sylvia Plath, Bob Dylan or Ingrid Bergman would have been if they would have acted like anti-social semi hermits instead of twittering constaintly like they often did?.

    A writer owes it to you to write a book, and absolutely nothing else. Read it or don't.
    An actor owes it to you to perform a scene, and absolutely nothing else. Watch it or don't.
    A singer owes it to you to sing a song, and absolutely nothing else. Listen or don't.
    A musician owes it to you to play an instrument, and absolutely nothing else. Dance along or don't.

    If you can't relate to the story in the artwork just because the artist didn't also sit in your living room and tell you about his childhood, your ego and your entitlement issues are the problem, not the skill or talent of the artist at his craft.

    Bitch all you want about artists and art distributors charging you to enjoy their work, but once you start claiming that they need to give you something more you've gone strait the fuck into demanding stalker territory. Ever see the movie Misery starring not-so-public actor James Caan?, just when did Annie Wilkes become the hero and Paul Sheldon the villan?.

     

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