from the sharing-is-caring dept
One of the spectacular developments in music in the last 20 years or so, has been the democratization of the means to produce music. Combined with the internet and the social web, this democratization has enabled a lot of people to create and publish music that probably wouldn't have been able to otherwise. As Seth Godin says:
"This is the greatest moment in the history of music if your dream is to distribute as much music as possible to as many people as possible, or if your goal is to make it as easy as possible to become heard as a musician."
So what some producers do when they blow up, make it big, or (for the 'haters') sell out, is they start sharing their expertise with their ecosystem of fans. Being a professional DJ/producer is very intense and time-consuming, so I figured I'd highlight some exceptional cases of DJs that free up their time to engage with a part of their ecosystem in a language they all understand: that of making music (and English).
The first is simply connecting with fans by asking them to send in demos which will be critiqued publicly. There are a couple of examples I've come across, such as dubstep-producer Plastician, Steve Angello's Size Records (apparently), but most notably Swedish electro house producers Dada Life. The latter replied to their fans via video, shown below, but also via a much more detailed blog post.
Prior to this, Dada Life encouraged fans to remix their work, featured their favourite results on their blog and spread them via social media.
A second way in which some producers connect with their fans is by actually revealing their production methods. My favourite example of this is dubstep-producer High Rankin's 'sub bass tutorial', which isn't just a good lesson in production, but also highly entertaining like all of his YouTube videos (even for those that have and will never produce music, so check it out!).
Finally, there is a more DJ-specific way of connecting with fans. Dutch house-producer Chuckie recently did his second 'DJ drops' (embedded below, warning: NSFW). On Facebook, he asked DJ fans to drop their names and he'd give them shout outs that they will be able to use for their own mixtapes.
What these guys are doing is building a very strong connection with an influential part of their fanbase. Personally, I prefer the phrase 'ecosystem' since fanbase suggests a distance between fan and artist, whereas an ecosystem places an artist right in the center of it. They are not just "connecting with fans", as Mike would put it, but they are participating in their own ecosystem. As said before, when you have a strong ecosystem, that's when business opportunities start presenting themselves.
Some call it a tribe, others say 1,000 true fans, but it all boils down to one thing: finding original ways to engage with the most valuable people around you... your fans.