There has always been a fringe music scene — we generally call it folk music. Whether it’s from the Apalachians, the Deep South, or The Pacific Northwest, American music has its own grassroots community. The sound attracts the tribe. It’s not limited to America; this happens in all cultures worldwide.
Cultural movements and their music counterparts show the power of underground culture. With the tools to build your grassroots community online, your music will have a greater impact.
Grassroots Music is Community Music
We’ve gone through our phase of chasing record labels (Radiohead) and having our sound diluted (or completely changed — think Chicago in the 80’s). Music has always been a personal form of self expression. As fans, we find our spokesperson — the music that captures the feelings we could never express.
This is why fans celebrate and worship their heros. From joining every gig to throwing listening parties and merch swaps. Or, after they pass, returning to their grave (Jim Morrison) or their home (Elvis).
What if your band’s website could not only sell music but be a place where people could gather together? List your tour dates and organize your sound ambassadors. Share virtual backstage passes with exclusive groups, tips, and graphics to share on social.
Music is the outpouring of our souls, angst, hope, love. Every generation has spokespeople. Artists who reward fans are rewarded by fans.
Get People to Your Concerts
Don’t rely upon Facebook or Twitter to get the attention your band deserves. The biggest mistake is over reliance upon Instagram. Unless you use tap.bio or linkt.ree, your promotions on Instagram won’t lead to album downloads or ticket sales. Those are all fine places to promote, but your strategy should always be website-first.
With a website-first marketing strategy, your band can promote and post whatever content strikes your fancy. You won’t be censored or blocked. Post updates to your top fans first. Allow them to buy VIP passes in PeepSo groups. Even better reward them with passes from contests.
“With your own website, you’re not inhibited by character limits, content restrictions or any other rules. Say what you want, exactly how you want to say it with a website.”Patrick McGuire
Reward Top Fans
Recognizing your community fans is always appreciated. Being aware that your fans need your music and you need them creates an ecosystem. Of course you can use the badges in PeepSo, but it can be so much more.
Contests on grassroots promotion will help motivate your fans to do some marketing on your behalf. One the ideas from CDBaby is to engage your fans in creating a video. When others help with the marketing, you can focus on what matters — your music.
“Ask fans to share your music or record a testimonial video.”CDBaby
Sell Exclusive Merch
Fans who download your album first could have access to exclusive merch. This is effective if it is only available for sale on your website — not at concerts. Top fans love bragging rights.
Signed and dated playlists, the original album artwork, or even the guitar pics used at a concert would go fast and help your bank account. (Even at-home recording and production is expensive.)
“Plus, artists totally love seeing people wear their merch. It validates their art, and subtly encourages them to keep creating, so it’s good vibes all around.”Reid Foster
Build Your Grassroots Community
Your fans are waiting for ways to engage with your music, band, and other fans. You have all the tools you need to engage your community. Create your community your way. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t start today.