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Understanding Fan Communities

Written by: Kiri Hassinger

Do you know what artists like The Beatles and Taylor Swift have in common? They have strong fan communities! Whether you’re an artist just starting out or have millions of Spotify listeners, one of the best ways to spread your music is by enlarging your fan communities! While there’s no linear, step-by-step method to gaining hundreds of followers and listeners every day, we do offer a free workbook that will help you, as the artist, grow your fanbase by truly understanding your fans. 📝

When thinking about your fans, these questions are the best place to start:

Who is your target fan?

Similar to a target audience, what kind of person do you want to listen to your music? This is important when it comes to considering your current fans. Do your current fans align with your “target fan?” 🎯

What is your fan’s average age and gender?

Now we’re talking about the fans you currently have. The age and gender identity of your current fans can help you decide whether you want to promote your content on social media, over the radio, or through different channels. 📺

What are your fans’ interests outside of music?

This makes a bigger difference than you may initially think! Your fans’ hobbies, styles, and tastes may greatly impact the music that they’re listening to. In the same vein, people build communities, find hobbies, and develop personal styles around the music that they listen to. 🤔

What other artists do your fans listen to?

How similar is their music to your music? A great way to spread your music and grow your fanbase is by engaging with fans of artists who have a similar style as you! 🎧

Where do your fans live?

Say it with me! GEO. LO. CATION. Knowing where your fans live is important for several reasons. It can help you geolocate your ads, schedule posts, and even plan a tour! If you are trying to choose between playing a show in Denver, CO, and Dallas, TX, you’ll probably want to choose the city where more listeners live. 🗺️

Where do your fans spend the most time online?

If you’re posting on Twitter (or X), and most of your fans primarily use TikTok, you may want to think about pivoting your social media usage. However, this is also important when it comes to finding new fans! If you want to reach a broader audience and post on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, you have more chances of people interacting with your posts! 📱

Where do your fans spend the most time in person?

Where do they hang? Are your fans primarily students who spend time studying and working in the library? Or are they gym rats who spend most of their free time lifting weights and running multiple miles? Where people spend their time impacts the music that they listen to. ⏰

Where do your fans shop and what are they buying?

You can use your fans’ shopping habits to your advantage! If the majority shop online at Urban Outfitters, you may want to focus on digital advertising. If they shop in person at American Eagle, then try getting your music on the American Eagle playlist! 🛍️

Building your fan community is all about understanding your current fan community. By knowing generally what your fans’ likes and dislikes are, you can plan everything from live events to merchandise, to social media! For example, if you were to collaborate with an artist who plays in a similar genre to you, their fans may start listening to your music and interacting with your fans on social media! Or you could open for an artist with a large fanbase and engage with their fans at live events! This is how 5 Seconds of Summer started their career, by opening for One Direction! 🎤

Our last point, which may be the closest to a linear strategy for growing your audience, is the “Fan Funnel.”

Modeled from the “Sales Funnel” created by Elias St. Elmo Lewis, the “Fan Funnel” is a way to categorize and keep fans. The funnel starts at the top with the “attract” or “awareness” category. At this level, you’ll find casual listeners: people who interact with one or two songs and people who say that they might have heard your name in passing. These are the people that you really want to engage with. By exposing them to more of your content, they may fall further down the fan funnel! 😁

The next level is “engage” or “follower” These are the fans who know about you, recommend your music to other people, follow you on social media, and keep your songs on various playlists. They listen to new songs when you release them, but they may not stay up all night waiting for the song to drop on streaming platforms. Just like with the people in the “discovery” category, you’ll want to make sure to expose people in the “casual fan” category to more of your content. By promoting your content on the social media platforms where those fans are concentrated, you’ll be able to move them down to the next level: “fan.” 😉

The people in the “fan” category are fans by every definition of the word. They will buy tickets to concerts closest to their hometown, buy your merchandise, stream your albums, and interact with your posts on social media. By engaging with the people on this level, they may move into the “super fan” category! 💞

“Super fans” are your fans through thick and thin. They will stay up all night to stream your albums, buy the best tickets to multiple concerts, purchase collectible and limited edition merch, and maybe even make a fan account dedicated to you! When looking at your music and fanbase like a business, your “super fans” are going to be the people who support you the most financially. ✈️

In order to grow your fan base, you have to know what your current fans like and dislike. Ask your fans what drew them to you in the first place! Their answers may surprise you. By putting yourself in the shoes of your fans, you can learn what they love and why they love it. We wish you the best of luck! 👋

If you want to get more involved in fan communities, join a Fan Crew or our awesome


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