A couple of weeks ago I published an article titled ‘Fan Interaction: Why successful EDM Artists and Jam Bands are ahead of the game.’, where I covered artist»fan»fan interaction, the formation and importance of tribes/scenes, the necessity to include and connect the audience now more than ever, the belief that it is more than just the music, and the idea of your fans being a part of the culture.
Tonight, April 16, 2013 Bob Lefsetz published an article titled ‘Electronic Music’ and though he may have never laid eyes on my article, he expresses strikingly similar realizations. Here are a handful of direct quotes paralleling just about everything mentioned in my article weeks earlier:
“It’s about the experience.”
“Don’t think music, think culture.”
“…be thankful your tiny cult appreciates you…”
“And you wonder why festivals are today’s live entertainment kingpins. Because it’s not about the talent so much as being there.”
“The era of going to the show and standing in the corner alone, knowing only the band, are done.”
“And these festivals are giant networking parties, where they get to mingle and have a good time. And it’s all about the good time. Sure, the music is an element of the mix, but if you could go to the show with only ten of your best bros, you wouldn’t. Nobody wants a legendary DJ to play for ten people like the oldsters hire Elton and the classic rockers for privates, that’s a dead scene. They want to be party with thousands, they want to feel the energy, electronic music is not about being exclusive, but inclusive!”
”But what’s important is the scene. The inclusivity referenced above. Now performer and audience are in it together.”
”So if you want to succeed in the new world of entertainment, you’d better let your audience inside.”
“Being in the back with your buds dancing is just as fine as being inside the velvet rope, oftentimes it’s better. That’s where your friends are, that’s where the opportunities are. You’re not looking for anything connected with money, rather you’re looking for raw connection. The music is just the grease.”
The biggest thing in common between these types of acts, aside from the volume of drugs consumed, is the level of mastery in connecting fans with fans.
Let’s take a quick look at three different types of fan interaction:
Artist >> Fan
This is how you make and keep fans – usually. They see you play a show, or they find your record somewhere and connect with it; they decide that it’s had a profound impact on them, changed their level of enjoyment/happiness, understanding, perspective, or life, and the relationship begins. They come back, follow you online, sign up for your mailing list, buy merch, and more as the relationship grows.
Fan >> Fan
A satisfying interaction – this is two people experiencing something they’re both extremely passionate about; listening to records, dancing, singing with another fan; conversations about the artist both in-person and online (fan sites, groups, forums, etc.). This is incredibly enjoyable for fans when it happens; they can exchange thoughts, opinions, live recordings, talk about best shows, new tours, records, and much more. Social objects – such as t-shirts, merchandise, vinyl, etc. – help greatly in igniting fan-to-fan interactions.
Artist >> Fan >> Fan
The less understood – a combination of the two aforementioned types of interaction. This is going to a concert and experiencing not only the artist, but the fans and other like-minded members of the tribe as well – all having a great time. People talking, communicating, dancing – oftentimes costumes, beachballs, eccentric outfits, etc. – it’s a party and when you go, YOU are helping to create that experience, YOU become a part of something much bigger than you were before arriving for that show. And in both improvisational-laden styles, the fans (especially fans moving other fans) are an absolutely integral part of the live event!
Artists feed off this energy in the moment!
And the fans do too!
When Artist >> Fan >> Fan exists, you’ve successfully begun the formation of a Tribe/Scene/Culture.
This is what successful electronic artists and Jam bands have mastered. It’s about connecting people and having a great f*^#ing time! People don’t go to these shows to simply see and hear the artist, they go to be a part of something much bigger… and to have a great f*^#ing time!
And yes production has a lot to do with that now, but your production, lights, etc. can only be so effective – most people want to connect with others! They want to have a great f*^#ing time with other people and know that everyone else, including the artist, is having a great f*^#ing time! It’s part of the experience!
These artists’ fans are small reflections of the artist’s themselves. They live similar lifestyles, share similar beliefs, philosophies, likes and dislikes, etc.
They all know that going to a live show is about having a really f*^#king great time.
They all know that the music has to be great, but that there is more to it.
Your fans are a part of the culture.
Your fans are a part of you.
Are you in it for the experience?