The power of an audience
When we think of “investing” something we often think about monetary investments. Though for a musician, author, small business, etc., where lack of money can be an issue, the biggest investment that we can make within our respected businesses is the investment of time. The investment of time that it takes to build an audience. By tapping into a niche or group of people that want to hear more from you, you are establishing a foundation to not only build your current project on but projects in your future.
Take for example the group Pomplamoose. Pomplamoose is a multi-instrumental duo made up of Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn. They create videos that they call “videosongs” and, according to Jack, they define it with these two rules:
1.) What you see is what you hear (no lip-syncing for instruments or voice)
2.) If you hear it, at some point you will see it. (No hidden sounds)
It’s a unique concept and something that is fun to watch. They do their own version of popular songs (two of my favorites are Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies”) as well as original songs. The videos are really well done, interesting to watch and I dare you not to get these songs stuck in your head all day. They are fantastic.
Since they use video as a means of creating their music they established their audience by using YouTube, which they started three years ago in 2008. Since then have gained over 300,000 subscribers to their YouTube page and have over 67,000,000 total uploaded views. Through their YouTube popularity their music has been featured on a Toyota commercial, they made some holiday ads for Hyundai, and they have gotten to collaborate with and produce songs for various other artists.
A few months ago Nataly tapped into the Pomplamoose fan base to ask for support of her first solo album through Kickstarter, which is an online fundraising tool. Artists set a goal (like $10,000) and fans pledge money towards the artist's project. If you don’t meet the goal you don’t get the funding. But if you meet or go over your goal you get to keep the money. Nataly’s goal was to raise $20,000 to record her album and she ended up raising $104,788!! Another example is a girl named Julia Nunes who established her very dedicated fan base on YouTube. She created a Kickstarter campaign asking for $15,000 and she raised over $77,000.
Both Pomplamoose and Julia Nunes are great examples of artists that have taken their time to establish and build an audience. And it’s not just the money that was raised for their new projects that is important to highlight; they have established and built a relationship with their fans. When either artist plays out live, they sell out shows and fans come out in droves. When they post a new video or new song download, they eat it up. When you have a dedicated fan base, you have established a solid foundation to build a career on.
But a word of caution: if the first thought that came to your mind was, "Wow! I got to get a Kickstarter account rolling to fund my project!!" STOP!! You have to remember that Pomplamoose and Julia had an ESTABLISHED AUDIENCE when they started their projects. In order for Kickstarter to be successful you have to have an established audience set up, interesting & cool "rewards" for investments, a video to go along with your campaign, etc. There are many elements to it BUT the key is that they had an audience to present this to.
Take your time to build a solid fan base!