‘Fan’ has become a pretty watered down term nowadays. It doesn’t really do a good job at describing what it’s supposed to. For example, take two people who like the artist Mac Miller. Call them Angela and Kevin. Angela loves Mac. She has bought all of his albums, can recite the lyrics of every song word for word and has seen him live dozens of times. Kevin on the other hand, likes Mac’s music, has some of his bigger songs on his iPod, which he downloaded for free and hasn’t even thought about going to one of his concerts. To the artist, Mac, these two people are worlds apart in terms of how they’ve supported him and yet they are both simply ‘fans’. If Mac’s fan base was made up of a bunch of ‘Kevins’, he would of gone broke years ago. So it matters a lot what type of fans you have. This is where the idea of a “Like Scale” comes in.
RANKING YOUR FAN BASE
A “Like Scale” basically measures how much of a fan someone is. It of course doesn’t literally measure anything, it’s just an idea, or creative way to think about fans. Imagine a scale that goes from 1 to 10 and every fan is somewhere on that scale. A fan with a rating of 10 would be someone like Angela, who’s a really hardcore fan and a fan with a rating of 1 would be more like Kevin. Now as you can imagine there is a big spectrum on this scale for the fans to be at. Some fans may like you just enough to buy a song online but not enough to see a show or some may even buy tickets but not merchandise or backstage passes.
IMPORTANT POINT ON THE SCALE
There is one crucial point or level on this “Like Scale”. The point in which you get money from the fan. So the point in which a fan likes you so much that they buy something of yours. This is usually an Album or a T-shirt etc… Obviously this is a vital point for your fans to reach because if they don’t you wont make any money. So there is this minimum level on the Like Scale that your fans have to reach for you to stay in business as an artist. If most of your fans are below that minimum level, or in other words they may like you, but not enough to get you money, you’re going to have problems. Now where about is this ‘minimum level’?
Usually the Minimum Level is when a fan buys an online download or Album. Most of the time that is the first and smallest amount of money you will see from a new fan. From there, the fans Like Scale may rise and they might come to a show. They also could loose interest, fall back below the minimum line and never buy a CD again. Obviously you want most of your fans to be above that minimum line, however, because of how much the music industry has changed in the last 10 years, this minimum line has moved. Where is it in 2013?
WHERE IS THE LINE NOW?
Piracy has basically raised the minimum level, so now your fans have to like you more in order for you to get money from them. Why? Because before piracy, CDs basically represented that minimum level. So if most of your fans liked you enough to want a CD but not enough to come to a show, you’d be fine because your fans were still getting you money from CDs. But, because Piracy cut out that money, it raised the minimum level up above CDs all the way to merchandise and ticket sales. So now your fans need to like you enough to come to a show in order for you to make decent money. In other words, you need a passionate fan base, not just a fan base. Your fans need to really like you, not just kind of like you. So then how do you get really passionate fans? There are a lot of ways but there’s only one way that works every time and that way is: high caliber lyricism. Not every artist with a lot of passionate fans has high caliber lyrics but every artist with high caliber lyrics has a lot of passionate fans.