“You Don’t Own Your Fanbase. You Rent Them.”
It’s been said that we live in an era of “access” – a kind of golden age of artist communications and marketing. Rather than rely upon the faulty medium of the journalist or the tabloid, artists can now talk “directly” to their fans without any intermediary. Well, except for SoundCloud, or Twitter, or Facebook, or…
The reality is that you don’t own your fanbase. You just “access” them. You rent them in exchange for your data. And at moments like this – when you want to end your lease and move to another block – it becomes incredibly clear what the distinction is.
The important thing to realize is that these barriers between fan and artist are entirely artificial. There’s really no reason why they need to exist, other than to impede you from doing exactly what SoundCloud’s frustrated producers want to do: leave.
Terry Matthew’s insightful piece could almost serve as a thesis statement for our blog here. Musicians now live in an incredible time, when autonomous promotion, presentation, and distribution are all completely attainable. But why are so few artists choosing this? As I’ve opined here before, these tools (Facebook, SoundCloud, etc.) are useful, but should compliment the artist’s subservient infrastructure rather than serving as that infrastructure.