At AIM’s (UK) Indie-Con 2016 there was a panel titled Fan Loyalty: Creating, Maintaining and Rewarding Superfans. Musically reported during that panel the following question was posed:
“Why aren’t there more artist fan clubs in the digital era?”
One of the panelists responded:
“My hunch is that when we were growing up and fan clubs were prevalent, there was very little access to the acts we loved. With the internet and social media and everything that brought, it’s become very, very different. Maybe there just isn’t a place for fan clubs anymore?”
While I agree with the reasoning, the conclusion is misguided and flat-out wrong.
To paraphrase cartoonist Hugh MacLeod (gapingvoid):
“At the end of the day, [the music] business is all about the relationships between people. Everything else is filler.”
If the industry treats fans as consumers, the industry will reap what it sows. Fickle, low-value relationships. If the industry treats fans for who they are, it will be able to tap into that $2.6bn that Nielsen (and Benji Rogers of PledgeMusic and Tom Giles of StageBloc) keep pointing to on the proverbial table.
You cannot delight the weird with a tweet.