Super Serve the Super Fans

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

For the longest time, the artist didn’t know who their customer was. They were either going through the record label, Ticketmaster, the promoter, the record store, Spotify, or another monolith. The conversation between the artist and the fan didn’t exist. But now, D2C is the biggest opportunity around.

Not all fans are created equal and there is a lot of money in knowing how to super serve the super fans.

I’m not talking about fleecing your most reliable customers. I’m talking about having open dialogue to better understand their wants and needs and optimize for additional revenue. There is real value to unlock there, not just for artists but for brands, too.

The word community is overhyped right now as everybody aims to “mobilize” their core group in hopes of becoming “a movement” that more easily navigates our increasingly saturated landscape. But the truth is, as plugged in as we all are, we feel more alone than ever. “Communities” are fragmented, more akin to a collection of individuals than parts of a whole. Mobilizing a social media army for a cause can be powerful, but that is more culture building than community building. A community is made up of folks you can see, touch, and hear.

I see many industry heads enamored by the gaming business model, saying it’s the next frontier for the music business. The economics of gaming are very appealing and I agree that music could gain from a strategic series of multiple streams of micropayments from every direction with plussed up sales giving more access. But I think a smarter strategy for music would be more the Only Fans model, where not all fans are created equal. There are different tiers of fans and everyone pays the ante to play. Exclusivity is at a premium. The baseline subscription is tier one, the DM is a potential second tier, and it builds from there depending on the dialogue.

Fan clubs do this to an extent, but not as personalized as Only Fans does. There’s a reason they’re printing money and it’s not just that sex sells or that they have a social network of over 265 million active users. It’s also that it’s highly specialized, although adding Only Artists or Fans Only (which I’m begging them to do) would take it to the next level. Can you imagine how much more potential they could unlock? I digress…

The key is: there’s a big opportunity to create intimacy on scale; to understand your customers; to know who loves you and why; and to then super serve that group of people.

Another platform doing this well is Stationhead. Stationhead nailed listening experiences and created a fan-to-fan-to-artist model. In a vast digital world, Stationhead isn’t trying to be everything to everyone. Focus is important, which is part of the reason Discord, Substack, and Pateron are all so unappealing. Stationhead is a place where fans can hang out in the simplicity of a Stationhead room and listen to music together. It’s an audio experience that, when an artist jumps in the room, absolutely explodes. They have pulled off top notch digital listening session after top notch digital listening session and it’s having a real impact on sales.

When budgets are tight, creativity moves the needle. I think focus, simplicity, specialization and direct communication with your customers at scale are central to unlocking more revenue right now.

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Also published on Medium.