Making a New Fan

30 Mar

This is a pretty impressive process these days, becoming a fan.  We have so much rattling through the hallways of our brains that it’s amazing any information stays in there at all, let alone has time to take root and be thought about for a while.

Becoming a fan of something, a musician, a song, an author…that definitely takes time.  It takes a lot of almost random occurrences along the way to really form a person into a “fan” rather than just “someone who likes something.”

The other night I was browsing in Borders, which is liquidating everything here in Austin, sadly.  As I was busy not finding anything I needed to buy, the song being piped over the store speakers caught my attention.  I had no idea who it was, and there was a crying kid in the next aisle so I couldn’t hear the words.  I just liked it, I don’t know why.

I pulled out my iPhone and dialed up the Shazam app, which listens to music playing and identifies it.  The first time was a no go, probably because even Shazam can’t translate through “screaming toddler.”  I moved farther back in the store and tried again…and immediately it told me I was listening to Florence + The Machine.  I had heard the name but never had a reason to pay attention to it.

Shazam is integrated with iTunes so I chose to “Buy” and within seconds the song was on my phone.  I listened to it in the car on the way home and yes, it was just as cool as I thought it was over the Borders speakers.

These tools – or crazy technology, as some would call it – are essential in the process of becoming a fan.  We need a couple of things in place to buy in to something.

1. Exposure. We need to hear it or see the artist.  This is obvious, but it is the thing that musicians spend a lot of time figuring out how to do.  Their songs need to be heard online or on the radio, people need to be in the crowd at shows, their Youtube videos need to be seen.

2. Interaction. Because of the aforementioned plethora of things taking up out time and brains these days, it is often not just being heard or seen that converts people into fans.  People want to be part of a community, or they at least need a reminder that they were interested.

I can tell you that I would not have stalked down an employee and asked who was playing.  Also Florence + The Machine are too busy to hang around Borders and watch for people that are bobbing their heads. Having Shazam handy allowed me to start off with a bit of interaction…I liked it enough to be $0.99 committed to trying it out some more.

The next step is probably something like me signing up for their mailing list or at least checking out the website.  I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I am going to share this song with you because someone posted it on Soundcloud.  I’m doing some legwork for you; you don’t have to go to Borders to find a new song today.

All this to say…I call myself a fan now.  A new fan, so I’m not solidified and I’m not booking any plane tickets to go see Florence play any time soon, but a fan nonetheless.  Have a listen.

02 Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) by NBiszantz

3 Responses to Making a New Fan



March 31st, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Nice article on becoming a fan these days. I think the idea of community around an artist is interesting. How can an artist inspire community?
I like Florence too.



March 31st, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I think an important part of the interaction puzzle, which you’ve got here, but not in bold letters, is the ease or flow or availability (not sure what the best word is) of getting the music into the hands/ipod/laptop/blog of the new fan. I’m guessing that if you hadn’t found the Soundcloud track, you may have looked for a YouTube video, but if you hadn’t found that, you probably would have just left the post a text one. Which would have made me think that your post was a cool example, but wouldn’t necessarily have gotten me out elsewhere to listen to the music. Because you posted the track, Florence + The Machine have moved up a notch on my radar and I’m likely to pay more attention the next time that name hits my ears.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to want to write a post up about a new musician I’ve found and not be able to find a YouTube video of them to go with it! Especially because with music, the proof is in the audio-pudding. (groan!) I mean yes, ideally people would have something at least as cool as a JPo production, but it even works to put up a YouTube with just a single slide/photo as the visual, just to have SOMETHING shareable at the outset!



April 8th, 2011 at 4:51 am

Great question Mari, sounds like my next blog post. 😉

Heather, great points. And while people gripe about music being free…it HAS to be free to some extent to share it. People don’t always buy in just because someone tells them to do it. They need a taste, and usually that taste is on Youtube or Soundcloud.

Thanks ladies!

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