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A viable path to making a living as a full-time musician

Posted by Mike McCready | November 27th, 2012 | 1 Response

Many argue that if you have 1,000 true fans who are engaged you could make enough money to earn a modest living and dedicate your full time work to your music. Once you reach that level, you can quit your day job and you’ve got a foundation upon which you can build a music career.

So if that’s true, we thought, let’s build a tool that helps musicians get that done as quickly as possible. We did. It’s been running for a while and the results surpass our most optimistic expectations so it’s time to connect the dots.

Acquiring new fans without a major promotion, a hit, or some other career altering event has always been hard work. Little by little building up a loyal following can take years. In order to short circuit that process and acquire an online fan base, many artists have paid someone to drive in new Twitter followers, YouTube views, Facebook likes and later were disappointed because the quality of relationship they are able to build with these kinds of “fans” couldn’t exactly be defined as “engaged”. Sometimes, many of those fans turned out to not even be real people.

Other musicians have paid to have their music played on one of the streaming radio companies and in return received a few email addresses of people who are supposedly are into them. But then they send them an email and never hear back.

Yeah. We’ve been there.

We created Fan Match to solve that problem; to hook real music fans (whose identity you access) up with independent musicians. So, we started letting music fans who say they want to discover new music, sign up for our site. They tell us what kind of music they like.

Then, when you upload new tracks (or edit existing tracks you already have in Music Xray), you enter the names of three known artists whose fans would likely be your fans too if they only heard your music. As soon as you enter that information, we show you how many fans we have in our database who might be in to you. As our fan pool grows over time, so does the number of fans who are likely to like your music. Every time you log in you can see how that number grows (this is all free on Music Xray and you can go calculate the number of fans we have for you right now).

So let’s say our system says we have 150 potential fans for you. When you run a Fan Match campaign, we send your track to those 150 potential fans and we guarantee they will listen. When they do listen, they decide if they want to become your “direct fan”. If they do, you get their email address and a link to their Facebook profile. Plus, they can even tip you real money.

Speaking of which, that’s a bit of an upgrade we just made.

Fans acquired via a Fan Match campaign now include a link to the fan’s Facebook profile.

If you have already run a Fan Match campaign, go check in on it right now. You will notice that all of your acquired fans now have a Facebook icon beside the new fan’s email address. Now, you can just click through and see who your new fan is.

So, the best way to use Fan Match is to run small campaigns. Learn how the product works, how to launch a campaign and how we calculate your cost per acquired fan. Once you’re confident the product works and that the fans you acquire are by and large engaging, launch a campaign to acquire 1,000. Then, all you have to do is engage your fans once you acquire them. “Friend” them on Facebook, engage them, develop a relationship with them, covert them into true fans. Then, quit your day job. Tell us about it when you do and we’ll feature you on the site.

Click here to learn how to see the number of potential fans we have for you.

Click here to see how we calculate your average cost per acquired fan.

See today’s announcement about the new Facebook profile link to your new fans.

Mike McCready is an entrepreneur at the crossroads of music and technology. He pioneered the introduction of Hit Song Science into the music industry and followed up with Music Xray, the company he co-founded and serves as CEO. His companies have been the subject of case studies at Harvard Business School, IESE and he frequently guest speaks at many of the top business schools around the world. He helps the music industry identify high potential songs and talent and helps musicians get deals, get fans, & get better: