From Band Manager to Fan Manager at Music. Marketing. Management.

by Matt @ Kurb on November 29, 2008

Get 10% off a kurb online music marketing management package in US$ when you ask for a “fan manager” – 3 month campaigns now only $US450! email kurbpromo@gmail.com
I’ve been talking a bit about “fan management” recently on this blog.

Because maybe you don’t need to find a band manager for your music, you need to find a fan manager.

This is the new model. You might still need a traditional manager figure who goes into bat for the artist to bust balls and make sure they’re being looked after. But now that the music industry has changed to enable musicians to engage fans directly, we start talking about a “fan manager”.

This describes the changing role of band and music management to incorporate tasks that face the reality of  creating revenue from music because increasingly now, you’ve got to go directly to the fan.

And you’ve got to understand the complexities of how fans are engaged online.

I’m only talking about this now because I turned up on the http://www.fanmanager.net site and they also have a blog at http://fanmanager.wordpress.com– which was how I found them, their was a trackback on their link to a Lefsetz post.

It’s funny that they refer to themselves as “fan managers” because that’s a term I’d begun using that recognises where the most important work is going on in the music industry now, and that’s enabling artists and enabling fans, not making backroom deals with high rolling music industry dons.

Now Fan Manager the business intrigued me and I thought was worth a mention because they are obviously dealing with a higher level of client than I do and most likely charge accordingly. But they run a very comprehensive service. It’s inspired me to start thinking how I can bring my service levels up in the way these guys have because they’re projecting a powerful solution to cover the great many varying needs of artists building a brand and interacting with fans in a digital era.

Here’s what they were offering in their service packages. Yes, I know many many shonky music service websites promise so much – I’ve just about seen them all – but I saw a lot of evidence on the site that these guys were actually doing this stuff, not just providing a big long list to impress people!

  • Fan Club Management
  • Street Team Creation, Building and Management
  • Work Exchange Programs (Merchandise Booth, E-Mail List Teams, Festival Teams)
  • Database Management
  • HTML Newsletter creation
  • Online Street Team Creation, Building and Management (E-Teams)
  • Social Media Creation, Design, and Management (Social Networks, Blogs, Micro Blogs & Widgets)
  • Viral Marketing Research
  • Viral Marketing Campaigns (outreach on blogs, message boards, forums, chat rooms, etc)
  • Comprehensive reporting using pictures, digital reports, and screen shots
  • Creative Contests and Promotions
  • Setting Up and Overseeing Special events such as listening parties, DVD Parties, and meet and greet events
  • Graphic Design (handbills, posters, stickers, admats, etc)
  • Printing (B+W, 4 color process, cutting, and sorting)
  • Website Design, E-Cards, and Animated Banners
  • Website Back End Management
  • Tour Date entries using all mediums
  • Shipping (FedEx, Priority Mail)

Even if they don’t deliver half of what they say they do or they’re being a little ambivalent, that sure is a solid list of services that a modern marketing or fan managing company or service provider should be aiming to provide for musicians and other clients.

I’m not sure how these guys run their operation but with my work, I need to be paying one on one attention to my clients whenever possible because when you’re carrying out this work, so much is required to personalise and customize services to the specific act in order to make marketing communications and fan management authentic and successfil, as well as research involved to develop methods of qualifying and targeting high quality contacts and cultivating a growing group of connected and enabled fans.

And also it’s something for me to aim for because if I could do a decent job of all that I could definitely start charging more but as it is I’m still affordable!

I notice there’s a few things that they don’t mention that I do, such as SEO, PPC and ad supported revenue – I guess this is more hardened internet marketing stuff and they are, afterall, “fan managers”.

So maybe, given the needs of the large clients they serve who already have established fan bases that need maintenance, this suggests interacting with fans becomes a core revenue operation.

One you reach that “1000 true fans” point, then you bring on your “fan manager” who helps you facilitate an authentic relationship.
Especially if you’re paying in US$. How about this – the coupon code is “fan manager” if you mention that you want a “fan manager” I’ll take 10% off my service in US$. That’s $500 down to $450 – $150 US per month for comprehensive online music marketing management.

In a new model I see, musicans and entertainers require the assistance of a trinity of support parties to create revenue.

The first is the producer or the musicians musical mentor that aid the musician bringing their musical product to the most professional standard possible. This might also include someone who takes responsibility for ensuring the “talent’s” video content is also of a high standard.

The second is an agent. An agent takes a commission based on bookings and placements.

And the last is the fan manager.

Before I’ve said that the last was the online guru but I think just taking the attitude that some geek can fix your problems with technology isn’t going to be enough.

That’s why this term “fan manager” is so important. Rather than a band manager who used to organise your relationship with your label and with your agent if they didn’t already act as your agent, out of economic necessity your manager now must be proficient in organising and monetizing your relationship with thousands of fans to make it authentic and valuable for them so that the experience they get motivates them to make purchases – and of course the fan manager will facilitate such commercial operations online.

So last thing I want to say is how are you engaging fans and is their someone in your team dedicated to this?

Have you “got it” yet that the digital music revolution now is all about engaging fans?

They can have your music for free. But earn their respect as Lefsetz said, and they’ll pay for it anyway.

Gerd Leonhard compared them to puppies. Feed them free content and they’ll be loyal to you for life.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Erik 11.30.08 at 4:16 am

Thanks again for the nice words!

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