How to Build a Fanbase and Grow Listeners Organically

How to Build a Fanbase and Grow Listeners Organically

Fans are one of the most important aspects of being a musician. It’s like that age-old question, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well, if a band plays a song and they have no fans to hear it, are they really a band? 

You don’t need a million fans to build a successful music career, although it has been said that you need a thousand true fans to have a sustainable career. A true fan is not to be confused with the casual listener. A true fan is a diehard fan, one that will follow your band on tour and buy everything that you produce, be it band merch or your latest EP. 

To find your true fans, you first need to build a fanbase. If you’re just starting out, it may seem impossible to get even a few die-hard fans. Don’t abandon hope! There are dozens of ways to build a fanbase and grow your listenership. It might not be easy (nothing worth doing is), but it doesn’t have to cost you much upfront. 

Follow these steps to learn how to build a fanbase and grow listeners organically. 

Types of Fans 

First things first: not all fans are equal. When you go out to pursue building your fanbase, it will not be made up of the same people. Some are going to be engaged in your content, while others are going to be superfans. You will not want to use the same marketing strategy to target these fans. 

There are four main groups of fan types

Engaged Fans

These fans are browsers and observers. They stumble across your content but don’t do much more than give it a listen now and then. 

Advocate Fan

Advocate fans subscribe to and actually engage with your content. They follow you on Tik Tok and Spotify and actively like/comment on your Instagram posts. 

Purchasing Fans

Purchasing fans are where you’ll start to see your true fans. These fans will attend your shows and buy t-shirts from your merch table. These are great fans. 

Super Fans

You might not see many super fans if you’re a small band still trying to make it, but these are the absolute die-hard fans that will collect your band memorabilia and contribute to your Wikipedia page. Sometimes beyond superfans, you get cult fans who may pre-fund work and will want to own originals.

How to Get Fans 

When you really start honing in on how to grow a fanbase, you will focus your marketing efforts on the “purchasing” fans and above. However, if you are brand new and don’t have a fanbase yet (or don’t know your fans yet), these steps are for you. 

1) Social Media 

Social media platforms are going to be the quickest way to reach the most amount of people without needing to spend an exorbitant amount of money. Do a little research to see what the best social media platforms will be for your particular band, but it’s a good idea to make a Facebook page, Instagram account, Tik Tok account, and a Youtube channel. 

These platforms all promote sharing and engaging content, so your fans can easily help grow your fanbase just by interacting with your content. Get your audience involved by creating polls, doing live AMAs, and asking your fans questions. 

2) Play Live Events 

Local events may not have the same global reach as social media platforms, but they can help you grow your fanbase on a local level. If you play local shows consistently (and are good), people will start to recognize your name and will go out of their way to see you perform. 

Charity events are a great way to get exposure and give back to your community. You shouldn’t play for free very often (no artist actually wants to get paid in “exposure”), but an ideal partnership will provide valuable promotion to you and the organization. 

Also, play private events if you can get them. Advertise your band for weddings and private parties. People are always looking to hire live music for private events. Word of mouth goes a long way, especially for bands just starting out and looking for gigs. 

3) Collaborate with other Artists

Just like playing at live gigs will expose you to new people (and potential fans), so will collaborating with other musicians. When you collaborate with another artist on a new piece of music, you will automatically get exposure to their existing fanbase. Assuming you are musically similar, it’s very likely that you will convert at least some of their fanbase to become your own fans.

4) Email Marketing 

Once you’ve figured out how to get initial fans from your social media channels and live performances, consider email marketing. Email marketing is one of the most successful ways to generate income as a musician. 

Sending out monthly or weekly newsletters with your upcoming gigs and other important band news will help keep your bands engaged. Instead of playing with social media algorithms and hoping your fans see your posts, emails will go directly into their inboxes. 

Consider giving away a free song download to anyone who signs up for your email list, or enter them all into a drawing for a giveaway. In addition to your show lineup, consider giving your email list exclusive access to content or the first opportunity to buy merch or concert tickets. 

Offering exclusive content is one successful method in the journey of how to get fans. 

5) Sell Merch

When figuring out how to build a fan base, you might not think that making and selling merch is a big factor, but it can certainly help you to grow your fan base. Not only will good merch be engaging for your current fans (especially the “purchasing” ones), it is also another form of advertising. 

Think about it: if you have a bunch of people walking around with a cool t-shirt that has your band name on it, there’s no telling how many people are going to see it and look you up. The goal is to convert them into fans. 

Now, if people are interested in your merch after seeing other people wearing them out on the town, you need to give them an easy way to buy the merch. Even if you’re a small band with a shoestring budget, you can sell your merch online. How? With the help of

Make Merch and Get More Fans with

At, we want to help talented people make great music and make more money, so we make it easy for entertainers to easily sell merch on demand to fans. We hope musicians like you design and sell kickass merch on the marketplace, and your fans keep coming back to buy more since we are all for fan engagement and designs that don’t suck.

So, now what? Well, you now know how to build a fanbase. The next step? Sell merch

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