I just came across this fascinating article called 1,000 True Fans. It is basically a manifesto on how, with web/Internet technologies, a creative person can make a sustainable living if they have just 1000 “true fans”:
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
The idea here is not new, but it is a nice articulation of a formula that bands have followed for years. For example, Marillion (one of my all-time favorite bands) first began exploring the potential of the Internet in 1997, when their fans (me included) donated money ($50, $10, $100 etc) to get the band to be able to come tour the USA, a venture which would have been cost-prohibitive otherwise. Then in 2000, they again tapped into their fanbase to finance their album, Anoraknophobia.
The challenge, of course, is to find 1000 true fans. Not a simple task.
Speaking of “true fans” (LOL), I wanted to note here that my band, Freakwitch, has finished our new album, Interconnected. If you are a myspace person, you can here 6 of the 8 songs on our myspace page. Or, you can listen to the full album right from your browser by going to our RPM challenge page. Or if you are “old school” net music aficionado you can download the mp3s directly from us (though PLEASE use the other 2 to save bandwidth if you are able).
We took part in the RPM Challenge in February, which is something like the National Novel Writing Month, except that you record an album rather than write a novel in a month. We decided to go for it, partly because we were tired of not getting recordings done, and partly because we wanted to give my new recording rig a test drive. Enjoy it, and if you do please consider becoming one of our 1000 true fans. :-)