File Under: Making Money With Music, Booking and Performing Live

Since the dawn of music, fans have wanted to form a connection with their favorite artists. Today, technology makes all musicians global while bringing all of their fans within reach. We're not just talking about social media: there are many new ways you can interact directly with your fans and give them that personal connection beyond your music while also making money.

Fans today have greater expectations from the artists they love. Social media is one way to give your audience and fans a feel for who you are, and what you're like, but there's many more ways you can connect with them than tweets. Your personal contact with your fans will make a difference in cultivating and growing an audience so we're going to share ten ideas you can use over the next two weeks.

But there is another opportunity that opens up with these options below: a new income stream. Some of your fans want access to you and are willing to pay for it. It's up to you to decide whether you want to give them this option, but if you do, the list of ideas below are not just fun ways to hang out, but income opportunities you can offer to your superfans. Consider using these as fanclub perks, crowdfunding/patronage rewards, or special ticketing options for your shows.

This week we'll focus on how you can do more to create a deeper experience for your fans when you play live. Keep in mind, these are simply idea generators. They're to get you thinking on what's possible given today's technology and communication tools. Some ideas may not be right for you, your music, or your privacy or social media tolerance, but may spark other ideas can explore.

With that in mind, consider using one or more of the following to connect with your fans:

1. Create a backstage or sound check pass, and/or VIP seating.

The things you take for granted or routine can be a unique experience for a fan. Give some fans access to the behind-the-scenes, invite them to your sound check, or reserve a section of the audience for them. You can create special tickets for a select few of your super fans so they can join you. And by restricting these experiences, you make it all the more special. Set it up ahead of time via your social media presence and create a special ticket for them to print out and gain access. Always reserve time to talk and engage with them. Of course, don't let their access mess up your pre-show prep and sound check. Also, if the venue is large enough, you also have the possibility of giving them VIP seating areas. This is perfect for high-rollers or premium fan club members.

2. Hold a pre-show dinner/post-show hangout.

Similar to giving fans access to the behind-the-scenes of your live show, you can also give them access to a pre-show dinner or post-show hangout.

3. Perform a House Concert.

House concerts are increasingly popular with touring bands to augment their income during tours (and might even give you a place to stay the night that's better than sleeping in your van). But house concerts aren't just for touring -- you can perform at anyone's house. The idea is to offer this to your fans online and make a special event for them.

4. Stream your performances online.

It doesn't take much to perform a song or two using your computer and video streaming and communication tools like Google Hangouts, Skype, or a streaming platform. As we discussed in more detail in our DIY Advisor article, The Secret to Building a Following on the Internet, streaming can be a powerful way to grow an audience. But you can also restrict access to your stream to a select number of participants, creating a special event where you can personally interact with them in the process. Also, some of the musicians who have done a great job developing fans through streaming don't stop at simply playing music shows. Some musicians stream and talk with their fans as they drive around or do other things throughout their day. This again lets fans in behind-the-scenes and can give them a deeper glimpse into your personality and daily life.

5. Pre- and post-show party bus.

Some people just want to party with you before and after a show, or even if there's no show! For instance, some musicians have had success with renting a bus or van, getting some adult beverages and snacks, and throwing a mobile party across town. Of course, they also have a bus or designated driver for safety reasons. If you plan it right, you can charge your fans access to be part of the bus. It can be a good income source as well as a good time.

This is just the first five ideas. Check back next week for the next 5 which will focus on non-live show events.


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Photo credit: Osman Kalkavan