Consider the 100 True Fans that Kevin Kelly so famously coined, there’s a whole variety of fan-types out there. Don’t mix them up!
‘Fan’ is a metric of measurement of a persons dedication to your music.
Lets get something straight: a friend can certainly become a fan, but is not by any means, an inherent fan.
When any artist first begins creating their music, the friends are the initial support system: looked to for feedback, to attend the first shows, to help spread the word, etc. And in most cases, friends are more than happy to do these things. But ultimately, these people are supporting YOU because you are a friend, and not necessarily supporting your music as a fan.
The Bandwagon Fan
Bandwagon-ers are those who join into a fan base simply because it is the popular thing to do. Often doing more speaking than anyone else, many bandwagon fans will be the loudest in the room, trying to prove that they belong. While this sounds great, these fans are ultimately less interested in you and your music than they are the other fans and their own sense of belonging.
These are short-term fans who will add little value to your fan base and unfortunately will most likely disappear as quickly as they came.
These are passive fans that they will enjoy the music as others share it or post it to their blogs, but ultimately won’t take the action needed to seek out and listen to the music on their own time.
Don’t misinterpret these fans though, as The Listener is truly the lowest level of fan that you do want to put your effort into. With a little effort, a listener will most likely become a hobbyist.
Unlike Listeners, The Hobbyist fans are actively seeking new music from new and existing artists. These are fans who may have stumbled upon a song they liked and decided to look into the band a little further. However, for the most part, this research is done just to find a place to stream music or download music for free.
The lack of willingness to purchase music right now is because these fans are still unsure about the need to experience the music on a long term…
The Committed fan is someone who buys all of the music and sees the artist/ band perform when they come to town. These are fans who will engage with artists on a regular basis through social media and will sign up for the official mailing list just so they can remain up to date on any and all news.
These are the fans that can be counted on to check out and even share blog articles, youtube videos and even tweets. Typically fans that are committed to your music will be similarly committed to another artist as well and it will show through their Facebook and Twitter updates. In other words, these fans should be highly valued and time should be spent creating real relationships, as these are the fans who will likely convert their friends to become fans as well.
The Superfan is the golden egg. These are the fans that can launch a career. A Superfan will buy an album, then buy it again when a special edition is released. A Superfan won’t just go to a show, they go to as many as they can. A Superfan is beyond a dedicated fan- they have established an emotional connection so strong with the music that it becomes a piece of who they are.
Superfans take their fandom to the streets, and are the best candidates for street team and tribe members. If you find yourself with a Superfan who is almost religiously following you and/or your music, do absolutely everything you can to empower them to continue to build your fan base for you. These are the fans you WANT to give exclusive music, behind the scenes videos, backstage access, etc. as they will be the most likely to reverberate any value you give to them back to the rest of the fan base.