Artists should focus on creating their own music communities.
A music community is more than just having listeners or fans, or working with managers or agents. Music communities are groups of people who work in tandem to support an artist. This creates an ecosystem that supports and lifts an artist up.
Here are 7 ideas for creating strong music communities:
1. Use existing online music scenes
Online, music scenes tend to develop in corners. You can discover music artists in places like:
- Niche forums
- Twitter topics
- Instagram hashtags.
Artists who can see a music scene forming, and think they would fit into it, can interact with people within. Becoming a “leader in the scene” has to be a very organic process. The idea is not to enter the scene directly to promote yourself and your music. Your core goal should be meeting people and making friends with similar passions to you.
When approaching music scenes, your goal should be to integrate, not infiltrate!
First, develop recognition in a music scene. Then, people will naturally begin to know that you’re also an artist. This will increase as you have more conversations.
Forums and subreddits might have specific boards you can post your music in. Lovers of the scene go here looking for new things to listen to. Make sure not to spam “discussion” threads with your music.
You’ll likely develop relationships with other artists. Subsequently, will follow each other on other platforms and support each other’s promotion.
You might pick up the attention of DJs and journalists/writers in the scene who could feature your work. This gives you access to potential fans who follow their influence.
2. Your owned music communities
When marketing, we talk about owned, earned and paid media. It’s useful to loosely think of building music communities with a similar perspective.
Firstly, in our previous article, we spoke about how to get followers on social media and how to get listeners on Spotify. You often have to pay for services like adverts and promotion – we can consider this paid media.
You can think of this segment of music communities as “paid communities” too.
Secondly, earned media is shares of your music with external networks. This could be features written about you and your music in the music press. It could a tweet about your song or a shout out on TikTok from a highly-followed influencer.
New followers and listeners generated by earned media can be considered your “earned music community”. Typically, they will be more loyal and closer to the fan status than your paid community.
Finally, owned music communities are very active and engaged followers. They are either close to becoming fans, or are already.
Truly “owned” music communities are those you can contact outside platforms like social media. These platforms can stop you being able to communicate with your music community. So, owning your community is wise. The widely accepted best way to own your community is to collect their email addresses and maintain a newsletter. Then, you’re in control of contacting them at your disposal.
3. Music communities on social media
Social media is an obvious option for building a music community. This has been a successful strategy for many. For many others, a frustrating mental health-depleting challenge.
Some tips for managing a social media account for your music include:
- Although encouraged by the media to “consistently post”, you don’t need to dedicate your life to social media. Make use of post schedulers so you don’t have to show up everyday. It’s important to hold back plenty of time to be creative, learn and have healthy life away from the digital world.
- Ignore vanity metrics. Likes don’t really mean anything. Remember your end goal: *owned community* and generating monetary income.
Don’t try to game the algorithm. If you put attention in trying to boost metrics that you think the algorithm will like, you’ll stop thinking about building your community.
- Focus on community over likes by getting to know people via DMs. This gives you a more personal and direct way to make friends with somebody.
- As soon as social media stops being fun and about talking with like-minded people, close it for a few hours.
- Don’t chase attention. Post your content, engage with people who interact and then be patient. Go do something else and come back in a few hours or so.
- True organic social media community building is a slow game. It might bring less than one new genuine follower a day. Remember this and you’ll feel less stressed when you don’t see progress overnight.
We will be posting follow-up articles on how to build music communities using social media with each platform.
4. Music communities on Soundcloud
Soundcloud used to be a very community-centric platform. Over the years, it has become less focused on community. It’s now more focused on algorithmic recommendation and innovative monetised streaming.
Despite this, there are still ways to get more followers on Soundcloud and build a community:
- Put together a list of artists who make music similar to you. Then, note some things they have in common between them on the platform.
- Check out things like the tags they use. How do they fill out their metadata? What information have they put in their descriptions? Take note of any of the same fans are commenting on the songs, especially if they are fans who seem to have some influence.
- Send fans you find mutual between other artists a well-crafted message to introduce. Be personal, talk about why you’ve messaged them and why you think they’ll like your music. Treat each individual as their own person. People will be more likely to follow you if you are personable. So, don’t copy and paste messages!
- Use Soundcloud as a listener – engage with other people’s music. Add it to playlists and reshare it. Pop out a little message to replies you get to introduce. Ask if they’re interested in listening to your music too. Don’t send links until they confirm they’re interested, though. – They will feel more compelled to listen if they’ve agreed in advance.
- Ultimately, tagging is everything for discovery. It seems like music communities aren’t a focus for Soundcloud anymore. But, you can still make genuine connections.
Soundcloud lands on a page called Discovery. This page is about introducing you to new music and artists. It works based on what you’ve already listened to on the platform. Discovery feeds you more of what you like. This includes:
- New Tracks “just for you” (based on listening history)
- Soundcloud Weekly (listening history)
- Artists You Should Know (based on other artists you follow)
- Genre curations
- Other curations from the Soundcloud editorial team
Getting your music in front of people on this page seems to come from a mixture of properties:
- Correct tagging
- Legitimate reposts
- Some momentum on the activity on the track in a short period of time (“virility”, on a miniature scale).
The Stream page shows new music and reposts from people you follow. There’s no doubt that active users use this page heavily. To make sure you’re getting the furthest reach on this page, you need to utilise reposts from other people. It is worth building a network of friends and reposting each other’s uploads. This means your new music isn’t just going to your followers, it’s going to your network’s followers too!
Artists followed on Soundcloud seems less important to Soundcloud than discovering new music. They’re proud of their algorithm! Therefore, Soundcloud seems to be a “top of funnel” tool. Make sure your profile is properly optimised. This will help you to keep new listeners up to date.
Don’t forget to audition your Soundcloud songs on Vampr for increased exposure. Show potential new connections what you’re all about!
5. Music communities on Discord and Slack
Discord and Slack have become the ultimate “community” platforms. Having instant messages and segregated channels make for useful exclusive (sometimes private) communities. These are like Reddit, but ringfenced.
Some of these communities can only be accessed by paying. This isn’t always a bad thing. The access to like-minded people and immediate ability to IM and get to know people is likely to pay off quickly.
Artist development communities like Music Production or Songwriting Discord/Slack servers are extremely useful for high quality feedback. You’ll meet friends in these communities. Then, you can exchange promotion of releases together.
Start by looking for free music communities on Discord/Slack. Next, get a feel for adding it to your networking duties. If you find you’re getting a lot of value, consider other options. Don’t forget to ask new connections where they go to build a music community!
6. Music communities on Twitch and YouTube
Twitch and YouTube are definitely places to consider building music communities.
There are a lot of changes happening right now. Building music communities on both Twitch and YouTube each have steep learning curves.
We will cover both in their own articles in the future.
For now, it’s worth doing some research into video production and editing and trying to develop some basic skills. Quality stands out more and more on these platforms, as the vast amount of content increases. Knowing how to put your best foot forward is important.
7. Music communities on Vampr
Vampr is an app built to discover, create and nurture music communities. Not just online, but making it super easy to meet up with people in your local area and start a local music scene.
New features such as Vamps and Questions make it easier than ever to find your tribe. It’s the easiest way to build authentic relationships and a community in music.
How to build music communities using Vampr:
- The discovery tab is the fastest way to meet new contacts for your network or projects. These could be people sharing the same interests as you. Alternatively, they could be contacts specifically for a band or production. You can search based on location, genre, skills and age. Get swiping and connecting with awesome people now!
- Audition your music and videos on your Vampr profile is a non-invasive way to get your music heard. Even people you haven’t connected with yet will listen to your music! Make sure you make your profile the best it can as a first step to getting people listening! ?
- Use shoutouts to create short sharp messages to your network. This might be a collaboration need or a short update about an achievement. Try to encourage people to reach out to you because of what you’re saying by making it more about them than you.
- Vamps are the main way to keep your network up to date on Vampr. Use this feature to record videos, post images or audio to your current network and beyond. We’ll be following up with an article about how to make the best use of Vamps.
- Questions are a brilliant feature on Vampr. These allow you to get insights and knowledge from the Vampr community. There are a variety of music-related topics to choose from such as:
- Distribution & Publishing
- Use questions as a way to engage the Vampr community. You will effectively grow new followers and learn about topics and your audience.
Communities who share comments in exciting posts inspire others to get involved. This naturally grows your network through the power of community.
Remember, Vampr is currently optimised as a peer to peer network. Connecting with potential fans will be a by-product of getting feedback from your peers. Hone your craft and then work together to reach wider audiences.
Using Vampr to build your music community cuts out the saturation and distractions you’d see on other social media platforms. You can come home to Vampr and always know you’re only going to see music-related content.
These are just 7 ways to build music communities online, and there are many more.
Maybe, the most important takeaway is that relationships built online (or offline) should be seen as true friendships and not transactional.
If you start your networking journey thinking about what a likeminded person looks like for you, it’ll be easy to find them.
Download Vampr to find local musicians, collaborators or industry executives to help support your music career today.