1000 True Fans

It has been a slow news day so far (what can I say–it’s 6:30 AM!), so I’ll follow David Bruce Murray’s lead and post a link to this fascinating article.
Executive summary: This article makes the case that an artist only needs 1,000 true fans–fans who purchase everything they release–to make a living. Everyone else–the occasional fans, who will purchase something they particularly like–is the icing on the cake. But if you can build a solid fan base of 1,000 dedicated fans, you can build a long-term career.
I don’t know that I would agree with everything the author says, but the article certainly is thought-provoking.


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2 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Maybe this is ONE of the reasons groups try to keep in touch with fans on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. By letting us know what’s going on with them and what products that they have available, they’re much more likely to develop those 1000 (+) fans. Another indicator may be the “homecomings” or other scheduled events (such as PraiseFest or Celebration, etc.) that groups encourage their “true” fans (I like the term “super” fans better) to attend. I know the Memorial Day Legacy Five Celebration draws 2,000-3,000 every year (Labor Day’s Celebration is not quite as big). I don’t know how many fans attend PraiseFest (this will be my first year to go), but I’ve got to think that anyone who would pay the price for these events would surely have every product that the group has to sell. Interesting article.

  2. A couple of observations…

    1. I think the author has one artist in mind. For a Southern Gospel quartet supporting a minimum of five creative types, the figure would have to multiply to 5000.

    2. The article doesn’t merely state that having 1000 true fans will sustain you. The artist is responsible for creating at least $100 in product for those fans to purchase each year. In Southern Gospel, we have some groups that go eighteen months without releasing a CD and the conventional wisdom is that this is a “good thing” to keep from saturating the market. If you only create $15-20 in art per year, then it would take considerably more true fans to sustain a living from it.