||The Ramblings of an Independent Artist
Fans, Proof, and the 'FRONT LINE'
© 2000, Christina Fasano. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.
So much goes on in a month of promotion. Not only the physical part of emailing sites to ask about submissions for reviews, features, contests, inclusion on their sites, the mailing out of the packages; the tracking of sales and charts of my music on current sites, the endless and quite useless attempt to keep up with the vast opportunities for exposure; the reading of articles, group list emails, visiting music info. sites, and I could go on...but also the emotional part of rejection, disappointments, waking up in the night in fear about this road to success and how much more blood, guts and money it wants before I can step into a good place of survival with it. Mainly, financial survival doing what I feel I was born to do.
Two things have been on my mind in all of this swirling of work. Fans and proof. These sort of go hand in hand. I start out with a product, it starts getting some exposure here and there, people listen - those that like it seem to like it in a big way and become instant fans. They have their proof. Those that don't like it move on to music they do like. All these people have gotten easy proof that I am worth their time and money or not. And they don't sit there and say..'well is this marketable?' They don't care. They either like it or not. And if they like it, in their opinion it's marketable. And why wouldn't it be? They 'are' the market!
My fans have just been wonderful. I call them my 'front line.' They are the ones responsible for helping me get the word out there that I am worth paying attention to...they build the 'proof' factor. They go here and there voting and downloading helping to raise the chart numbers, helping to boost attention in contests, they all have my CD or have heard my music, and they talk about it to their friends. They are my 'Front Line.' Because of them, others pay attention...others check me out and get their 'proof.' Without them...I am nothing really. Just a girl sittin' here with CD's in boxes. Now the other type of fan that I covet dearly are the 'reviewers,' and those that do interviews, who not only love the CD but want to write about it, expose it in a bigger way, and have the site or the magazine, newsletter, to do it in. Obviously when we stumble upon a good review of music, it makes you want to check it out - hence another great potential to build 'new' fans. Add to the front line.
I can't speak about radio all that much because I haven't gotten that much airplay. Some, but not enough to generate a buzz or get people calling into the station asking who I am and where they can get my product. Personally I wish that radio would allow the DJ's to give out the website address of the artists they are spinning. So not much of a fan base is growing for me here as yet.
But, the end all, be all of promotion in my mind besides radio and T.V. is playing out live. A good venue with lots of strangers can be a goldmine for new fans and CD sales. I always get names, addresses AND email addresses. These people can become a very important part of the 'front line,' on the Web.
And so this 'proof...' We artists have had to try 'prove' that we are worthy of a major labels attention. This is always a weight in my mind. I'd rather not even approach a major label. And I haven't. I have one friend who referred to me a huge label and I submitted my product. But I am not holding my breath and actually would be afraid of the potential deal that would be offered. I don't want to get tangled up in major label politics. I don't want my CD's shelved. I don't want my masters taken from me or tied up in litigation if things go sour. Plus I don't like majors listening to my songs anyways...because of the 'proof' factor. You sit there waiting to see if the big guy is gonna think you have something marketable. Bulllsh... Even with the limited sales I've made, I know my music is marketable. I know it because of the kind of fan response I receive. The kind of response that says to me "Christina, your songs make me feel good." "The lyrics speak to me." "Sometimes when I'm down or struggling, I think of this song...or the lyrics to this other song." "The more I listen, the more great things I hear." These are not one time responses. These are constant responses. Constant. And everytime I hear them or read one in an email, I cry. I cry because the fans 'get it.' They 'get' me. They 'GET' the artistic vibe that my product is saturated with. And I'll tell you right now, that is the absolute greatest gift an artist, a true artist can receive from the fans. That they understand and relate to the music.
I don't have to prove to these fans with my life on the line. With a major label or big industry exec., one feels the necessity to prove and if not accepted, feels like they are a failure. This is crap. So I move forward with the mentality that I have to not think of a major label deal. That I have lots of work to do and if I want to survive and live doing what I was born to do, then I better keep on goin' and not dream of some 'pie in the sky deal.' I won't put myself under a major label microscope to be cast aside if their viewpoint of my music is negative. How frustrating is that???!!!! And how stupid since independent artists have more tools than ever these days to make a big noise. To render the proof that comes almost automatically through fans, reviews, interviews, sold out shows, sales.
My 'front line' has done wonders for me this past month. I've been riding the charts very high at Soundclick.com and have had unbelievable amounts of hits at my own site. My site at Mp3 has begun to generate good chart positions and some D.A.M. CD sales. I've had wonderful attention from the folks over at MusicDish.com with Ben Ohmarts review that appears here, reprinted over there and I'm currently in the lead in their BATTLE OF THE BANDS contest. I've had several wonderful music reviews this month and April promises to bring more.
So in closing, I must bow down to the fans and to the people who have reviewed, interviewed and/or featured me on their sites.... and say thank you. Thank you kindly for allowing my music into your heart or soul. And now....Front Line ready -