Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a built-in monthly income that you could rely on that came solely from your music?
Picture it. Every month you get to show up to your most loyal, excited, enthusiastic fans, giving them a sneak peek into your life (and maybe a few extra goodies along the way) and in return, you could see a paycheck ranging anywhere from $50 to a few hundred, or even a thousand dollars a month?
It’s not only possible, odds are it’s a very probable reality. Even if you’re just starting out, even if you don’t think you have a huge fanbase, using a fan membership—either on your own website or through an established one—is a really powerful way to build your monthly music income while creating deeper connections with your fans.
Here’s the thing though—there is a right and a wrong way to run a fan membership. It’s not going to be enough for most people to simply put out music and ask fans to fork over $10/month. There has to be something more to it—and odds are you want to give that to your fans. After all, you want to support and appreciate them in the same way they do for you.
So, how do you do it? Here are three creative ways you can use a fan membership.
This is probably the first thing you thought about, and for good reason. When you think of fans wanting to support you, it’s natural to want to give them access to things that directly relate to your music, such as first access to songs, exclusive b-sides that no one else will hear, and merch that only fan club members can buy. This is a great option, and definitely one of the tiers you should offer. But, don’t stop there. Make it more enticing than simply saying “you get a first listen.”
For instance, maybe fan club members will get a special discount code that gives them 10 or 20% off whatever they buy in the store. Maybe you create a small run of merch exclusively for fan members so that they know whatever they’re getting is just for them. (and as part of that, feel closer to the other members because of it)
Make a big deal out of it. If they’re going to support you emotionally and financially, you want to make sure they can tell how much you appreciate it. So don’t be afraid to get creative.
Giving your fans more of you
Most of the time what your fans really want more of is you. They love your music, yes, but they also want to get to know you as a person, not just as a musician. Coincidentally, this is also how you’ll attract more fans and build stronger relationships with them by sharing more about yourself, your journey, and who the person behind the artist is.
There are a few ways you can do this. The first (and I highly recommend doing this at any and every tier) is to do regular blog, video, or audio updates. Anywhere from once a week to once a month is a good way to check in with your audience and offer them a personal look into what’s going on in your world. If you’re comfortable on video, start there. It’s a much more personal way to connect with fans, and it’ll expedite the process of them feeling like they know you better.
Another way to share more of you? Give them something that no one else gets to see, but that is a crucial part of your process. For instance, you could offer them one extra song per month. This doesn’t have to be a super polished mastered song (but could be!). It can be a remix of an old song, an acoustic version, or just something new you’re working on that isn’t finished yet.
You can ask them for advice (“I’m really torn between these two lyrics—which do you like better?”) and create a community of discussion among yourself and your fans.
At its heart, it’s this discussion and inclusion that will drive more fans to subscribe.
One of a kind VIP experiences
Last but certainly not least, we have one-of-a-kind VIP experiences for your fans. With this one, the possibilities are endless but the goal is the same: create an experience so uniquely tailored to your fans, that it could never be meant for anyone else.
This would likely be one of the top tiers of a fan membership, and should let the fans who opt-in know just how special and appreciated they are. Just how much you truly know them. For instance, if your music is classic pop-punk, nostalgia-based, then maybe you throw a virtual or in-person pizza party for fans where the room is decked out in 90s nostalgia, games, and paraphernalia for fans to take home. (even better if it’s branded with your band, like a squirt gun with your logo or pizza box with your brand name and a bunch of stickers and merch inside for fans to take home)
With a fan membership, it’s not only a great way to earn extra money but to truly get to know your fans and allow them to get to know you. If you can tap into that energy when brainstorming each tier, each experience, and each fan’s unique, individual experience, it can be an unstoppable way to grow.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves ice cream, reality TV, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.