Andrew Dubber: Shut Up And Listen To Your Fans

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As someone who once spent the better part of an internship solving captcha puzzles and spamming ‘potential fans’ for artists on MySpace, I found Andrew Dubber’s recent article on Social Media Reversals to be quite refreshing.

In it, he contends that since the online marketing default strategy of many artists appears to be “to do whatever it takes to get followed and increase your audience size,” perhaps, they should consider listening more than they talk.  In this respect, artists are using the web as more of a broadcast medium to help them broaden the reach of their message.  When what they should be using it as is a conversational medium to actively engage their current and potential fans

To inspire artists to shift their mentality and approach to online marketing, Dubber argues that rather than encouraging their fans to 'Like' them on Facebook and 'Follow' them on Twitter,  artists should consider having a form where the fan fills out their own contact information. Beyond that point, it’s up to the artist to craft a personal, timely, and relevant message that the fan would want to receive.  In order to send such a message it would require an artist listen to the conversations that their fans are having and then determine the best possible way to reach out to their new fans.

"The idea behind this strategy is that the artist can then continue to develop their fanbase as a discrete number of people, and communicate with them (broadcast to them) on a regular basis," Dubber writes. "A smaller number of engaged and interested people is worth far more than a large number of people who are either disinterested in or actively annoyed by your communication."

He further concludes that by "listening more than talking, an artist’s social media interaction has the opportunity to be far more engaged and responsive and in order to facilitate this, there lies the potential for an online service  to provide the opt-in signup facility, as well as the data analysis and interpretation that will inform conversational media strategy for the artist."

In response to Dubber, fellow music industry commentator Refe Tuma asserted that “I wonder how willing fans and potential fans will be to volunteer that information in an age where getting someone to sign up for a band’s mailing list can be like pulling teeth!”  He says that part of the problem with this approach might be that either way the “fan needs to opt in by volunteering personal contact information.”  The difference being that if artists took Dubber’s suggestion, it would require fans to forfeit more personal information than before.

Though the idea of opt-in signup facility is certainly innovative and maybe even needed.  Seeing as the dynamic reversal would help artists shift their perspective of online marketing.  It's hard to know how fans would respond to the idea giving up even more personal information--if indeed they responded at all--and whether or not the artists on the other end would be able use the information properly 

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