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Ben Weinman subscribes to the belief that early adopters are your strongest flag waivers. They love identifying something new and spreading the word about it. It is crucial to draw these influencers in, especially at the beginning of an artistic career.
Early adopters were a key part of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s success. Early in their career, they played a show at an autobody shop to about 10 people, but one of those people happened to run a venue in Philadelphia. He had an unforgettable experience so he invited them to play his venue, which then led to a show at famed punk venue Stalag 13.
At Stalag 13, they played with a bunch of bands who were on a particular label — and while the label guys didn’t see them play, they did hear everyone talking about their show. And so they came to the next show. It was this word of mouth energy that allowed Dillinger’s first album to get picked up by Relapse Records and led to lots of their subsequent success.
+ Read more on Flypaper: “How to Define Your Audience Demographics to Better Market to Your Fans.”
Cultivating Passion & Fervor
One key element of engaging early adopters is you want them to feel passionate about your music or your overall product so that they’ll spread the word. They need to feel proud and excited to talk about you. That’s why it was so important that Dillinger played their hearts out to a small room of 10 people.
How to Reach Early Adopters
The projects that catch the attention of early adopters and spread via word of mouth are fresh, out of the ordinary, or special in some way. They tell an infectious story. Early adopters tend to thrive on knowing trends before they take off, so you want to give them that feeling with your music and the scene around it.
As you can tell from Ben’s story, this also requires persistence and consistency. After all, it takes time for word of mouth to spread.
There are a number of ways you might catch an early adopter’s attention, whether through your music, your brand, your values, your live shows, or something else. To start, you may want to ask yourself a few questions:
- Your Music. If I put my music in a playlist amongst today’s top records, would it stand out? If not, why not and how could I make it stand out a bit more?
- Your Story. Do I have a message or story that makes me unique? Am I sharing that story?
- Your Ethos. Do my fans have a clear idea of what I stand for? What does being my fan indicate about someone?
- Your Current Fans. Do I already have fans who seem like early adopters? What about my music/brand interests them?
At the end of the day, it’s not about being weird, it’s about being you. So start getting comfortable expressing yourself and leaning into what you love.
As Ben emphasizes, getting buzz and word of mouth isn’t about spamming people on social media with photos and stories about yourself. It’s about giving them an experience so unforgettable, they’ll want to tell their friends about it.
If you already have some fans, reach out to one or two of them to find out what it is they like about your music and art. Ask them how they found out about you and what stuck out to them.
Understanding what drives your current fans to support you will help you focus more on your core service and find new fans who share similar characteristics.
Rev Up Your Creative Engines…
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