Audience versus Fanbase

This is a blog for Alfie Boe fans by a fan – which led me to think about the difference between audience and fanbase.  Luckily, my thinking led me to the following blog post by Bobby Owsinski on his music blog.  Basically, Bobby looks at what an audience does and how it differs from an artist’s core group of fans – and he does it far better than I could!

Reading Bobby’s blog, it soon became apparent that only a small amount of people can be classed as super fans for any one artist and that the term super fan in no way relates to the general popularity of the artist.  Take Alfie for instance, he is a popular artist who can fill arenas as demonstrated on his Storyteller tour of 2013;  however, of the huge numbers of people who saw that tour, only a relatively small amount went more than once.  Equally, only a small amount of Alfie’s fans spend quite a lot of money and even more free time on Alfie (sound familiar to anyone reading this???).

The general popularity of an artist in the public consciousness doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have their own loyal super fans.  Hadley Fraser and Ramin Karimloo are both West End stalwarts, and although both are becoming more and more well known, they aren’t household names either.  They do however, have what I would term super fans who regularly turn out to gigs and shows they are performing in, and often more than once.

Here is Bobby’s blog:

Modern Music 3.0 marketing strategy talks about building your fanbase, which is essential for ongoing success.  But how does a fanbase differ from an audience?  They’re both groups of people that consume the entertainment you offer, but each has a different mindset.

An audience consumes your music or sees your shows and then moves on with no lingering effect.  They don’t buy your merch, seek out your music, or add you to a special playlist.  Their involvement is temporary.  They can be classified as “casual” fans.

Using a television analogy, an audience tunes into a television show, but doesn’t engage in social media around the show or seek it our online if they miss an episode.  They don’t talk about it to their friends, or even think about the next episode.  it’s passive consumption.

On the other hand, a fanbase is rabid in their following.  They’re interested in everything about the artist, even down to the smallest trivia.  they own merch, try to make every show, watch every video, and follow closely on social media.  they’re more commonly labelled as “super fans”, “uber fans”, or as marketer Seth Godin calls them, “your tribe”.

A fanbase, is essential to success because they are the fans that will always be with you.  They are the fans that will support you, buy your product and see your shows.  They are the fans that allow you to continue to make music because they demand that you do so.

In Music 3.0, the smart artist caters to the fanbase because it’s easier to determine what they want.  While you’d like to turn your “audience” into fans, the fanbase are the ones that ultimately pay the bills.

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1 thought on “Audience versus Fanbase

  1. Roberta Kappus

    Jane – Thanks for the blog. That was a really interesting article and not something I thought about. I guess I know into which group I fall.

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