FINDING MY TRUE TRIBE
I have got thousands of social media connections across dozens of social media networks, but I recently read three different articles describing the definition of ‘True Fans’ and knew that I needed to start over.
All I need is 1,000 people that love my music enough to show up at local gigs and buy the music as it comes out.
I received a start-up loan from the AIM Start-up’s (Association of Independent Music) and with the £7,000, I also received a mentor for 12 months. My mentor is Steven Howell, a music insurance broker and band manager. He introduced me to my lawyer and accountant. He gave me sound and sage advice.
All I need, in addition to a smashing insurance agent for my gear, is a lawyer, accountant and PR Manager that are willing to help me get established at a price I can afford with a view to working with me long-term.
One of the things my mentor advised me to do was join the MMF (Music Managers Forum). I had never heard of it. They house music managers of some of the most famous musicians in the world and I wasn’t sure if they’d let a self-managed musician in the door. But it was fine. I quickly got used to hearing people talk about musician’s as ‘my artists’ without grimacing. The MMF took me to Facebook HQ where I learned how to manage my fan page better and realised I have more advanced social media skills than quite a few established music managers.
All I need is to figure out how to earn a living from those skills. How to do the right things more consistently and avoid the mistakes that dilute rather than build momentum.
And I still don’t know how to create and nurture a fan base for my bands or television shows.
I joined BPI (BRIT Awards) and went along to a meeting. It was a bit like a PTA meeting at school, there were the usual cliques, a few outsiders and open animosity between a few obviously long-time enemies. It was all very interesting to watch from the absolute outside of everything and everyone in the room. I took selfie’s by the front door like a true gawping tourist. I was the odd, middle-aged woman in dreads and the unmissable red cap… the only black woman in a roomful of total strangers. It was liberating to be that free. I roamed around the back of the room by the drinks table. Kicked off my shoes and made myself comfortable as I listened carefully and watched everything and everyone.
All I need is to understand how the mainstream world of music works… without getting overwhelmed by the business side of the music business. The Heads of BBC Introducing and BBC Music were there.
I asked the Head of BBC Introducing about allowing people to upload their music by genre groups instead of regionally, using our case in point, BBC Cambridgeshire has invited us to perform live sessions twice. BBC Suffolk selected our band to play StowBlues Fest 2015, but BBC Kent doesn’t reply to our messages and they neither get nor like our music. We could be ‘introduced’ to a group of listeners that are actually into groovy-bluesy-funk-punkish-pop, if we moved to Suffolk, otherwise, we’re tough out of luck.
All I need is far better luck or a house near a BBC Radio station that invites me round to chat and sing and plays my records. Oh wait! All I really need for this task is one true fan that’s also a BBC Radio Presenter IN MY HOMETOWN.
I went to a Synch-licensing event sponsored by AIM. Now that was interesting. I sat there in a veritable sea of black and gray very smart outfits and there I sat wearing a red knit cap which was frayed and unraveling a bit around the edges. The rest of my unremarkable outfit went well with the hat. I sat there with only my camera for company, and my own thoughts. Actually, the guy next to me was perfectly polite and we passed the time chatting as strangers do sometimes.
All I need is a few more colourful hats and colourful stockings that don’t match my warm sensible clothes. I already have the mismatched socks.
Despite the clothing malfunctions, I absorbed a ton of new ideas as several Music Supervisors talked about what they do. At one point Frankie Pine asked if everyone in the room knew what a Music Supervisor does and since everyone seemed to know, I stayed quiet and consoled myself with the knowledge that I’d figure it out as we went along… and I did.
All I need is 3 to 5 true fans that are busy Music Supervisors.
It’s nearly midnight and I’m adding names to an Excel spreadsheet and writing this blog. I created four tabs so far:
These names have meaning for me. Perhaps your categories will have different names. ‘Fans’ are people likely to show up and invest in the music. ‘My Tribe’ is the list of people that actually work with me towards mutually beneficial goals, so that’s my band mates, the actors on the shows I write, the production and camera guys that help create television and film projects because they’ll share in the prize money if we actually sell something.
My ‘allies’ are the venues that will let us rehearse and/or film for free or very little money, the organisations that will showcase us at their festivals and other events, the radio presenters and stations that actually play our music, the music venues that repeatedly book our band and soon, our theatre group. Our allies are outside businesses and people that benefit in their own way whilst helping us out.
All I need is to stay in touch with my allies, let them know how I’m getting on and show interest in them sometimes because alliances, like friendship, flows both ways.
Our ‘potential allies’ are the music supervisors that could place some of our songs in a blockbuster movie or international advert. They’re the funding agencies that could choose to award us with grant money to do anything from run a festival to tour across the United States. Our potential allies are the managers of the music venues and festivals we haven’t played yet. Our potential allies may be in the room at the next BPI, MMF or AIM meeting I attend.
All I need is to be myself, because the real me will attract or repel potential allies, so it’s best to keep it real upfront. Besides, it’s far more comfortable on the fringes, free to move around… looking in when I feel like it.
My true tribe is made up of fans, work-mates, allies and even potential allies, because they’re the potential allies are ones you have to hunt and gather… in order to do that you have to be proactive and on top of your game.
Your potential allies are in a sense, one of your best assets. Just remember to look after your entire ‘true’ tribe.
I write songs, television shows and movies. But I think this is going to be my first book. The working title is ‘Finding Your True Tribe’. I will devote the RhondasSongs.com website and brand to doing just that because I read that it’s important to have a brand that’s not actually your product or line of products.
Think about that. If I can build my true tribe and help others figure out how to build theirs, then I have a ‘How to build a true tribe’ brand and my music/television/film career as well. I hope this journey is fruitful for all of us interested in the #findingyourtruetribe experiment.
If you’d like to be a fan or ally then please send me an email atInfo@RhondasSongs.com and I’ll send you a free EP of unreleased songs.
All I need is a good word from someone everyday and I’ll try to do the same for someone else.
Send me a tweet @RhondasSongs and I’ll reply as long as it’s not spam or pornography.
All I need is a real person being real with me and I’ll do the same.
‘Like’ my Facebook page https://Facebook.com/RhondasSongsDotCom and you’ll be able to follow the soon-to-be epic journey.
All I need is at least one person everyday to join in the true tribe that’s growing there. Share music clips, photos etc… that you like with your friends and followers.
Listen to my music on Soundcloud and if you like it, click the little heart icon to show some love. http://soundcloud.com/rhondassongs
All I need a little love and the odd nice comment from a real person that enjoyed what they just heard.
If you really love the music, then buy a copy of the album and come see our band, Rhonda and The Great Unknown, when we show up to play a gig in your area… bring a few friends too! You can keep track of where we’re playing on the band website. http://RhondaandTheGreatUnknown.com
If you’re curious about the television shows and movies I write, then visit my company page at Blue Red Green Media LTD. http://BlueRedGreenMedia.com
If you’re trying to build a brand, a company etc… I hope you find your True-Tribe too. The first step is to define what you need, then figure out bit by bit how to get what you need in each category. For me, I’m looking for fans, allies and potential allies. My tribe-mates are pretty much set. I even found a lawyer, accountant and PR Manager. Now I need to find a way to pay them for the things I need them to do.
Rock and Roll.
Rhonda Merrick is an American singer/songwriter who moved to England in 2006.
She writes music, television and film projects.
For bookings or to recommend music venues/events to Rhonda send a message to: Info@RhondasSongs.com