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Make a Living with ONLY 1,000 True Fans

Written by Admin on March 27, 2008 – 8:26 am -

A recent post by Kevin Kelly entitled “1,000 True Fans” has garnered quite a lot of attention online lately.  He puts his own artist related spin on the “Long Tail” concept. Basically, Kelly argues that musicians can make a nice living by winning over 1,000 “True Fans”, meaning fans that love you so much, they’re willing to pay a day’s worth of wages to support you and enjoy your work in a given year.

Here’s an excerpt:

Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day’s wages per year in support of what you do. That “one-day wage” is an average; because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let’s peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks.

One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that True Fans appreciate.

The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans. They are giving you their support directly. Maybe they come to your house concerts, or they are buying your DVDs from your website, or they order your prints from Pictopia. As much as possible you retain the full amount of their support. You also benefit from the direct feedback and love.

So what does this mean? You don’t have to be Metallica to be a successful musician or band. Thousands of indie musicians are making a nice living catering to their audience. They achieve this by making smart use of the Internet and the hundreds of tools available now that weren’t 20 years ago.

When you gather “true fans” be sure to treat and serve them well. In the end they will reward you!

Read Kelly’s entire post and the reaction to it.


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