Build Community, Not Audience

PLUS: Tools to create social release moments, check-in on GrimesAI

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Welcome, artists & builders. 

Each week, I cover new tools, context & strategies to form better audiences. Today we tackle community as a growth strategy & how to create shared moments.

Inside Issue #8:
💡Context: Golden rules of community
⚒️ Tools: Make your releases moments
🦁 In The Wild: Check-in on GrimesAI
📊 Numbers: wait…how many AI songs?


Build Community, Not Audience.

Community is the great unlock.

It’s no longer just Artist:Fan, but many Fan:Fan relationships. It orbits you, but is greater than you. It binds a group tightly – sometimes to incredible levels (see BTS, Phish, Taylor Swift) - creating evangelists & encouraging others to fully commit.

When you feel part of a community, it’s part of your identity.

Community Usually Follows Fandom

It’s organic. Artists are trying to flip that script, but trying to bootstrap community poses an existential risk...

To bring people into a community early, you need to promise something:


More you. More something.

Enter new expectations & responsibility.

Now Things Get Tricky

The more you force it, the more often it backfires. It no longer feels authentic. And authenticity is everything. Lose that - make it feel like you’re playing your fans - and you’re cooked.

People smell bs & know when they're being used.

This is what many forget while maxing out their biggest supporters: those relationships are sacred. Pervert it by overfinancializing or overpromising and it is long-term devastating.

Violate that trust at your peril.

Tech ≠ Community

New community-building tools provide strong infrastructure & the ability to hardwire incentives & rules:

→ ownership
→ governance
→ reward systems
→ gamification

But if what you’re building doesn’t resonate, the tools won’t matter. Tech can’t make a community.

My Golden Rules of Community

  1. Listen.

  2. Be authentic.

  3. Don’t force it.

  4. Give up control.

  5. Give before you take.

  6. Underpromise. Overdeliver.

On Authenticity

I recently spoke to successful community-building artist Rae Isla. She felt like she was traveling the country shaking hands & kissing babies. And she loved it. It was 1:1, over & over & over again. She was creating a connection with every person that was lasting & real. This wasn’t just the work, but the reward itself.

You can’t fake that. And people see it.



Create Shared Moments

Stationhead is a social streaming platform where artists & fans listen live together on artist-hosted stations.

Host a release party or recurring show where you talk, play music & add guests.

How stations work:

  1. Talk: Chat feed & live talk

  2. Streams: Every listener counts as a paid stream for every track (via connected Spotify/Apple accounts)

  3. Earn: Fans can buy releases during release parties (see Blackpink example). Also tips & brand partnerships.

  4. Fan Stations: Fans create sub-stations within an artist’s ‘Fandom’.

Collectives & labels should host weekly music shows where they connect with members.

Why we like it: Music is all about shared moments, but these are hard to generate today. This doesn’t replace streaming - it builds a stronger social layer on top.

😮 8 million users (Gen-Z heavy) with daily users averaging 2.5+ hours per day.

4 more social music tools…

  • Turntable Live: Share your dancefloor. Play your jams. Get too low on the vibe meter & you get the hook.

  • Tidal LIVE: Create a session & invite friends. All listeners count as a stream. Tidal now features sessions from curators & friends on the home page.

  • Koop: Think Web3 Twitch. Play, chat, tips. Set up quests. Live mint any moment & sell collectibles from any platform in-stream.

  • Amp: New from Amazon. Create live talk & music shows. I guested on Hesta Prynn’s show this week. Anyone can start a show.


How many AI songs are out there?

Just a single generative AI company casually stating they’ve pumped 14 million+ songs into the ecosystem in their short existence. Cool.

🦁 In The Wild

How Is the GrimesAI Experiment Going?

It’s been 12 days since Grimes said she’d split royalties with AI generated songs using her voice. Since, her Elf.Tech platform added stems, a way to upload & means of distribution.

As a marketing campaign, it’s a clear winner. You can’t miss Grimes’ right now…without having released a single song.

And artists are tapping in:

  • Total Users: 15,158

  • Avg. Audio Transforms/User: 7

  • Total Audio Transforms: 19,316 voice transforms

And…the music? The first convincing AI Grimes song is here & it’s a banger - Kotomi’s “Another Life”

It is almost always rewarding for initial artists to experiment with new tech - particularly ones in the headlines. Let’s see if any songs take off.

What You Missed

Heavy on AI this week. 👉 more on Music x AI news.

I’ll leave you with..

See you next week. In the meantime, catch you on twitter or linkedin.

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