The new model for building crazy fandom

8 lessons from Fred Again

Welcome, artists & builders.

Today, we’re diving into one of the best recent examples of fan-building in music & what we can learn from it. Let’s take a look.

Inside Issue #33

💡 Idea: How to build a loyal AF fanbase
 🛠️ Tools: Memberships built for artists
🤔 Breakdown: The majors sue Suno & Udio

How to Build a Loyal Fanbase

Fred Again is the model for music’s future.

He’s a masterclass in building fandom, redefining what fan interactivity & involvement look like.

  • Direct fan relationships

  • Community over everything

  • More of a friend-dom than a fandom

Here are all the things Fred is doing right - and what we can learn:

8 Lessons on How to Build a Loyal AF Fanbase


Fred has focused on direct fan engagement from day 1, prioritizing real-time, personal interactions & lean-in locations over mass broadcast channels.

→ Discord & Reddit communities
→ Exclusive Whatsapp chats
→ 1:1 direct messaging

The results may appear smaller at first, but it creates genuine community, a true understanding of your fans, and the ability to activate them in real-time.

Everything builds on this foundation.

It’s not just about big numbers.
It’s about deep interactions.


He’s pouring beers behind the bar & attending quiz night with fans. His music samples from everyday moments creating a collaborative diary.

→ self-shot videos
→ voice memos from friends
→ sharing facetimes with collaborators

There is no pretense. It’s never about being slick. Or coming across as bigger, better & more famous than you.

You're all along for the ride.


For the launch of Actual Life 3, Fred asked the most engaged fans in his Discord to host 18 launch parties across the globe.

→ Set up events
→ Spread the word
→ Listen to the album 1 day early

Superfans became the central nodes, rallying the community to connect more deeply in-person with Fred as the context.

First, feed the community.
Then, the masses.


Before his Los Angeles coliseum show, Fred hosted a secret listening party for 150 fans he found & invited who went to his first LA show in 2021.

→ He greeted each personally,
→ handed out mugs of tea,
→ & previewed new songs.

All 2 days before his first arena show in front of 77,000.

Show fans they're seen.
Show them they're valued.


Fred is constantly including fans in his process, asking for input & cultivating community-generated content.

Voting on which tracks to release
→ Asking fans to suggest local venues
→ Video recaps from the dancefloor
→ Co-creating material

Don’t serve fans “content”.
Make them part of the journey.


Fred is the king of pop-up shows.

→ No roll-out
→ No pre-hype
→ Fans find out first

Every event feels like you’re lucky to be there. You had to be in the know. It’s alive. It’s ephemeral. Fans band together on Discord & Reddit, creating guides to help each other get into the next one.

They’re marketing through magic. Through fomo. By understanding that every event or sale isn’t about maximizing profits, but investing in your lore.

What's crazy?

He's taking the pop-up show mentality to arena tours & selling them out on 3-day notice with a $0 ad budget. These decisions are backed by direct fan data, not vanity metrics like monthly listeners.

Know your fans, know your worth.
The best marketing is from the ground up.


When a fan accidentally paused Fred’s decks during his now iconic Boiler Room set, he simply flashed a smile, embraced him & it became the most memorable moment of the now viral set.

Later, Fred invited this fan to accept his Best Live Act award by DJ Mag. He took this fan’s worst moment & made it his best.

Lift your fans up.
Everyone’s in it together.


Fred finds ways to bring people together around his art.

Like leading a massive community bike ride across London to celebrate the release of Actual Life 3. Or facilitating a fan’s marriage proposal in the middle of his set.

What people want more than anything else is human connection.

This is the dopamine Fred delivers.

There Is No Formula

No rinse and repeat. But there are lessons to learn.

  1. Create direct fan relationships

  2. Embrace authenticity

  3. Put community first

  4. Reward your fans

  5. Encourage participation

  6. Create magical moments

  7. Make fans a main character

  8. Bring people together

Community building may be the most important skill you can have today.

And when done right, community can be the best fuel for momentum & curting through. Your magical moments go viral. The word-of-mouth is sticky. You’ve created a space others want to enter.

If you lean all the way in, your reach will grow.

And it will last.

- Rob

📚️ My 3 Favorite Reads This Week

Memberships Built for Artists

Bonfire lets artists build custom fan experiences in your own branding, on your own domain, and own all the data.

They’re introducing Season Passes: Memberships that link all the products, access & events from your campaigns into one cohesive offering.

Use them to drive early purchases, offer more value & build momentum through launch.

Like memberships..but built for artists:

  1. Time-bound: Yes, an end date.

  2. Clear Value: Tied to albums, tickets & things fans already love.

  3. Browser-based: Native audio, livestreams & feeds without a new app.

  4. Fully Customizable: Your branding, your URL.

  5. Interoperable: Power fan experiences on 3rd party apps.

Offer an album pass that unlocks vinyl, early listening, exclusive products, listening parties & more.

Whey we like it: Unlike endless subscriptions with unclear value, this lets you monetize & rally fans by bundling what’s in your marketing plan.

⏲️ Finally, memberships built for the way artists work.

I’ve worked with Bonfire to develop this concept. If you’re interested in building a great campaign, sign up here or reach out to me.

🗞️ What You Missed

The big news from last week is all 3 major labels are suing AI music generators Suno & Udio. Hammer, dropped. Read my full breakdown here.