You better know your fans

Plus, TOBi's artist-owned platform & Spotify's new profiles

Welcome, artists & builders.

Each week, we navigate music’s future together. Today I’m sharing a story that helped me understand the power of knowing your fans.

Inside Issue #21

💡 Idea: Know your fans
🦁 In the Wild: An artist-owned platform
🔧 That Helps: Spotify revamps artist profiles
🗞️ Plus: The Sphere, fundraises & more

When I was 23, I learned the power of knowing your fans.

I was promoting a show for an artist in a 1,000 cap room. The manager sent the contract back signed, but crossed off the marketing budget.

Managers usually want more marketing, not less.

This guy wanted zero.

"Why?", I asked.

“Why waste money hoping to reach people who might be interested, when I can just directly message everyone I know cares?”

Simple. Obvious, even.

But, overlooked.

The show sold out & the artist pocketed 85% of that proposed marketing budget. The manager likely did this every show that tour, netting an extra $100k+ (and making every promoter love them).

I felt like I had just learned a cheat code.

It's not just that this artist had an email list (everyone better) - it's that they had done all the work to convert everyone into it & understood how to activate them.

They built their tribe and KNEW the power of it.

It's so simple, but when you know your fans, you have a superpower.

- you're not reliant on algorithms
- not constantly rediscovering & reselling
- not wasting money on inefficient ad dollars

Everything becomes repeatable.

There is no better marketing plan than having a direct relationship with your fans.

Building a tribe compounds.

Capturing Fan Data

Use every opportunity to upgrade your relationship. Both online & IRL.

  1. Create moments for fans to join in

  2. Onboard smoothly & effectively

  3. Create fan segments (location, intent)

  4. Set up welcome sequences

  5. Nurture & stay engaged

Spend as much time on email, SMS & community as you do on social content.


📚️ My 3 Favorite Reads This Week

  1. 28 thoughts on seeing U2 at the Sphere, by Steven Hyden.

  2. Building audience vs. building fandom, nice Midia piece that dovetails nicely with my last piece on fan intent.

  3. Why there’s never been a better time to be a creator, by Hunter Walk.


Bring Your Fans Closer

TOBi created his own corner of the internet.

Ahead of his 3rd album with Sony/RCA, TOBi felt the need for a space that was genuinely his - where he owned the relationship with his fans.


His own platform where fans can dive into TOBi’s universe. Experience the album & surrounding context in his full vision, with comic-style visualizers that bring the album’s narrative to life.

🎧️ 3 Listen Modes: Album. Demo. Stem.
💬 Chat: Connect with TOBi & other fans
📺️ Livestream: Release day listening party
🧔 Profiles: Customizable avatars
⛰️ Missions: Engage to unlock deeper layers
🎙️ Convos: Interviews with album collaborators

Plus, extra context, new releases & hidden artifacts from the record.

Tell Your Story: So much music experience happens with artist context ripped away. TOBi tells his story in his own aesthetic, letting fans go as deep as they want.

Intent: He created a place for deep, meaningful engagement that highlighted big fans & welcomed new ones. 32% of visitors completed 10+ missions.

🎨 Be your own platform & craft the experience you want your fans to have.

From TOBi’s manager:

It is the first time in his entire career that we really feel like we have control of even a sliver of his audience. We have to honor and nurture that attention, but we don't feel like we're competing here with other content on Twitter or Instagram (and we are fully in control of where things go from here).

In a way, it is like a return to the Tumblr or mini-blog era when an artist could build their own little corner of the digital world and truly display their taste and aesthetic in a way that felt unique. So we went a bit old school in order to try and achieve something we have struggled at on platforms we don't own for years.

We seem to be identifying high impact users and true fans. That alone is worth the cost of doing business.

- Jon Tanners


Spotify revamps artist profiles

Concerts & Merch finally get more focus.

3 new tabs across the top of artist profiles:

→ Music
→ Events
→ Merch

Testing showed a 15% jump in ticket purchases thru the app & 22% increase in users purchasing merch once visiting the merch tab.

👏 Convert listeners into fans at every opportunity.

🗞️ What You Missed

🧰 Oh, That’s Helpful

Thanks for reading.

Catch you next time. And see you on Twitter or LinkedIn.

- Rob