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Updated: May 17

Music is fun, and your listeners LOVE interacting with you — and there are a myriad of ways you can connect with them meaningfully. Social platforms can often feel superficial, like a draining and never satisfied machine. Both musicians and listeners relate to this, which is why so many artists are seeking new ways to create fan communities.

To help you get ideas, we wanted to share a few actionable examples of how musicians, both obscure and mainstream, have gone outside the box to deeply connect with their listeners.

At Chainstream we get super excited about real connections with musicians and their music — and we hope these examples can be of inspiration to you. (Psst, we’d love to connect with you!)

The holistic music experience

Have you ever wondered how your listeners interact with your music?

Efterklang does, an experimental Danish post-rock band. They just launched an app where fans can hear the most recent and unpublished single whilst taking photos and recording videos. Efterklang wants to see how their music makes the fans feel, what they do and where they go. Efterklang creates a visual world that reflects their music.

Music has in some ways become commodities the past decade, in which we create endless playlists and listen to music in the background. The holistic music experience has taken the backseat, as high quality albums have been replaced with a constant push of “creating more content”.

Efterklang’s example is a heartfelt and genuine attempt at creating a more holistic music experience for listeners and themselves.

Personal connections and a unique universe

Back in 2016, I was one of 50 fans who were chosen to attend a super intimate concert with the up and coming pop artist Aurora. My girlfriend and I went to see the concert in a small warehouse in the London suburb, and had the chance to meet her (we even got a hug!).

This experience was profound to us as fans, but a simple gesture from Aurora. We’ve told about the experience to so many people, which is basically free marketing for Aurora, who’s now a musician we follow closely.

Aurora connects genuinely with her fans through her unique universe, in which her fans are cult-like (in the most positive sense of the word!). Both Aurora and her listeners refer to themselves as warriors and weirdos — references from her music — creating this notion of being on the same team. Scrolling through comments on her Instagram, we’re seeing a universe where Aurora has personal and genuine interactions with fans.

Recently, she held a private live stream for only a small segment of her listeners: warriors from Japan. I’m sure this gesture made the Japanese fans feel honoured and special. You can watch the concert.

Livestreaming with vulnerability and intimacy

On 12 September 2017, Esperanza Spalding and her band entered studio to compose and record an entire 10-track album in 77 hours on Facebook Live. To heighten the exclusivity of the project, Spalding only released the album in 7,777 physical copies — split between CDs and vinyls. She signed each copy and included a piece of the note paper on which they wrote lyrics, chords and creation-related notes (I’d love one of those!).

She clearly knows her listeners well; they care deeply about her music and how she composes it. Making it live, made the experience more vulnerable and intimate.

The album and project, called Exposure, was a huge success for Spalding. All the copies sold out before the 77 hours had lapsed, more than 1.4 million people watched live with almost 400,000 reactions, comments and shares.

Whilst live streaming an album production was the right engagement for Spalding, it might be something else for you and your fans. Ask yourself, what do your fans particularly like about you? Maybe live streaming Q&As or intimate covers for only some fans. Or maybe, as we’ll see in the example below, you play a cover that resonates with your listeners at that particular point in time.

The Coldplay way

Back in 2009, I saw Coldplay live in my hometown in Norway, as they were touring for their iconic Viva la Vida album.

Coldplay performed in an old military quarter on what was apparently the biggest stage ever in Bergen with an impressive stage show. However, my strongest memory from the concert was when Chris Martin and his crew walked into the 20,000 person crowd, making a mini stage to perform a Michael Jackson cover of Billie Jean. It was a homage to the pop-legend who had passed away only two months earlier.

Having become pop icons themselves, Coldplay understood well that their fans were mourning the loss of Michael Jackson. To me personally, this experience remains a strong memory and a symbol of the small but simple way that Coldplay connected with me — and I’m writing about it today, 12 years later.

I guess, covering songs in the middle of large crowds isn’t the type of fan engagement I’d recommend for 2021 — but I’d keep it on my ideas tab as the world’s slowly opening up again.

The Chainstream way

Music is fun! But sometimes it’s hard to remember as you hustle your way forward.

At Chainstream, we’re building a music platform where musicians get 100% of streaming revenue, giving musicians newfound time to create music and interact with listeners in more meaningful ways.

Your listeners love, LOVE, interacting and engaging with you, and Chainstream rewards your listeners with gifts when they reach certain milestones. This can be anything from concert tickets to artwork, skins, merch and exclusive live streams.

Being an artist is hard, and there are a gazillion things you need to do. We can’t solve it all for you, but we’ll make it fair and a lot easier 🍊🍋

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