A note from the FNO newsletter editor...
Hello FNO Bands and Performers,
This month's article
won't apply to all bands out there but I found it quite
interesting. I've been to shows with really annoying crowds and
it does kinda speak for the band. Tell me what you think about
the article about curbing crazy fan's enthusiasm levels.
And introducing October's featured musician, FNO member Billy G. Camp.
Festival Network Online
P.S. Remember, if you have a website, let's link swap!
|« Newsletters Archive - To view previous newsletters, check out our archives! We
publish 3 newsletters each month! Art/Craft, Food/Commercial,
|Fan Etiquette: Are The People Who Love Your Music Ruining Your Band's Reputation?
|By Sheena Metal|
generous, they're consistent, they're giving…and most of all...they
love your music. They're your fans and they come to every one of
your live shows, fork out money for cover charges, CDs and t-shirts,
bring your band gifts, throw you house parties, and spread the word of
your music on the internet and beyond. Your fans are the single
most important ingredient to the success of your band. Without
them, you'd be rocking out in your Aunt's basement to an audience of
none…well, maybe her cat.
But there can be a dark side to the hoards of happy humans drunk on
your future #1 hits. Sometimes the folks barreling in to see you
play, or flooding your websites with their online presence are causing
more harm than good to the reputation of your band. Rude
behavior, message board flaming, compulsive sticker-ing and flyer-ing,
may all seem like helping to your flock of followers but to club
owners, industry and those newly interested in your music, they may
seem like trouble-makers, belligerents and vandals.
It may be simply a case of over-exuberant fan zeal. Your fans
think they're preaching the gospel of your band to anyone with eyes and
ears: by dropping your postcards all over town like a bird with
irritable bowel syndrome, by filling up strangers email in-boxes with
bulky MP3s and HTML photo-heavy notices about how much you rock, and by
yelling your band's name at the top of their lungs during another
band's set like a parrot with Turret's Syndrome. These
unsolicited over-promotions…albeit well-intentioned…are hard for the
average person to separate from your band's own promotional efforts and
may not be appreciated in the way they were intended. On the
other hand, it may be that your fans are so revved up by the love of
your music that they've become arrogant, aggressive and just plain out
of control in any arena (or cyber place) your band inhabits. At
any rate, you may find that you need to dial these folks back a bit to
create a environment that is fan-friendly without comprising your
The following are a few tips that will help you to guide your
supporters in their quest to be adamant fans without allowing them to
turn into an obnoxious, rowdy, gang of rabid baboons.
1.)Communicate With Your Fans---A lot of problems can be eliminated by
simply setting up a line of communication between your band members and
your fans. For instance, if you know that a particular club
forbids setting around flyers, postcards or other promo materials, post
it on your website with the upcoming show info-blast. Set
guidelines for your band and for each individual show and let your fans
know that they need to follow these simple rules or they're no longer
permitted to attend live gigs and to post on your cyber message
boards. A little information can go a long way and your fans will
be happy that you let them know what they can and can't do at any
2.)Learn From Experience---Sad but true, often the best way to learn
what's not appropriate at shows is for inappropriate things to
happen. When fans begin their overblown behaviors,
benign-intentioned or not, you will learn by the reaction of the clubs,
the industry and your other fans what's okay and what's not going to
fly. A good example is this…placing bumper stickers on club walls
may be encouraged at some places but forbidden at others. The
first time you get a call from a red-faced bar owner screeching through
clenched teeth that his men's room walls have to be repainted, you'll
know that it's time to email your fan base and let them know to leave
their reserve of band stickers at home when the band plays that club
again. In another example, it may not occur to your band that
certain fans are behaving rudely to club personnel or to your other
fans, at your shows, until someone makes you aware of it. At that
time, you may need to email your naughty fans and let them know that
certain bad attitudes are unacceptable at shows, and on your message
boards, and that fans who can't be pleasant will not be invited back.
3.)Friends And Family Are No Exception---As awful as it sounds, often
times a band's family and friends are the most out of control and
obnoxious at shows…and on the web. Maybe it's because they're
more emotionally invested in the band and its members, or maybe because
the musicians forget to remind their loved one about fan
etiquette. You and your bandmates may think it's a given, but
some of the biggest jerks, idiots, and rebel rousers at gigs are your
loved ones. It doesn't matter it's the bass player's ten year-old
brother to the drummer's 60 year-old dad, you don't want to be banned
from your favorite showcase venue because granny kicked the bouncer in
the shin. Don't be afraid to sit your friends/family down and
spell out the live show/internet rules for your band. Sometimes
you can't control the fans you don't know, which makes it all the more
important than ever to control the fans you do.
4.)Lay Down The Law---Once you become aware of the "problem" fans, it's
time to explain to them what they can and cannot do at your gigs and on
your website. Before banning anyone from visiting the band's
shows and sites, try sending out a polite, but firm, email with some
specific guidelines and a serious warning that the next step will be
cutting these bad elements out of the band's loop. It's important
to try not to make the email too harsh, as it may insight further
acting up. So, just deliver the message in a casual way,
explaining that their actions are hurting and not helping the band…a
fact that they honestly may not realize. Honestly, you may need
to give it some backbone so that your jerky fans really understand that
their jig is up. If you're having trouble with someone you know
well…a particular friend or family member…a phone call or face-to-face
meeting might better do the trick. No matter how the message is
executed, it's important to let your fans know that certain behaviors
will not be tolerated by the band under any circumstance. Most
fans would rather shape up that be cut out of all of the fun, and the
band's reputation will be safe from troublesome followers for the time
It's true that fans are a band's biggest asset. But left
uncontrolled they can also be the biggest liability as your band takes
on the responsibility and reputation for the antics that its fans pull
at live shows and on websites. Like crazed leprechauns, full of
mischief, each fan's silly stunts and nasty attitude problems will eat
away at your band's good name with tiny bites…like a school of piranha
in a stream eating a full sized goat down to the bone in seconds…until
your band is left, a former shell of itself, wandering your town trying
to figure out why you can't get booked and no one visits your
website. It's not a good sign when you see a tumbleweed blow
through your music career. Nip it in the bud now. Control
your fans behavior. Trust me; you'll be glad you did.
Sheena Metal is a radio host, producer, promoter, music supervisor,
consultant, columnist, journalist and musician. Her syndicated
radio program, Music Highway Radio, airs on over 2,400 affiliates to
more than 126 million listeners. Her musicians’ assistance
program, Music Highway, boasts over 10,000 members. She currently
promotes numerous live shows weekly in the Los Angeles Area, where she
resides. For more info: http://www.sheena-metal.com.
|Featured FNO Band - The Billy G. Camp Band
Hailing from South Carolina and transplanted to Boise, Idaho, FNO member Billy G. Camp is this month's featured musician. |
Coined "Alt. Country Folkadelica: a mix of Country-Cool and Neo-Folk
injected with rock n' roll and good vibrations", The Billy G. Camp
Band's musical fusion exemplifies a rich blend of versatility
instrumentally, creatively, aesthetically, and melodically. His song lyrics are smart and the Billy G. Camp experience is a very danceable one.
Check out his myspace and EPK.
My favorite tune is "Fade to Grey", with its' big-top feeling and vocal effects. He just released a new album "Don't Stop
the Carnival" available on CDBaby.
"Take a joyride through this sonic landscape that will grow on you like kudzu." I agree! Keep on folking, Mr. Camp!
If you would like to be featured here, please email julie! Put
FNO band feature in subject line. EMAIL: julie AT festivalnet.com
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