Thursday, March 18, 2010

Establishing Your "Tribe"

Here's another excerpt from "Music 3.0: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age."

Establishing Your Tribe
According to Seth Godin, the originator of the tribal concept (from his landmark book "Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us"), a tribe is  “…a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea…” In M30 (Music 3.0), a tribe is connected to each other and the artist via their passion for the artist’s music, but the leader is the integral part of the tribe. In fact, without a leader the tribe is only a “self-organized group.” As an example, a blog may have thousands of readers who never add a comment, so this makes it a group. The blogger could be the leader, but if she’s the only one that posts, there’s still no tribe.
Now we’re assuming that there are more than 3 people that are passionately connected to the artist, since this is obviously essential to the creation of a tribe. The music is what connects them to the artist and to each other.
The Leader
The most important thing that the tribe needs is a leader. Although the artist is the most logical leader, a representative that speaks for the artist could work as in that capacity as well. In the old fan club days, the fan club president acted as leader and today she still could be the leader of the tribe, but unless she directly represents the artist, the tribe isn’t as powerful or as dynamic as it could be.
So how does one become the leader of the tribe? The leader initiates contact with the tribe and leads the conversations. For instance, the artist/leader might send or post a tour schedule with a list of “meet and greets” especially for tribe members. She makes it easy for everyone to participate and rewards the members that do so. Before the artist makes a new recording, she might ask the tribe what direction they’d like her to go in, then reward the ones that respond with a link to download a special mix of the song. And most importantly, she gives projects to tribal members to work on. The artist might ask for suggestions on venues in a certain area or to pass out flyers before an upcoming gig. Remember that tribal members are passionate and truly want to be part of something. Active participation fulfills that longing.
However the leader reaches out, it must be authentic and show true caring for the tribal members. Tribal members can feel in an instant if you’re just going through the motions and the tribe will begin to dissolve. If you’re posting just as an exercise because “That’s the way M30 works, dude,” then you’re better off finding a surrogate leader.
The next thing that a tribe needs is a place to meet. This is pretty easy in M30 as there are a variety of alternatives from blogs to Myspace, Facebook, Twitter or a custom social network on Ning. Whatever the online technology used, the tribe has to be able to communicate with each other easily or the glue that holds the tribe together will be weak. That being said, even a simple mailing list can be enough to connect the tribe.

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