- At the bottom in white we have the "True Fans," sometimes described as "superfans," 'uber-fans,' or as Seth calls them, your "tribe." These fans love you and everything you do, and as a result, will purchase the most obscure product that is of no interest to virtually anyone else, even the artist himself. Think rehearsal recordings, studio out-takes, sound check jamming and stained undershirts of the artist. The True Fan wants it and will pay for it.
- "Fans"are a bit more casual about it. They like you but don't love you. They'll buy certain items but could care less about anything obscure. They can be turned into True Fans, but it will happen either over time or the release of that one song that puts you over the edge.
- "Listeners" are the next down the totem pole of sales. These are people who have heard of you and maybe even heard some of your songs. They neither like nor dislike you. They may turn into fans at some point, but just as likely might not.
- Next comes "Friends." Notice how low in influence circles that your friends are at. Don't ever rely on them for sales or spreading the word. They're your friends. Like know you and hopefully like you, but it doesn't mean they like your music. In fact, most of them probably don't but will still support you because of your friendship. You probably don't have enough of them to make any significant sales impact anyway.
- Last comes "Strangers." They've never heard of you before. Maybe they like your kind of music, must most likely not. They are blissfully unaware of your existence as an artist.
1) Don't waste your time trying to convert friends to fans. It's such a long shot that it's not worth the time or effort, and can even be detrimental to keeping your True Fans happy.
2) Don't waste time on your friends. You don't have enough of them to worry about, and they're probably only being polite anyway.
3) Be aware of your listeners, but don't try to convert them to fans. The chances are it won't happen.
4) Fans are important. They already like you and have told you so, probably by buying product, signing up to your email list or friending you on a social media site. They can be turned into True fans, but at this point, you can't count on it so you can't spend a lot of effort trying.
5) Your True Fans love you. They will walk to the ends of the earth to tell others about you. They are your evangelists and will covert others into Fans and True Fans for you. They are to be embraced, coddled and cultivated because they are your future.
Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.