An audience consumes your music or sees your shows and then moves on with no lingering effect. They don't buy your merch, seek out your music, or add you to a special playlist. Their involvement is temporary. They can be classified as "casual" fans.
Using a television analogy, an audience tunes into a television show, but doesn't engage in social media around the show or seek it out online if they miss an episode. They don't talk about it to their friends, or even think about the next episode. It's passive consumption.
On the other hand, a fanbase is rabid in their following. They're interested in everything about the artist, even down to the smallest trivia. They own merch, try to make every show, watch every video, and follow closely on social media. They're more commonly labeld as "super fans," "uber fans," or as marketer Seth Godin calls them, "your tribe."
A fanbase is essential to success because they are the fans that will always be with you. They are they fans that will support you, buy your product and see your shows. They are the fans that allow you to continue to make music because they demand that you do so.
In Music 3.0, the smart artist caters to the fanbase because it's easier to determine what they want. While you'd like to turn your "audience" into fans, the fanbase are the ones that ultimately pay the bills.
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