How can enhance artist/fan interaction

People rave about for a lot of reasons, but one you rarely hear is how it can get artists in touch with their fans. I’ve had three experiences like this in the last few months, and each has been a fun thrill in its own way. All have come about because I keep a journal on there about music, promoting the artists I like and reporting on shows I see:

Skywriter are a band from Copenhagen. They sound kind of like Leonard Cohen meets Brian Ferry via David Bowie’s Berlin era. They’ve got one record on an indie label. They’re not exactly tearing up the charts, but it’s one of my favorite records of the year. So when I got the chance to write a review to that effect at Its A Trap (a site I’ll write about in another entry), I did. And then, as I usually do, I cut and pasted it into my journal. And who should show up in the comments on my journal entry than Skywriter’s singer/guitarist/songwriter, there to tell me how good my review had made him feel. Now he and I send occassional messages to one another.

I also wrote up in my journal logs of all the concerts I saw in the 1980s (I kept records! though they should have been better). So I get a message from someone saying “I was in that scene, I was at a lot of those shows.” And lo and behold, it was someone from one of those great local bands I saw so many times back them. Someone I knew in high school and liked but never kept in touch with. Now we email.

Last week I wrote a report on the incredible reunion show I got to see by late 70s/early 80s underground icons, the Embarrassment, and this morning, I got a message from one of the guys in that band, telling me how “warm and fuzzy” my write-up had made him feel. Like the guy I knew in high school, this was actually someone I’d known in the 80s, but he didn’t know it was me when he wrote.

I have seen messages that artists leave in fans’ shoutboxes (visible on the page for all to see), things like “I saw you listened to our last record a lot, our new one will be out next week.” So at least for less famous bands, is working as a vehicle for locating the people who are listening to you, or who are writing about you, and engaging them directly.

I’ve written before about acknowledging the rewards for artists of having direct interpersonal connections to fans, and all these stories drive that point home. Performers, especially those who don’t sell a lot, are happy happy happy to have a way to reach those who are buying.

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