You Won’t Sell Music If Your Fans Aren’t Engaged

engage your audience

Last time on The Ten Laws of Indie Success…


…We covered The Law of Indie Success #3 Take Risks. We looked at how Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs created his own niche, remained flexible throughout his career, and took calculated risks to become the richest man in Hip Hop.


This week we take at how Stormzy engaged social media followers which ultimately lead to him making UK chart history.

Law of Indie Success #4 Engage Your Audience


It costs five times more to establish a relationship with a new fan or customer than it does to repeat a sale with a previous one. If you build a relationship with your fans by sharing information and sending out regular updates it becomes easier to sell your latest release to them because they already know, trust, and like your music. It saves having to start from scratch by trying to convince fans to buy from you.


The more active you are on social media, the more active your fans will be too. When they can expect new posts from you on a regular basis fans will interact more. Getting the balance right is an art form as bombarding your feed with too many updates can become overwhelming, but forgetting that your followers exist can lead to alienation. Find a comfortable way that you can give back to them and maintain a strong relationship.




Unsigned UK artist Stormzy’s interaction on social media stepped up a gear around the time he launched his Wicked Skengman series of freestyles on Youtube. This proved to be the tipping point in his career with him quickly following Wicked Skengman 2 with All That Matters, a Justin Bieber cover, released in time for Valentine’s Day which brought a flock of female fans on board. His regular interactions on social media with his cheeky friendly banter, as also seen in his lyrical content, has become almost too infectious for most social media followers to refuse. This charm has catapulted Stormzy to new heights and on releasing a cover of Drake’s 0-100, which was recorded within days of Drake releasing the audio version of the song, Stormzy invited fans to be part of the video which was filmed on the same day he recorded the song. The finished video was made live on his YouTube channel that very night.


How are you engaging your fans online?


For most social media users constant promotion or updates about you or your band can become a turn off. Think of ways to provide value to your audience by sharing other content they will be interested in. What else are they interested in? You can also share other things that interest you such as funny vines, memes, or new music fans can relate to for you to build a stronger bond. Understand your audience well enough to know what they will respond to.


Being a great artist is about focusing on the music first. Stormzy consistently releases new music with visuals and lyrical content to not only blow his fans away, but which also wins over new audiences. The secret to success is always in adding value to fans by not only creating great music that speaks their truth, but by creating memorable moments they can all be part of.


Are you posting content your fans will find interesting?


Real audience engagement is about getting fans to take an action, so, always remember to ask. By asking your fans to buy your music or sign up to your mailing list you are creating a two way relationship in which you are able to communicate with them more fully. This level of communication inspires fans to become evangelists of your work, thus encouraging others to become part of your movement.


Stormzy set out on an unprecedented marketing campaign which started with an open invitation to the Wicked Skengman 4 video shoot. Days later the song was released on iTunes as part of an EP, and next he was to comb the streets of London in search of anyone who had Wicked Skengman 4 on their phone. Fans who could prove they had bought the song received a free pair of Adidas trainers in return for their loyalty and support. Stormzy’s next move was to select 30 people randomly, plus a guest, to join him for lunch at Nandos. To enter fans simply had to reply with #WSM4 and follow @NandosUK on Twitter. Lunch was followed by the ‪release party at Noisey headquarters in London; the event was live streamed on What stole the show and became a viral video in its own right was footage of Stormzy handing the mic to a female fan, during his performance, who performed the lyrics to his popular track ‘Shut up’. This is the level of interaction Stormzy fans have come to know and love, an authentic connection which makes Stormzy the people’s champion. A win for him is seen as a win for everyone, so when the UK national charts were announced that week it was an exhilarating moment for all music fans to learn that Stormzy had made history by entering the national charts at number 18 with a freestyle, something which had never been achieved before especially by an unsigned artist with no label or radio support. To celebrate the monumental occasion the Wicked Skeng Party was announced with details on how fans could attend.


How can you ask your followers to take action?


“I want it to be the biggest warning shot to the industry. We are coming. We’re coming with dutty freestyles, with menacing themes, and horrible language over merky beats and guess what? You have to play it!”


In the course of one year we have witnessed Stormzy win Best Grime Act at the MOBO Awards and Best Newcomer at the BET Awards. His humility during his MOBO acceptance speech showed a deep sincerity and honesty not usually expressed by artists in his genre. Later that month he became the first unsigned rapper to appear on Later with Jools Holland performing ‘Not That Deep’ from his Dreamers Disease EP. Since then he has sold out shows in Copenhagen, Australia, and a sold out UK tour, Live In The Flesh which kicks off this October.


Take Action!


Book a 30 minute consultation to plan a strategy for your music brand. Find out how to…


  • Engage your fans online

  • Post content your fans will find interesting

  • Ask followers to take action



Next time on The Ten Laws of Indie Success… The Law of  Indie Success #5 Create Customer Experience

Deb McKoy