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Building a Fan Base
As Easy As 1-2-3

by John Wilmott

Originally, I was planning on publishing an article by John Wilmott of Celtic Ways. But the "article" was actually a promotional piece designed specifically for the Celtic Ways roster, and was less of an article than I anticipated.

So instead, I'm going to lay out the main promotional idea presented in the article. John was writing about putting on a Celtic version of Club MP3.com, called Ceilidh 2001. For those not familiar with Club MP3.com, it is an MP3.com-sponsored tour of 50 US cities by mainstream MP3.com. Celtic musicians were excluded, so we would do our own.

But in order to make a successful event, we need larger regional followings. Here's the advice John has on building a fan base.

"For those of you who have not built up a substantial fan base I will try to work with you to make this happen and the best route to this is through newsletters. With some of you, you'll need help getting people to subscribe to the newsletters in the first place.

If you are gigging that's the easiest way. Make sure you make it easy for people to leave email addresses on the way in or out of the gig. Even bolder would be to get people to give you the email in the middle of the gig. You might make up an "Email Song" and add a traditional tune to the lyrics and then have someone pass around a guest book where everyone leaves their email address.

If you are not gigging your only option is to visit chat rooms and forums and talk to people and collect email addresses. You could hold a yard sale and have your music playing and collect email addresses from visitors.

Best Buy & others are clearing out old 74 mins CDRs right now very cheap. Put 3, 4, 5 of your tracks on each one and use the paper folders instead of jewelcases. There is a way you can print regular paper and fold to hold a CD too - try it out !!!!

Then go to somewhere where these is people and hand them out free in exchange for their email address. You'll get 100 subscribers for under $20.00 cheaper than placing ads, doing flea markets and paying record stores to promote your CD."

Andrew went online and found a website that sells inserts and CD labels in bulk for pennies each. Sure it may cost a small bit to start, but this is one tip that I'm jumping all over.


John Willmott is a former Celtic and English folk song, dance and story performer who now commits to producing and promoting Celtic and Folk Music for the net. Visit his Celtic Ways Jukebox.


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