On this episode of the Co.Lab Sessions podcast, Michelle Cable digs into the role of superfans when it comes to not only connecting with audiences but establishing a sustainable music career. Michelle is the founder of Panache, a global artists management company and booking agency whose roster includes Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Rodrigo Amarante, and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.
Here, Michelle shares new and creative ways artists can collaborate with their audiences, why artists should foster community through a fan club, and how focusing on super fans can create longevity in an ever-changing industry. Listen to the episode, plus check out key takeaways from Michelle below.
Highlights from Michelle Cable’s Co.Lab Sessions episode
Start a fan club to connect with and build a relationship with superfans
One of the earliest artists I managed is Mac DeMarco, a Canadian artist who lives in the US. I think in the early days, his level of communication and engagement, and relationship with his fans is what really stood out beyond his music. In 2014 or 2015, we started a Mac DeMarco fan club, where you could be a paid member, or you could also just have a free membership. There were perks with either one, and that really created a community for his fans where they were getting exclusive content. They're part of a club, you have a membership card. There's limited edition merch that you get if you're a paid club member. You have a wide variety of exclusive merchant memorabilia that only fan members can have. It was one of the first examples of something that really worked with an artist and their fan base.
Connect with your audience through creative and collaborative projects
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, they’re an artist from Australia I've worked with for eight or so years and they are constantly engaging with their fans. We just released this project called the Bootleggers project, where they actually took a lot of early live recordings and even more recent recordings and put it up on a website. They pretty much gave the content away to the fans so that they could produce vinyl or CDs or cassette tapes with the music. It's really amazing because hundreds of people are doing this, and we're going to start getting a ton of submissions of fan-created merchandise, which is pretty wild. I think the impetus for that was because they have so much material they're constantly releasing, but there's a lot of material they themselves knew would probably never be put out there on their own. So in a way, it's fun for them to let the fans do this because then, the music will be available in a tangible way, and the fans get to be part of this, but then the band can sit back and watch the madness of this happening.
Nurturing superfans is the key to building a sustainable music career
The music industry is very unexpected, you never know what's around the corner. When you find fans that will stick with you through everything, it helps you have consistency and sustainability. As an artist, you want your fan base to continually grow. You don't want to lose people along the way and then gain new fans. You want to keep the original fans and then continually grow that base. That's how I've always approached a lot of the band members that I work with and also the bands I've loved over the years too because I feel like I've been a super fan myself.
Listen to more Co.Lab Sessions podcast episodes about building your team, creating a scene around your music, protecting your career, and more.