Clive Malunga

Manage Your Relationship with Your Fans

Music fans are very special in so many ways. They are a valuable ladder by which artists reach the zenith of success. On the other hand, fans’ dissatisfaction can take artists down to the lowest professional depths. Many artists fall from grace because of arrogance, selfishness, self-centeredness and pride. A combination of these vices causes them to mismanage the valuable artist-fans relationship.

A good artist must maintain healthy relationships with his or her fans. Artists should avoid drinking beer, smoking or sharing drugs with music fans who attend a music concert. Improper relationships with fans will discredit you in the eyes of the same fans. Keeping a distance and providing fans with what they want most (good music) is very important.

Artists should get as much information as possible from music fans and use or select what is usable. Music is a business and like in any business, its products must always incorporate the voice of the consumer. Art is shaped by those who consume it-the music fans and therefore, our music must respond to their needs. This means market research is a prerequisite for a successful music career. 

Greet your fans with a wide smile and show them how much you care about their support. Create time to talk to them even if it means engaging one at a time. As a musician you are guaranteed life-long support if you create and keep open lines of communication with your fans. Never switch off your mobile phone because you feel tired of answering phone calls from your fans. Be able to handle the pressure for you need their support now and in the future. When you accommodate them, you become one big family. Your fans will show you the direction of where you should go and what you should do. Be a good listener and be able to adapt to any given situation at any given time.

An artist is not more important than his/her fans. When an artist gives fans the honour they rightly deserve, they will return the honour a hundred-fold. Don’t be elusive with your fans by shutting your doors on them completely. Create fora for interaction with your fan base. Keep them happy by providing them with regular updates and good music and in turn they will make you happier through their financial support. They will pay to enter the concert or they will buy your music on the internet. It”s a two-way flow.

Be healthy. Look healthy when you are on and off stage. You are a role model. Don’t go on stage drunk because your fans will notice and they will judge you. Fans judge you by how you carry yourself. Strive for good health through a proper diet and avoiding unhealthy living habits such as smoking and taking recreational drugs.

A music group is composed of a number of players. Therefore, build team spirit and work together as a team to make your fans happy. Collectively and individually protect the group’s name and guard against the destruction of its brand image. Every member should be paid fairly for their contribution to the success of the group.  Unity and the happiness of each member is key to the success of every musical group. Many band leaders in Zimbabwe are very greedy, selfish, self-centred and, above all, misguided. Band members must respect each other when they are on and off the stage.

Do something special for your fans.  It could be a free cool drink of your choice, for the first fifty people to enter the concert hall. Show your fans that you also care for them. The same art you use when you are on stage performing is the same art to be used when dealing and communicating with your fans off stage. Don’t take your fans for granted for they are also human and have feelings and egos to protect. We all venture into showbiz to make money. With showbiz, it’s entertainment first and money comes last. First deliver and results will follow.

A musical group must have a mission statement. If you have no destination every road takes you nowhere.” Clear strategic goals will help you to devise correct tactics that you are going to employ to reach your intended goals.

Learn to say thank you to our Heavenly Father for your achievements.  Pray every day for longer life, protection, guidance and blessings. We are what we are because of the undeserved favour God continually pours on us. Never neglect your spiritual life. Pray for wisdom.

Know your strengths and acknowledge your weakness as a musical band. Stop copying and pasting.  Stand on your own as a group and be counted. The music industry has gone very low because of copycats. The music style has become almost the same and thus, creating monotony.  If artists continue on this path, music fans will stop providing their most needed support. We can learn from what has happened to our soccer teams. Supporters are no longer interested. They prefer overseas teams to local teams because of mediocrity.

Be innovative and creative without departing from our identity and hunhu. Urban Grooves music died a natural death in Zimbabwe because it did not resonate with our Zimbabwean values.  The same will happen to Zimdance Hall. It will also die a natural death because it is a genre that has nothing to do with our culture and traditions.  I predict that five years from now, we are going to forget that there was a music rhythm called Zimdance Hall. Borrowed stuff will not endure.

We must not continue to lag behind South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal. We must also not be comfortable with catching-up all the time but be those who are leading. This is a war which must be fought by all musicians to make our country artistically great again. Raising our flag high internationally requires coordinated efforts of all music stakeholders.