You don’t have to be a genius to realize that your social media following does not directly translate to how big your fanbase is. In fact, in most cases, only a fraction of your followers will see your latest Instagram post and even fewer will engage! In 2023 more than ever it’s important to develop a direct line of communication with your fans, which is why we’ve assembled some of the best artist community platforms for you here. Let’s get going!
That’s right! Discord! No, it’s not just for gamers! Outside of video games, artists around the world are utilizing Discord to provide fans a space to further connect with each other and their music. But, where Discord particularly excels is in the platform’s unique structure.
When joining an artist’s server you’ll have to find a special invite link which can usually be found on a given artist’s socials. You’ll struggle to find an invite link by simply searching “[Artist Name] Discord” in Google. This private invite link originates from the company’s gaming roots when servers were more frequently used for World of Warcraft guilds than anything else; can’t have randos joining your WoW chat, that’s a bad look.
The effect of this invite link in music is twofold. Fold one, Fans love to feel like they’re closer to an artist. A private invite link immediately adds a layer of secrecy that makes users feel like they’re in a band’s inner circle, a private club of sorts. Fold two, this level of separation provides artists with a very clear picture of who their superfans are. Users willing to join a Discord server through the aforementioned invite link are without a doubt the most valuable.
Once you’ve joined a Discord server, you’ll find unique segmentation that you won’t find anywhere else because the artists built it themselves! It’s common for artists to set up channels that cover different topics of conversation such as touring and merch, along with more niche channels that might be only applicable to that given artist. For example, Nashville-based alt-pop group Nightly’s Discord has channels for thrifting and pets!
All these features make Discord a one-stop shop for artists and fans to connect. For more check out this guide!
Ew, paywall? Nope! Patreon is launching a free tier! Set aside those reservations and check it out!
If Discord sounds a bit much, and you’re looking for a more straightforward approach to expanding your connection with your fanbase, then Patreon is a solid option. The new free tier will feature the platform’s core offerings like text posts, videos, and a suite of native video hosting tools, all while operating outside of the normal social media rat race.
While Patreon is obviously designed to help you monetize your fanbase, it can be a useful way to connect and keep track of your fanbase. The advantage over traditional social media is that fans have to sign up with their email address and they can get email alerts when you post something new. Plus, major artists like Ben Folds and Amanda Palmer are huge on Patreon, so many music fans are already familiar with how it works.
Patreon is still designed primarily for monetizing your fanbase, though. Many free-tier tools are designed to get people to upgrade to the higher, paid tiers. This is great if you want to start a more traditional Patreon and start getting some subscription income. But if you don’t feel comfortable asking for money from your fans, Patreon might not be the best platform for you.
Got beef with Patreon? Maybe Grouped is for you!
This one is really straightforward. Grouped shares many of the same features as Patreon, but with more subtle branding. Though unlike Patreon and Discord, whose primary clientele lies outside of music, Grouped was designed and built with artists in mind. A quick tour of the platform’s site shows off some of these key features:
A final differentiator here is ownership – talk about a music industry buzzword. Artists big and small can agree on one thing: ownership is important. Having built its platform around musicians, Grouped realizes this and makes sure its users own 100% of the data gathered and associated with Grouped. Powerful stuff.
Get After It!
We’ve presented a load of options in this post, we hope that one of them strikes your interest. At the end of the day, artists can’t exist without fans, so take the time to nurture your fanbase, and give them a place to hang out!