I consider myself to be a pretty big music fan and I make it to more than my fair share of concerts. Now I may not get out to see as many live shows as my spouse or some of our friends (who at times make it out to two-to-four shows per week), but I figure that averaging one gig per week is a pretty good clip for me. I enjoy checking out bands at places like First Avenue or the Triple Rock or the Turf Club and catching the national touring acts that are making their way through town. I especially like getting behind local bands that capture my imagination. One group that is doing that right now are the 4onthefloor.
I first caught these guys back in early January during the dead of winter and I figure I’ve seen them at least four or five times since then. They are everything I like in a good bar band: mostly rock ‘n’ roll with a little bit of country. Great banter on stage and with the crowd. And catchy, well written songs that get you moving – which says a lot for me since I never am one to bust a move at a concert.
When you see them for the first time, it might just seem that they are all about the schtick of all the members playing kick drums on stage. But there is more to it than that. And when they perform they bring it. Every single time.
Another one of the things that I love about this band is their seemingly endless drive and passion to get out, perform, connect with fans and share their music. They play around the Twin Cities and the region non-stop. They ran a Kickstarter project to help fund the vinyl release of their debut album. Fueled by their zealous fan base, they won a local contest in the spring where the prize was a spot to perform at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin. They recently recorded a session down in the Quad Cities with the folks from Daytrotter. They just celebrated Bob Dylan’s birthday up north by performing on train that was traveling along Lake Superior. And they are one of the local headliners for this year’s Basilica Block Party.
I really like the 4onthefloor and admire how often they are putting themselves out there. I want them to succeed but at the same time I can’t help but think about if they are going to get burnt out or wear out their fan base. This got me thinking about how you manage the traditional media principle of reach versus frequency. I wonder how something like that applies to something like a local band trying to break through. At the office when I work with our media team on a plan, they have reams of hard data at their disposal. They can come up with a recommendation on who our media target should be, how often we should (or should not) go after them and where we should advertising.
For a local band trying to break through, I think the same principles can apply. Who are your customers (or fans)? Where is the best place to connect with them (or perform for them)? How often should you be connecting with your fans during what time period? What is the right balance?
In this case I would think it is much more art than science because I assume that a ton of data isn’t as readily available for bands about local scenes. I’m curious if developing bands bring this approach to their thinking. I bet they do, at least intuitively and in the back of their minds. But I doubt they approach it as front and center as I would for my day job. Nor should they do it exactly that way – because let’s face it, that’s just not very rock ‘n’ roll. mm/