Music Industry veteran Bobby Owinski elaborates on the “1,000 TRUE FANS THEORY” (as initially written by Wired’s Kevin Kelly) and how this target is key to have a sustainable career in music.
As posted on Hypebot:
In the latest version of my Music 4.1: A Survival Guide For Making Music In The Internet Age book I explain that making a living in music is considered the new success, as we shift our priorities to DIY. That said, the way that’s accomplished is by [having] a group of core fans. In the following excerpt from Music 4.1, this “1,000 True Fans Theory” is explained.
“The “1,000 True Fans Theory” by Wired magazine’s “senior maverick” Kevin Kelly states that all an artist needs is 1,000 true fans to maintain a fruitful, if unspectacular, career, thereby relieving the artist of the need for some of the nastier things in life as a regular job. True fans are sometimes called superfans or uberfans, depending on whose theory we’re talking about.
Kelly wrote the following:
A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author—in other words, anyone producing works of art—needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the superdeluxe reissued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the T-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
The idea is that if each of the 1,000 fans bought $100 worth of product every year (the figure equals an arbitrary full-day’s pay), you’d have an income of $100,000, which, even minus expenses, can still represent a reasonable living for most artists. The trick, of course, is how you expand your fanbase to that magic 1,000-fans number (providing that you buy the theory, of course).