Theory & Business

How Providing Value First Attracts Fans

Practical advice for how to get people interested in your music.


By Mike Romero

When it comes to attracting potential fans, providing value first can be an incredibly effective strategy. This approach involves offering something of value to new contacts without asking for anything in return. By doing so, bands can establish trust, build relationships, and ultimately increase the likelihood of making true fans later on.


Most bands create music or videos and then launch them into the ether without a second thought. With no strategy, they hope that just posting “My new song is out now. Go stream it!” will generate traffic. But it’s better to give easily recognizable value to people first before asking them to do something for you. With millions of songs uploaded to the internet daily, you need to communicate that value as clearly as possible.

Why does providing value first work so well? There are several reasons. For one, it allows you to demonstrate expertise and credibility. By offering valuable information or resources up front, you can show potential fans that you are genuinely interested in helping them solve their problems or feeling something deep.


Additionally, providing value first helps to build relationships with potential fans. When artists offer something of value without any strings attached, it shows that they are more interested in building a connection than in making an immediate sale. This can help to establish a sense of trust and goodwill, which can be incredibly valuable when it comes time to make a sale in the future: tickets, merch, Patreon, etc.

What does providing value first look like in a non-music business context?

Bear with me here: check out They provide so much value for free up front that it confused me the first time I came across it. Not only are there dozens of different styles of online Solitaire ranging from Klondike to Spider, they also chronicle the history of Solitaire, how to play it offline with a real deck of cards, and they offer online games with completely different aesthetics, like this Wild West Klondike game.

Beyond this, they also offer crosswords, Mahjong, and hundreds of other games ad free. There’s no subscription, no ads, no pitch. I was so confused I reached out to the owner of the site for comment. Why were they doing this? What was the end goal?


In addition to a childhood love of Solitaire instilled by their mother that inspired this passion project, the creator said this: “We operate a number of websites and have built websites for ourselves and clients for decades. Some of our sites are profitable and for-profit, while many are not profitable. We generally do not worry heavily about business-related stuff until the sites grow to a substantial size. Like if the site had millions of daily visitors, we would test business models like running ads or creating more custom games that were exclusive via membership. Our hope is that the site eventually becomes a leading site in the category. You can’t become a leading, well-known site without lots of people visiting it.”

Promoting this site as an ad-free, easy to use, value-first operation is helping become a leader in a very popular niche. Once they’re at a monumental size, monetizing it will reap much larger rewards than if they had started the site by trying to squeeze pennies out of visitors.

What does providing value first look like in a music-as-business context?

Jake Reed is a professional drummer based in LA. He’s played as a live drummer and session drummer for years and has worked with successful artists like Katy Perry. He made a splash online by showing off his signature drum sound – one that strives to emulate dry, dead, ’70s drums. People started asking him how he was able to achieve this sound, and so he showed them – free of charge.

Since then, his style has come to be known as SUPER DEAD DRUMS. Responding to audience demand, he created a massive sample pack for SUPER DEAD DRUMS and a companion pack called SUPER NATURAL DRUMS. Giving people value up front allowed him to find what they actually needed, provide additional value, and then start a profitable business selling something people actually wanted.

What does providing value first look like in a music-as-art context?


Citizen Soldier is probably the most slept on band in the Utah music scene. They were the most streamed Utah artist of 2021 after successfully tapping into the post-grunge/alt rock scene online. How did they get here?

Lead singer Jake Segura is passionate about mental health. A practicing CSWI, everything about Citizen Soldier is geared towards talking openly and radically about struggles with mental health. The name, the branding, the reels and shorts they post: all of them provide a very specifc value beyond the music itself. Fans of Citizen Soldier are taken in by the overall message and encouragement they provide, and leave fans of their music.


Indie folk/rock locals Michael Barrow & The Tourists have taken a different approach to providing value. They do this by creating things they call “vibes.” Using live/alternate/demo versions of their music, they create YouTube exclusive audio experiences centered around feelings or emotions. This one is literally called it’s a sad indie cassette and someone’s watching the game in the next room. All of the music is provided by Michael Barrow & The Tourists, yes, but it fulfills a really niche and specific function outside of their existing songs. Those looking to fall asleep, study, or experience something uncanny or comforting stumble across these videos and give them a shot. This function can provide value to people who don’t know their music yet, and lead them to become fans later on.

What additional value can musicians offer?


There are countless possibilities, depending on the nature of the musician and the needs of the target audience. Some common examples include:

  • Educational resources: Musicians can create and share guides, tutorials, webinars, and other resources that either help people become musicians, or help fans learn how to play their music specifically.
  • Free trials or samples: Offering a free trial or sample can be an effective way to introduce potential fans to your music and demonstrate its value. An example of this is sending someone an unreleased track if they follow you on Instagram and send you a DM.
  • Community-building activities: Hosting events or online communities that bring together people with shared interests can help to build a sense of connection and loyalty.

Whatever form it takes, providing value first can be an incredibly powerful way to attract potential fans and build lasting relationships with them. Of course, it’s important to remember that the ultimate goal is still to make a sale. You can’t survive long in the music business with no, well, business. However, by prioritizing relationships and trust-building, bands can create a more positive and effective sales process that benefits both the business and the customer.


It’s worth noting that providing value first is not a silver bullet solution. It takes time and effort to create high-quality resources, build relationships, and establish trust with potential customers. However, for bands that are willing to put in the work, the rewards can be significant. By taking a long-term, relationship-focused approach to sales, bands can create loyal fans who are more likely to refer others and make repeat purchases over time.

In conclusion, by offering something of value without any strings attached, bands can establish trust, build credibility, and create a more positive and effective sales process. While it takes time and effort to implement this strategy effectively, the benefits can be significant. Don’t be afraid to try new things. For one final example of a musician with Provo ties providing value up front, see how DeeKei uses his Mixing Music podcast to help raise awareness for his studio business in LA.


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