Welcome to the very first episode of our MAXtape Live podcast!
In our inaugural episode, hosts Lindsay Benedetto and Craig Rector talk with Jarred Goldner, Director of SET. The discussion delves into the barriers and challenges artists face in today's music industry, focusing on the ever-evolving landscape of social media and increasing demands on musicians to engage fans on multiple platforms. The crew spends some time reflecting on our experience at Music Biz–and on the huge response we got after our “Owning the Fan Relationship” panel discussion with music industry experts Ari Herstand (CEO, Ari's Take), Kaitlyn Moore (VP of Marketing, mtheory LLC), and Luke Pierce (Manager, WORKS Entertainment).
Highlights from Jarred Goldner
The importance of collecting fan contact info
Building personalized relationships with your fanbase
Using technology and direct access to fan info to create next-level fan experiences and deeper engagement.
The challenges posed by platforms like TikTok, where artists can gain fame but struggle to convert that into an active fanbase.
The need for strategies to go beyond socially engaging with fans, how to bring them into the artist's owned communities, emphasizing the importance of nurturing an authentic, direct-to-fan relationship.
Listen to the full episode below–and let us know if you’d like to be a guest on our show!
Full episode transcript summary
The Challenges of the Music Industry in the Digital Age Jarred discusses the challenges musicians and the music industry face in the digital age, particularly regarding social media's ever-changing landscape. He highlights the need for musicians to constantly engage with fans on multiple platforms and the overwhelming demands placed on artists.
"I think we ask too much of [artists] and in this ever changing landscape . . . how many social platforms do you need to be on while making great music, while running your business?" - Jarred Goldner
The Importance of Direct Fan Engagement Jarred emphasizes the significance of building direct relationships with fans and how it can positively impact an artist's career longevity. He points out that fans who attend live shows tend to spend significantly more on an artist's music and discusses the potential benefits of subscription-based models.
"I think it makes all the difference in the world–you play in front of a couple hundred people every night and can be successful as long as you're engaged with those folks." - Jarred Goldner
Moving Beyond Social Media Metrics Jarred, Lindsay, and Craig delve into the misconception that a high number of social media followers is the ultimate goal for artists. They emphasize the importance of owning fan data and using it to build authentic, personalized relationships with fans. Craig raises the issue of artists feeling hesitant to ask for fan information and self-promote and Jarred provides his perspective on this.
"They're already a fan. You're not asking a stranger for something random. You already have this relationship. Most of the people who come to see you follow you on some form of social platform." - Jarred Goldner
Building Authentic Relationships and Fan Dedication Jarred discusses the importance of building authentic relationships with fans and how artists can engage with their audience effectively. He highlights the significance of asking fans for their information in a natural, non-intrusive way, drawing parallels to dating and emphasizing the need for good communication in relationships.
"It's not just this stranger danger, it's someone who's already invested time. I'm gonna ask them for a little bit, and I'm gonna give them so much more back." - Jarred Goldner
The conversation emphasizes the dedication and effort fans invest in attending concerts and supporting their favorite artists. The speakers highlight the importance of recognizing and nurturing these relationships, emphasizing that fans who invest time, resources, and emotions into their favorite artists are eager to engage further.
"The more an artist realizes, 'Wow, Lindsay didn't just spend the last hour with me in this room. Lindsay might have spent the last five days planning this, executing this, showing up. Of course she wants to hear more from me.'" - Jarred Goldner
Understanding Fan Behavior and Desires The conversation shifts to understanding fan behavior and what fans desire when attending live shows. Lindsay and Craig stress the importance of artists considering what fans want and how to create unique and special moments for them. They discuss examples like Alicia Keys and Tenille Townes, who offer fans exclusive experiences.
"It's almost this mental shift for the artist... What do [fans] want when they get to a show? What could I give them that would be unique, special?" - Lindsay Benedetto
Overcoming Algorithm Challenges Jarred and Craig discuss the challenges artists face with social media algorithms and the need to create content that appeals to both algorithms and fans. They emphasize the value of having an "algorithm-proof" strategy and how going direct-to-fans can help artists overcome algorithm limitations.
Engaging Fans in Authentic Ways This part of the conversation highlights examples of artists who engage fans in authentic and natural ways using SET.Live. Examples include Ron Pope's fan voting for song choices and Home Free's surprise giveaways. The speakers emphasize that such interactions make fans feel like they are part of a unique community.
"They [fans] feel like they're a part of the show. That show is now special and unique to them." - Jarred Goldner
The Power of Engaging Fans The conversation begins with a playful exchange about favorite examples of artists engaging with their fans using SET.Live. Craig highlights Tennille Towns as his favorite example, and Lindsay teases him for mentioning her frequently. The discussion underscores the effectiveness of Tennille Towns' fan engagement strategies and her ability to connect with audiences effortlessly.
"She turns around and takes a pic of her with all her fans in the audience. I mean, she’s masterful at it." - Craig Rector
Leveraging Authentic Engagement The conversation transitions to artists who invite fans to participate in live shows through authentic engagement. Michael Minnelli is highlighted as an example. Lindsay describes how Minnelli energizes the crowd, getting them to chant "SET.Live" and explaining how he makes the engagement feel genuine and in line with his personality.
"I love artists who invite the fans into a talk-back experience. It’s my favorite thing about Michael Minelli" - Lindsay Benedetto
Jarred elaborates on Minelli's approach, emphasizing how it not only benefits him but also teaches opening acts how to make their performances impactful and grow their fan base. This discussion highlights the importance of authenticity in fan engagement and how it can lead to future successes.
Accessibility and Democratization of Music The conversation delves into the accessibility and democratization of music. Jarred stresses the importance of accessibility, pointing out that emerging artists and established acts alike can now access powerful tools to engage with their fan base. This democratization of technology allows artists to compete on a level playing field and build their careers more effectively.
"We've made technology, and specifically marketing tech, accessible to everyone, whether you're a high-dollar artist or you are just starting out." - Jarred Goldner
Craig shares his experiences as an artist and how accessibility to such tools would have made a significant difference in his career. The discussion underscores the notion that democratizing music technology can empower artists at all stages of their careers.
Challenges of Fan Engagement on TikTok and Social Media The conversation shifts to the challenges artists face when attempting to transition social media fame into successful live shows. The example of TikTok is highlighted, with concerns about the difficulty of converting online followers into concert attendees. The limitations of platforms like TikTok in terms of data and audience ownership become apparent.
Jarred emphasizes the significance of owning and nurturing the fan relationship beyond social media platforms. He suggests that artists who genuinely know their fans and can directly engage with them have a distinct advantage over those solely reliant on social media metrics.
Bridging the Gap Between Online Engagement and Live Shows The discussion concludes with a cliffhanger, hinting at the importance of bridging the gap between online engagement and live shows. The conversation hints at the need for strategies that enable artists to bring their online communities into real-life experiences effectively.
"With all the effort that artists do in creating content and putting on shows... part of the responsibility is how you take all of the efforts, and pull that into your relationship with the fan base." - Craig Rector
The conversation with Jarred, as a whole, highlights the value of authentic fan engagement, accessible technology, and the challenges artists face in translating online fame into a successful music career. It emphasizes the importance of owning and nurturing fan relationships and briefly talks about strategies for effectively merging online and offline fan engagement efforts.
About Jarred Goldner
As Director of SET at MAX, Jarred helps artists and their teams work smarter (not harder) to deliver better fan experiences, execute more efficient tours, better understand their fans, and even secure their own brand sponsorships. SET is a suite of innovative artist tools that support and empower artists, managers, and labels with practical strategies that center the artist-fan relationship.
Jarred and his team are passionate about helping artists take ownership of the relationship with their fans by eliminating gatekeepers and garden walls.
Before heading up the SET team, Jarred served as Director of Artist Relations at MAX, where he ran the team responsible for sourcing artists for branded promotional programs. He has spoken at SXSW, A3C Music Festival, and MusicBiz and has contributed to publications like Music Connection, BandsInTown for Artists, Hypebot, and ANA (Association of National Advertisers).