This post is authored by Stephanie Guerrero, who has worked at major record labels including Sony Music & Universal Music Group. Her expertise lies in content development, digital promotion, and artist best practices. Most recently Stephanie founded Goat For Mars, a consulting firm that focuses on developing, marketing, and community building for web3 music projects.
Having worked in the music industry for the past decade, I’ve seen the ways artists can tell their stories evolve across many iterations. When tools like digital music distribution and social media became widely available, they ushered in a new era in which artists were forced to develop entirely new muscles in order to “onboard their fandom” and “drive engagement.” While social media management became a common and seemingly necessary practice among independent musicians, many artists wondered, "What's all of this for?" In retrospect, this was an extremely justifiable question.
In truth, all of the traffic and engagement that artists worked to build over the last decade has never really belonged to them. Today, we’re all waking up to the negative impacts caused by this lack of ownership. This is why I now tell artists that they should reconfigure their approach to fan engagement online using the metaphor of a sun and solar system.
Musicians should see themselves as a sun, positioned at the center of their creative universe. Orbiting around them are the tools, possibilities, and people that make up the greater solar system of their career.
Musicians should see themselves as a sun, positioned at the center of their creative universe. Orbiting around them are the tools, possibilities, and people that make up the greater solar system of their career. Using this metaphor, we see how important it is for artists to find ways to engage their fandom that truly orbit around them, with their creative practice positioned in the spot with the most gravitational pull in the solar system: right at the center.
To truly be empowered as an artist, your efforts to engage your community and promote your work should all revolve around you and what you make. You should be the center of attention, and the brightest light; you shouldn’t be forced to diffuse your efforts in a million unsynchronized directions. As I see it, the best way to take this approach is to find a single home where you can collect all the pieces of your identity and creative practice within one place. And, most importantly, you should own that space—so you can keep your work and efforts aligned in orbit around your goals as a creator, forever. This is where Tellie comes in.
As evidenced by the fateful day when Twitter Spaces went dark, or the day when all Meta apps went down, communities built within the confines of platform-owned social networks are, at the end of the day, only working to drive profit back to the stakeholders who built them. Because of this, there’s no guarantee that what an artist works to create within these platforms will be of long-term benefit to them.
An artist's Tellie Site, however, can empower an artist to stand strong as the sun at the center of their universe. Tellie does this by integrating hundreds of other tools in a way that keeps them aligned around the artist, helping them to build and maintain a strong community of fans without falling out of orbit. Tellie works because it recognizes that tools like social media are extremely useful for reaching new fans and promoting releases, but only when they’re integrated into a larger universe of creative production and community building. That’s why it's so important for artists to fight against social app inertia and, instead, use these tools as a way to drive traffic back to themselves by way of a Tellie site, where they have control over their online presence, and can interact with their fans more on their own terms.
With Tellie, artists can use social media to promote links to their site as a first step. Then, once inside their site, fans can hop from planet to planet while remaining inside the artist's universe. This allows the artist (not an algorithm) to determine how their story is told, and so much more. While fans browse through their favorite merch, they can also enjoy an artist-curated playlist, watch their favorite music video, and tune into a live stream. As an added bonus, these experiences can also be gated behind a tokenized or paid wall, or can remain open as spur-of-the-moment experiences that are just for dedicated fans.
“Community building” is a term that gets thrown around when making claims about how an artist can build their career, but the truth is, building a real community is a time-consuming and cumbersome process. While email newsletters, Telegram Chats, and Discord Channels are great ways for a creator to generate more touch points with their fandom,, there should also be space for fans who prefer to consume and interact with an artist on demand. A missed email or message can be a missed opportunity, but when there is a centralized command center where fans can access all of an artist’s updates, it guarantees that the creator’s efforts won’t be lost to the never-ending churn of social media algorithms. In this way, artists should be creating content and experiences with longevity when creating and curating their content. Tellie sites provide the opportunity to engage both passive and dedicated fans, and ensure an artist’s content can tell their story effectively from one central point of orbit.
Artists should be thinking about social media, content creation, and community building as a way to drive traffic back to themselves, and to establish a strong, direct relationship with their fans.
Overall, artists should be thinking about social media, content creation, and community building as a way to drive traffic back to themselves, and to establish a strong, direct relationship with their fans. Inside their Tellie universe, the artist can provide unique experiences like live-streamed events and exclusive access to select items. By consistently creating engaging content and finding ways to connect with their fans directly, the artist can keep their community orbiting around them by way of their Tellie site, which they own forever, ensuring long-term benefits and growth from their hard work.