An article by the Musician, Author, Artist and Speaker Gavin Bain, aka “Brains McLoud” who believes #hex is disruptive, empowering and will revolutionise fan engagement for the benefit of independent musicians and audiences.
Working 3 jobs to raise the money to build the computer needed to produce my own music, my career started in my bedroom 16 years ago and 18 months later, I was touring with Eminem. And this is the thing!!
The pompous A&R’s told me I would never make it as a Rapper – because I was Scottish!!
What happened next was an incredibly colourful and controversial long music career that allowed me to tour the world, prove my skills and expose a major label record company. My story has inspired books, films and albums, and now I’m a bestselling author of ‘California Schemin’ and the subject of the award winning BBC Documentary ‘The Great Hip Hop Hoax’.
I’m gearing up to release my 10th album – not bad for someone who was ‘never going to make it. Yet, I can only imagine how much I could have achieved with a device like #hex.
The biggest misconception about being an artist is that it’s easy. To be successful, a musician must make a 24/7 commitment. If you have funding then you can outsource some of the work, but eventually, you’ll hit the inevitable catch-22 decision of choosing to focus on the business or the performance side of things. Either way, it’s essential that you build a fan base and enjoy interacting with your audience, or else, your fanbase won’t grow enough for the word to spread and you won’t attract investment from a record company who is only interested in how much money you can make, or how many fans you have.
The work independent artists have to put into touring, promoting shows and building a fanbase can be painful at times, it can actually keep them away from music and crush any enjoyment – until now!!
- #hex stimulates interaction with audiences and boosts engagement
#hex comes at a perfect time in my life as I develop multiple career paths as a performer of my music, in public speaking, stand up comedy and as a writer. It allows me to get my message, my art, my writing and my story out there, and revolutionise the interaction I have with audiences so that we can connect at a deeper level, wherever I am and wherever I go.
- #hex spreads the word
Using #hex I am able to share my media with anyone around me, and that might be anything from an unreleased song, access to special merchandise, pre-show links, alerts or personalised messages in a concert whilst I perform. It enables me to connect directly with my audience and all the while I am building my mailing list and following.
I can use #hex to ignite word-of-mouth awareness of my next performance or an after show party, without it I’d be forced to send broad messages across social media and watch then them get buried in traffic; or I could send mass emails and in this event I know many would end up in spam.
Moving from city to city, #hex is a hub of communication that frees me from carrying my press kit, links everyone into my website and give fans the opportunity to know when and where I’ll be.
- #hex builds a tribe
#hex stimulates a level of engagement that goes beyond performance, it creates the feeling of tribe by providing a solid platform that establishes a direct connection between me and my audience. It’s the type of interaction that can convert anyone who see’s me on the street or at a venue into a hard core fan.
When you engage directly with fans it solidifies a lasting connection unlike anywhere else, so #hex is for me, far more powerful than any other form of social media engagement. An interaction via #hex can turn an interested passive music fan into my next hardcore supporter who is far more likely to support me in the years to come.
#hex adds the feeling that we belong to a tribe who will go to a venue for a performance, follow me on my journey and come along for the ride – I’ve done that, and it is the only reason I still have a career in music after leaving the major labels.
And if I inspire them, then they can contact me via #hex and say hi, follow a link and purchase a song or a t-shirt. #hex enables so many possibilities to interact with your supporters that can strengthen your bond, so that you can become a more exciting entertainer that fans will want to support!!
History is littered with innovations that helped for only a bit. Downloading tracks seemed like a way to get fans into your music and increase the numbers at gigs, yet it destroyed a part of the industry that forced businesses to scale down. Social media seemed like the answer but the online explosion glued audiences to their devices instead of engaging them in ‘real life things like live-music and real-social-interaction, it kept young people away from going to venues and inevitably the venues were forced to closed down. Then self-releasing distribution services made it easy to publish your music, when in reality the result was an over-flooded market which made it even harder to cut through the noise!
Yet there hasn’t been a device like #hex before – and it’s still early days – and I’m excited to see #hex grows so that I can use it as my complete central hub. So that when fans leave a gig they can find out everything about me, watch my videos, buy my music and merchandise all in one place.
Ultimately, hex boosts direct fan engagement which is what being a professional entertainer is all about!!