Christmas is right around the corner, and with it comes a unique opportunity to show your appreciation for fan support that happens only once a year. Your fans, like those you look to please with your holidays shopping list, deserve to be reminded of just how much their continued faith in you matters. We don’t suggest attempting to buy every single person who supports you work a gift, though you absolutely could if money and time allows, but we do believe there are several ways musicians can express their gratitude that will resonate with fans for months and years to come.
1. Free Music
There is an old adage about the easiest course in life often being the most obvious one, and that is very much the case with this suggestion. Your fans support you all year long in hopes that you will both come to their town and continue to release music that touches their lives. Though you are unable to be everywhere at once on Christmas, you can make your music available for anyone who has yet to add it to their personal collection. Whether you choose to make a song, album, or even your entire catalog available as a free download, you should see a rise in engagement as a result. People who have been waiting to buy your album when they see you live won’t be able to resist the free download, and there is a high likelihood they will recommend your friends take advantage of the offer as well.
2. Record and release a holiday cover (maybe give it away as well)
The world has heard countless covers of holiday classics, but the world has yet to hear your take on famous seasonal staples, and that is why you can still use them to give back to fans this Christmas. I know my favorite Christmas covers are those performed by my favorite bands, and I’m willing to bet the same can be said for most music fans. Record a holiday cover, be it in a studio or in your own home, and share it with fans in the days leading up to December 25. You can even take things one step further and ask fans about their favorite holiday songs in advance, that way your cover will have an even higher likelihood of being shared by your followers.
3. Surprise your fans with free stuff (no contest necessary)
Everyone is thinking of others during the holiday season, or at least they should be, so many fans may not have money to buy the limited edition winter merch items you have available in your online store. To show fans you understand their dilemma, consider offering a give away where you send a prize pack including numerous merch items, as well as items not available in your store (handwritten lyrics, drum head, etc) to one lucky fan. Don’t make it a contest and don’t ask for contact information in exchange for consideration. Simply pick a fan, or four, and send them a present. With any luck, the fan(s) will share their surprise with the world, and you will earn brownie points for being one of the more thoughtful artists in music today.
4. Stream an acoustic performance from your home/studio/van/bus/basement
There are few things music fans love more than seeing their favorite artists playing bare-boned versions of their favorite songs. Since there is no way everyone who follows you could attend a single performance, especially one planned close to Christmas, make the event special by broadcasting your set on one or more of the popular live streaming services that have risen to prominence over the last year. If those services require you to charge consumers, like with StageIt, then you should also consider giving all the money earned to charity. This way, fans feel like they are giving back by tuning in, and you walk away having established yourself as an artists who hasn’t lost sight of the problems that exist outside your immediate surroundings. Win-Win.
James Shotwell is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also the Film Editor for Substream Magazine, host of the Inside Music podcast, and a 10-year entertainment writing veteran. You should probably follow him on Twitter.