Focus on fan loyalty: There’s no fanbase more dedicated than Armin van Buuren’s army
In the world of electronic music, there is perhaps no fanbase more dedicated than Armin van Buuren’s worldwide army of supporters. Over the course of his career, he has always commanded a great deal of influence, which could be attributed to his consistent output both musically and through sensational live performances. While many artists have experienced rises and falls in their level of influence, Armin van Buuren is an artist who has seemingly never faltered, always maintaining his position as one of the industry’s most illustrious artists. As one of the industry’s most established artists, Armin van Buuren has retained an influential position in the industry for a much longer period of time than many of his fellow musicians. Managing to stay at such a strong position for so many years is a staggering achievement for any artist.
Many would cite Armin van Buuren as the leader of the trance movement, having played a major role in keeping the genre at the forefront of the electronic music scene. In the industry, he remains one of the few artists to stick with one genre for such an extended period of time. As the industry has shifted, van Buuren has never failed to keep up with trends, collaborating with current artists and developing his sound in order to retain his influence. Over the years he has strayed from trance on occasion, but has always returned to his roots, enabling him to stay connected with his core fanbase. Over the course of this article we will look at exactly how Armin van Buuren has managed to cultivate such a loyal following over his years as an artist.
Having released his first track in 1996, Armin van Buuren has been producing music for much longer than many of his competitors. Three years later in 1999 he started his record label Armind, which has since provided a platform for an abundance of trance anthems. From there, Armin van Buuren continued to grow his level of support, with releases signed to a number of labels. His unique sound quickly proved extremely popular with listeners and his career spiraled upwards at speed. With such a quick increase in popularity, it soon became clear that Armin van Buuren was here to stay.
Arguably an aspect of van Buuren’s career that has been instrumental to his success is his multiple record labels. In particular, A State of Trance has become a global phenomenon since its launch in 2003, two years after the foundation of the weekly radio show. The A State of Trance (ASOT) radio show is hailed as one of the electronic music industry’s all-time most popular podcasts and is hosted by Armin van Buuren himself alongside Ruben de Ronde. The show has spiraled in popularity over the years, becoming one of the leading sources of the finest releases trance has to offer.
Every year, A State of Trance holds its own festival in Utrecht where trance fans from around the world gather to celebrate the label and the entire trance genre. A spectacular phenomenon, the festival offers a showcase of talents from around the world, with multiple stages each hosting a different style of trance. A State of Trance also hosts its own stage at various festivals around the globe including Ultra Music Festival in Miami and Tomorrowland in Belgium. Each time the brand is featured at a major festival it generates a huge amount of exposure, increasing the label’s audience worldwide.The fact that the label is invited back to Ultra and Tomorrowland to host its own stage every single year is a testament to its influence and popularity worldwide, which only increases with time.
Although many labels and artists have cultivated a highly dedicated fanbase, Armin van Buuren’s fanbase is perhaps one of the most dedicated of all. Loyalty to his music and persona is almost unrivaled, with a huge volume of his fans having followed his career long term. In contrast with Tiësto, whose fanbase has adapted with time, much of Armin van Buuren’s fanbase has been following his career since the very beginning. His ASOT brand has certainly stood the test of time, continuing to gain momentum with each passing year. But how has the label managed to maintain such a loyal following for such an extended period of time?
Consistency is something that is always exhibited by the releases on all of Armin van Buuren’s labels, particularly A State of Trance. Each release stays true to the genre while pushing boundaries, something which many other leading electronic labels have faced criticism for in the past. Labels that develop into different genres often lose fans as a result, with many fans being particularly loyal to a specific genre. By sticking to its core sound the label was able to cultivate its current fanbase and expand even further with the passing of time.
Armin van Buuren is one of the industry’s most active social media users across channels, with consistent campaigns running alongside each of his releases. Despite a heavy touring schedule, his channels always remain active informing users of his latest ventures. Before a show, van Buuren never fails to post a tweet about looking forward to the performance, then afterward he either posts a video or photo from the set. As well as keeping his audience informed about his touring schedule, the posts also drive interest towards the events and festivals themselves. By posting about looking forward to a specific festival set, he generates interest, increasing the number of attendees that will likely come to watch him perform.
A State of Trance is one of the most active labels in the electronic music industry in terms of its social media channels. With over 273,000 followers on Twitter, 175,000 on Instagram and a staggering 1.2 million Facebook likes, the label has an absolutely huge audience across platforms. Not only is this audience large in numbers, it is also made up of highly dedicated fans who regularly engage with the content provided. This audience has been built up over a vast number of years, continuing to grow exponentially as the brand expands. With social media, a smaller loyal following is always more beneficial than a large audience that does not engage with your content. By building a large audience that is equally loyal to the brand, A State of Trance is in an incredibly powerful position on social media.
The instantly recognisable ASOT branding has also played a huge part in the success of Armin van Buuren and the A State of Trance label itself. The brand has always had a strong identity, with the logo playing a huge part in all promotional materials across platforms. Maintaining a strong brand is the key to success, as it enables labels to make an impression on listeners and remain in their memory for extended periods of time. Everything down to vlogs and visuals always follows the brand guidelines and exhibits the brand’s identity. Consistency is key and Armin van Buuren always remains consistent with his ASOT branding, allowing the label to truly reach its full potential. Memorable branding is one of the most important aspects of any artist’s career, as it ensures that a lasting impression is made on all those who come into contact with the brand.
Armin van Buuren also offers one of the most diverse ranges of merchandise available to electronic music fans. The store sells everything from CDs to action figures, keyrings, gadgets and even glowsticks. By offering such a vast range of merchandise, he enables his fanbase to represent his brand around the world in a variety of ways. When fans wear merchandise and share images on social media, it allows the brand to have even further reach. Fans are an organic form of advertising, as their posts are completely transparent, acting as word-of-mouth promotion. There is also a ripple effect, when a small number of fans wear merchandise and share it online, it causes even more fans to want to purchase merchandise and publish it on their social media. This is one of the many benefits of putting together an effective line of merchandise, as it enables your brand to reach even more people around the globe through social media.
Over his years as a musician, Armin van Buuren has never failed to push his brands to their ultimate potential. He always ensures to provide comprehensive coverage online, connecting with users and potential fans around the world on a daily basis. Through his consistency on social media, he ensures that his brands remain on the map and never fade into the background. Many artists underestimate the value of being consistently active on social media and let their platforms fade. This is detrimental to branding and stops artists from connecting with potential fans. In such a high-paced industry it is vital to consistently be on top of your social media and branding, making sure to keep your brands as a major focus for fans worldwide. Through consistency, strong branding and connecting with your audience, it is certainly possible to recreate Armin van Buuren’s success.