The TFC Editorial Team thought it would be fun to sit down with one of The Fan Connection’s co-founders, Cassie Forcier, to “pick her brain” in a fun interview that will be the start of what we’re calling #MusicIndustryMonday. (Yeah, we know we're a little late because it's Tuesday, but yeah...)
Every Monday, we’ll feature someone in the music industry who is willing to share their secrets!
The Fan Connection: Hey there Cassie. Tell us where you're from...and something interesting about yourself.
Cassie Forcier: I was born in Miami, Florida, but we left there when I was 5, and I was raised in Brevard County, Florida (Indian Harbour Beach). Ok, interesting, let's see.....(this shouldn't be this difficult, LOL). I canNOT be in the passenger seat of a vehicle. It freaks me out. I have to be driving.
TFC: Duly noted! Who are some of your favorites artists and what is your favorite album?
Cassie: Oh wow, there are so many, and all over the board genre-wise. I'm a die-hard George Strait fan, and I love every one of his albums. Once specific album I LOVE is The All American Rejects' "When the World Comes Down", and Sister Hazel's albums "Fortress" and "Chasing Daylight". I could go on and on but that would take too long.
TFC: How did you get interested in the music business?
Cassie: You know, I honestly can't remember a specific time when I knew I wanted to work in the music industry. I just know that at some point, when I was very young...grade school young...I became interested not just in the people performing or playing, but the people behind the scenes who worked with them. I always had this question, "How did they get there?". I also remember about 25 years ago reading a book called "Three Chords and the Truth" and I was completely mesmerized by it. Great book...if you haven't read that one, go get it!
TFC: We will! On that note...what was your "big break" getting into the music business?
Cassie: I would say meeting TFC co-founder Andrew Bunel, of Bandhouse Music Group. We worked together with another band, a country duo, about 16 years ago. He had already been in Nashville about 5 years, I believe. So he knew a lot more than I did already, and still to this day continues teaching me the ropes. It takes a LIFETIME to really understand how intricate this industry is. You never stop learning, so if you're a person who wants to 'know it all' at some point and stop learning, this isn't the right path. Over the years, Andrew & I became great friends and business partners. His strengths are my weaknesses and vice versa.
TFC: We love how those things find a way to work themselves out. How did the idea of TFC come about?
Cassie: The 'idea' of TFC came about long before it's time. I noticed there was a movement (MANY years ago) of attempts by artists at serious online promotion. One of the things I saw was that no matter how much work an artist put into it, there were so many fees, and roadblocks that it makes it hard for them to brand themselves. If a band or artist wanted to offer fans merchandise, they had to buy in bulk. If they wanted to offer them a fan club, they had to fork out a bunch of money and pay someone to do it, or at least cover the expenses of printing, fan club packets, etc. Unfortunately, to get a business like TFC off the ground is a huge expense, and the money just wasn't there at the time we wanted to start this. For some reason, I never mentioned TFC to Andrew until a few years ago. Once we had that discussion, he was in love with the idea, and we moved forward. Only this time...with my ideas and a whole new world of internet music, promotion, social media, plus Andrew's music industry expertise. It was the perfect time!
TFC: The Fan Connection is based in Nashville. What do you love about Nashville?
Cassie: That list could be as long as the artist/music one. Nashville is a different world from where I'm from. As much as I love my hometown, and the beach, and all the tropical vacation type things that go with that...Nashville is where you just "feel" it, if you want to work in music. You come here, and you all of a sudden know this is where it's going to happen. Everywhere you go, no matter what you're doing, you can talk about your business because someone next to you is IN this industry. Smaller towns, like where I'm from, may have a great local music scene (and that's where most of the incredible music comes from...so NO way am I knocking small towns), but they don't have an actual "industry scene". You might be able to manage a local band, or book shows, or open a venue...but further than that, you have to get out of there to where it's happening all the time. I love the excitement of Nashville. You never know what's happening next. One day you're watching free concerts downtown with thousands of people, the next your walking into a bar and there's a pop-up show by one of your favorite bands. It's never-ending.
TFC: We have to agree. Nashville is the "it city" for ALL genres of music as well as music/tech startups like TFC. Tell us a little bit about what the artists and fans can expect from TFC in the coming months?
Cassie: SO many exciting things happening here. We're throwing out so many great ideas that we can barely get the features out fast enough! A "level" program for bands, where bands can start at a standard level of membership, and increase as their fan base grows. The more they level up, the higher of a percentage they'll make on their fan club memberships, merch etc. And the ONLY thing bands have to do is promote, the same way they do now on all their other social media sites. A killer music player with radio-like features, interviews and promotions for bands, and more. There's a ton of great things coming up for fans too. We believe if you don't include your fans on the same level as you are, they can easily lose interest. We want fans to KNOW that artists just can't do this without them. We'll be offering prizes for Fan of the Week, throwing contests, so many more exciting things for them! We have a chat feature that allows bands to set up private chat rooms, so if they want to have a private chat with fan club members only, they can...or use it to promote their fan clubs. We're eventually going to include live streaming. The best part of most of these things is that it doesn't cost the artists or fans anything to participate!
TFC: It's definitely going to be fun for the artists and the fans...and TFC. Out of all of the upcoming TFC features, which are your favorites?
Cassie: I am, and always HAVE been, super-excited about implementing the fan clubs and the "leveling-up" program. Fan Clubs are a great way for artists to really see who their die-hard fans are. Most artists with professionally run fan clubs are forking out a ton of money. We're doing all of the packaging and mailing, and artists will be able to access their fan club member lists easily. When fans show up at shows with a TFC lanyard on, artists will know that's one of their members!
TFC: In general, what do you love about TFC the most?
Cassie: Right now, the bands and artists. I do most of the personal contact between TFC and the bands/artists, and I really enjoy learning the little things...like what made them start playing music, what their influences are, things like that. I'm excited for TFC to start including all of the fan interaction also though. I work around artists and their fans a lot, and it's a really special thing to see this bond that complete strangers will form with an artist, and the artists bond with someone who was once a complete stranger. The give-and-take of music and appreciation is never EVER boring!
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