The Future. Discord has quietly become the hub for artists to interact with their fans, which is both tightening artists-fan bonds and building a community among those fans. It’s the type of platform that could inspire long-lasting passion for the musician as a person… if they can keep up with it and navigate it professionally. No wonder Billboard called “community manager” the “hot new job” in music.
Service on the server
According to Pitchfork, the community chat platform Discord is becoming the most harmonious place for music fandoms.
- Artists such as FKA twigs, Swedish House Mafia, and Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo are using Discord to not just connect with fans, but stage virtual events, beta test new projects, program bots to create games on the server, and of course, play music.
- Some artists have joined simply by sliding into already-existing fan servers, starting their own server, or working with Discord’s in-house talent partnerships team.
- When artists drop new work, they can literally tag @everyone so the whole community gets a push notification.
One of the most surprising things to come about from the artist-run (or, at least, the artist’s team-run) Discord servers, is how some fans are starting to work for the artists within the community.
Rivers Cuomo has tapped fans to take on roles such as “biographical researcher” (essentially an archivist of his work) and “iPhone” (test iOS apps that Rivers programs). In return, they get priority access to certain events.
What makes Discord so user-friendly for artists and their fan bases is that the conversation — written, voice, video — is gated. That means that they’re not publicly searchable and allow for interactions to seem protected, a walled garden promising access and exclusivity.
It’s also always on, meaning that people can jump into the server at any time and chat with anyone who’s in there. It’s why Discord calls itself the “24-hour diner of the internet.”
And with Discord rolling out “Forum Channels” — a take on Reddit’s subreddits, where a lot of Discord servers spring from — conversations within a server will soon become a bit more organized.