So I took out my wallet and joined the Fanbase University by Chris Greenwood for a month, and in this post I’m going to review what I genuinely thought about it. Do I feel it could help your music career? Or is it more hype then help?
If you didn’t know, Fanbase University is a monthly membership by Manafest, a musician who gets over 400,000 monthly Spotify streams. In here he aims to teach musicians how to make progress in the music industry without being signed to a record label.
While the aim of the Fanbase University sounds good, is it really worth your hard-earned money? Especially when so many others claim to offer something similar? This is what my Fanbase University review aims to find out, so let’s get on with it. 🙂
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
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What Is Fanbase University?
Fanbase University is a repository of training programs for musicians. Run by Billboard-charting independent artist Chris Greenwood (a.k.a. Manafest), the scope of the training available is sizable.
In this hands-on review, we’ll go deeper into the courses as well as the teacher a little later. We’ll also offer our verdict at the very end. But from a bird’s eye view, Fanbase University offers content and advice on the following:
- Building your fan base
- Booking shows
- Selling music online
Although there is plenty to dig into, the entire website is built around these programs, and doesn’t offer much by way of additional info. Then again, this is a growing trend, as many sites have been set up as sales pages rather than brochures, and this is certainly the case with Fanbase University.
So, there’s a basic overview of what’s available.
Manafest’s website is likewise sparse, offering only a general overview of his history with a strong focus on his music and merch.
With that established, it’s time to look at what Fanbase University helps you accomplish.
What Fanbase University Helps You Accomplish
As you can likely tell from the name, Fanbase University is all about helping you build and grow your fan base. This is accomplished using the latest trends in technology, social media, advertising, and a “good ol’ roll up your sleeves” work ethic.
If you don’t understand sales funnels (a.k.a. magnetic music marketing), then what you discover on the inside might surprise you. The methodology isn’t new by any means, and there are more than a few programs based around it.
But you get to learn exactly how Greenwood accomplished what he did, and how he approached each step, which students will find useful.
Fanbase University also includes helpful tips on keyword research, social media marketing, crowdfunding, and other topics independent musicians are interested in learning more about.
All of this runs parallel to strategies and tactics Greenwood himself has found useful on his journey, and it’s fair to say he’s well organized and has thought about every step.
Here’s a detailed list of the courses available and a brief description for each:
- Start Here: Watch First. Just as it sounds. This section contains introductory videos on Manafest, and an overview of strategies covered in his training.
- Members Only Monthly Coaching Calls. Live coaching calls happen twice per month. You can also find archived calls in this section.
- 10x Your Fanbase 5 Day Challenge. This is also basically as it sounds. Follow along with the challenge to grow your fan base in five days.
- Backstage Pass. This is basically the miscellaneous section (songwriting, music licensing, radio airplay, and more), with various trainings and other resources.
- Musician Makeovers. In this section, Manafest critiques a musicians’ online presence and helps them create a more robust one.
- Fanbase Factory. Covers Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook strategies for growing your fan base.
- Music Industry Professionals Master Class. Interviews with music industry professionals.
- How To Book Shows. Covering open mics, EPKs, booking shows, and more.
- Launching Your Career As An Artist. Branding, making money, attracting the attention of record labels, songwriting, and more.
- 4K A Month Course. A detailed course covering the ins and outs of making $4,000 per month as an artist (not a get rich quick scheme!).
- Spotify Profits. Tips on releasing songs on Spotify, sending your songs to playlist editors, growing your listener base using social media, and a great deal more.
- Facebook Accelerator. In-depth training on how to use Facebook ads to grow your fan base.
- YouTube Accelerator. Specific tactics you can use to increase your visibility and discoverability on YouTube.
- Shopify Accelerator. How to set up a Shopify store to sell your music and merch.
- Instagram Accelerator. Everything from how to set up your Instagram account to specific types of content you can use to engage your audience.
- Crowdfunding Secrets. How to launch and run a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Greenwood adds new content regularly, which certainly justifies the asking price of membership.
So, Fanbase University helps you accomplish a numerous things, depending on what your goals are.
If you need a comprehensive career plan to go from zero to hero, you could engage with all the training, follow the steps, implement what Greenwood suggests, and keep plugging away at your daily tasks to get you to where you want to go.
If there’s something specific you need to learn, such as Facebook ads, crowdfunding, or setting up a Shopify store for your merch, you could access the courses most relevant to you, and get the training you need to fill knowledge gaps.
If you’re interested in earning a living as an artist, then the 4K A Month Course will certainly be of interest. It does not promise to be a quick solution (nor should it), but if you take what’s inside and diligently apply it to your career, you could reach the next level.
Overall, the best way to approach Greenwood’s material is from top to bottom. If you only delve into certain modules, then there are going to be gaps in your knowledge that prevent you from getting the best results possible from applying what you find inside. Basically, some things just aren’t going to make as much sense without context.
Although it may seem tedious – because of the sheer volume of content available – making the most of your membership will involve combing through all the content, making notes, implementing the strategies, and progressing from one module or one lesson to the next.
The more knowledge you’re armed with, the more able you’ll be to get the results you want from this material.
How Much Does Fanbase University Cost?
Fanbase University costs $97 per month.
What Do I Get With Fanbase University?
Courses and training programs are all delivered a little differently, depending on the teacher and the platform their material lives on. So, in this section, we’ll be examining this facet of Fanbase University in more detail.
Fanbase University lives on ClickFunnels, which is a popular membership platform solution, even in the music industry, especially these days. We’ll look at how this affects the usability of the course – positive or negative – a little later.
In this section, we’re going to look specifically at how Fanbase University has been set up, how the course content is delivered, how to access the content, how much training is available, as well as several specific lesson titles, so you can get a sense of what you can expect on the inside.
All these factors play a part in user experience, so we always like to get into a bit of detail.
How Is The Content Presented?
The content is almost exclusively delivered via video. This isn’t surprising, since most courses take advantage of the video medium these days.
This includes talking head and whiteboard style videos, slideshow videos, as well as screen recordings. This creates a bit of variety and holds your attention for longer.
It’s worth noting that the lack of text can be slightly off-putting at times, as video descriptions and summaries are generally helpful from a usability perspective. This is a minor nitpick, but it’s worth mentioning.
Fanbase University also provides links to tools, templates, and resources, as you will require certain tools to be able to do everything Greenwood suggests you do.
Do I Get Instant Access To All The Content?
Yes. And because there is a lot of content on the inside, even if you’re a binge watcher, it’s going to take you a while to get through all of it.
I’m a fan of being able to get access to all of the content upfront, though depending on the course, having it dripped out can also be good.
How Much Training Is Available?
There are 43 modules available, with an average of 10 or so lessons.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration because there are multiple modules dedicated to the same course (e.g. 4K a Month Course, Spotify Profits, Facebook Accelerator, YouTube accelerator, Instagram Accelerator, and Crowdfunding Secrets).
And even though some modules appear to be containers for one lesson, when you open them, you may discover 15 videos on the inside. That can be a bit confusing.
But some modules, it turns out, only contain one lesson, interview, or case study.
Either way, there’s a ton of content here and you’re not going to get through it in a hurry, especially if you intend to implement as you go.
Lesson Titles & What They Help You Accomplish
In this section, we’ll look specifically at a few lessons available on Fanbase University and what they claim to help you accomplish.
Instagram Liking Strategy To Grow Your Fanbase
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use Instagram strategically to like and comment on relevant photos.
Greenwood suggests that actively engaging with users in this manner helps you grow your fan base. It can help you connect with users who are interested in the type of music you make. So, you can find potential fans for your music, entirely for free. It just takes a bit of work.
The tactic outlined in this lesson is something anyone can do from anywhere, and while it would require a daily investment of time and effort, it could pay off over the long haul. As with most tactics, it’s all about daily actions that gradually snowball to create expanded results.
How To Use Tagging Properly For Your Videos
From the YouTube Accelerator course, this lesson helps you choose tags strategically for your videos.
Oftentimes, it’s easy to think of entering tags for your YouTube videos as an “unscientific” process, but if you do a bit of extra research, you can approach this more purposefully, and discover specific keywords you can and would want to rank for.
Greenwood’s process is primarily based around doing some research in Google Ads Keyword Planner, but this lesson also includes some useful tips on using common misspellings, niche terms, and related artists or bands.
This is stuff you might not be thinking about when you’re uploading your videos, so this lesson helps you become more intentional about how you promote on YouTube.
My Strategy For Releasing Songs On Spotify
From the Spotify Profits course, this lesson covers how Greenwood suggests you release your music on Spotify.
Greenwood recommends against submitting your whole album at once, because you can only submit one song to playlist editors per release. So, the solution is to release multiple singles leading up to the full album release.
Greenwood also suggests creating campaigns around your releases, such that you’re able to create a lot of buzz for each release.
So, from a high-level view, in this lesson, you’ll learn how to plan your release schedule for maximum exposure.
It Only Takes A Hit Song To Change Your Life
This lesson comes from the 4K A Month Course. And, in it, Greenwood suggests that writing one great song can change your life and your career.
In this lesson, he goes behind the scenes to show how one of his songs continues to sell every single week and outperforms every other song in his catalog.
He also shares a few tips around writing songs that connect with people and pull at heartstrings, as that’s the essence of a hit song.
So, overall, this lesson might not help you get to your hit song. There aren’t any concrete tactics mentioned.
But it can give you an idea of what’s possible when you keep writing and commit to writing songs that mean something to your audience and give you the inspiration to do just that.
Who Teaches Fanbase University?
Chris Greenwood, aka Manafest, is an award-winning, Billboard-charting independent Christian rapper and rock artist, and teacher at Fanbase University. He’s also a Canadian.
He began making music independently, but he signed with BEC Recordings for a decade before going independent again.
As a teen, Greenwood was an aspiring pro skater. But after getting into an accident in 1998 (additional details not available), he found himself unable to continue.
After turning his attention to music, he started experiencing success. His singles began charting on the Billboard Christian Songs list, and he also won multiple Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Juno awards.
He started Fanbase University in 2015 and has been teaching independent artists how to make it in the music industry on their own terms ever since.
If you’d like to learn more about Chris, you can also Google him.
In this section, we’ll take a quick look at a couple different aspects of the Fanbase University membership platform.
As a general overview, the platform is easy to use and navigate. It’s unlikely you will get lost and you should be able to find your way around from module to module, and lesson to lesson, without issue.
The member’s area, however, is basic and looks very much like a standard templated design.
The membership “experience”, overall, doesn’t have a “premium” feel compared to some platforms we’ve reviewed, but that’s not a major strike in the negative column.
So, it gets the job done.
Now, let’s look at a couple more aspects of the site before getting to our verdict.
Is The Members Area Easy To Navigate?
All the courses are listed on the left hand side and there’s no page refresh when you click onto a new video. This isn’t ideal as you need to scroll up to the top of the page each time you want to watch a new video. This is a design flaw that most other music business courses don’t have.
That said there’s absolutely no reason you should ever get lost. You can find all the training in the sidebar on the left-hand side, and individual videos and links appear in the content area on the right-hand side.
Basically, the entirety of member’s content is on one page.
You may find yourself having to scroll a lot, however, because of the abundance of training programs available. That’s probably the only downside.
You will also find links to Affiliate Sign Up, Affiliate Dashboard, Dashboard, and Logout. For the most part, you probably won’t be using these. There is also a search bar in case you’re looking for a specific lesson, which is handy.
If there’s anything else worth mentioning, it’s just the fact that the modules and lessons are a little disorganized. I would love to see some of the modules combined, with a clearer and more extensive lesson list, rather than the other way around. Some lessons could also be labeled a little better.
Aside from that, Fanbase University is a solid, simple platform that makes it easy for you to focus on the content.
Is Progress Saving Available?
Sort of. It doesn’t seem to work perfectly or in the expected manner, but lessons do get checked off as you go through them.
I have no idea what triggers the check marks next to lessons, but they do show up eventually. It’s possible you’d need to refresh the page, after you’ve completed lessons, to be able to see them.
This isn’t one of ClickFunnels’ strong suits, but at least it’s got the feature.
Canceling The Monthly Membership
The one thing I wasn’t keen on was when I requested to cancel my monthly membership, I didn’t hear back from them for a few days (even though they said they’ll get back in 24 hours on week days). They also mentioned to follow up if you don’t hear back, so I did that and someone canceled my membership.
I’m sure there was no avoiding of canceling intentionally, but as they did mention “If you don’t hear from us within a 24hr time span please, check your spam and send us a follow up”, it did make me wonder if them not replying to emails is somewhat common. Plus, I shouldn’t have to chase up canceling after I’ve requested it already.
Like I said though I got it canceled so that’s the main thing.
Fanbase University Review, The Verdict
One thing I haven’t yet mentioned in this review is the bonuses you get in the post. To be honest I forgot all about these, wrote the review above, then got them in the post.
He (or likely his team) sent a Manafest ring and a couple of books. While this is a nice touch, I feel the actual video courses provide more value.
Overall Fanbase University is a decent option if you like what Manafest is doing and want to learn his way of getting music out there. There’s a lot of good quality courses, and you can see he knows how to market himself.
So that’s it for my Fanbase University review, I also reviewed Smart Music Business which includes his other training. If you’ve joined what did you think of it? Let us know in the comments.