It’s a given that the lifeline of a music artist in this day and age is a reflection of his/her fanbase. So musicians pay for ads, go on tours, perform on Facebook Live, get featured in mainstream and digital media, shoot videos, reinvent themselves, learn dances, etc, etc, etc. All to get more fans so that those new fans can prolong their career, so that ultimately they can enjoy doing what they love doing most while getting paid for it. There’s a sharp twist along the way though. Your biggest fans, those who will study all your lyrics, music composition, tell their friends about you, buy your merch, comment on your online posts, are NOT who you think they are. They are NOT regular people. They are MUSICIANS. Yes, you read that right, the biggest possible fans you will ever have, will be musicians themselves in a way or another.
Here’s the thing: the average person won’t know to differentiate the quality of your music against the rest of the noise on the market. The average person will just “feel” whether you sound good or bad when compared to his favorite mainstream acts. The average person does not have time to do research new bands, new trends, new collaborations. They couldn’t care less whether you hired a squad of instrumentists to build your song from scratch or if you did it on your own in your bedroom. So when you are trying to grow and establish notoriety as an upcoming musician, FORGET about winning over the average Joe. He will listen to WHOEVER is playing on the radio.
You should focus instead on winning over people who are heavily invested in the music industry themselves. These people can range from the cashier at a record store, the booking agent for a local venue, the author specialized in music marketing, the girl doing covers on YouTube, the guy designing artwork for other musicians, the journalist at a music blog, and last but not least, other musicians themselves. These individuals have in most of the cases, an acute sense of music analysis. They will know when you went too hard with the autotune, when you’ve used synthetic sounds only, when you didn’t get your record properly mixed or mastered. The upside is that this means they will equally know when you’ve upgraded your sound, when you’ve put in the extra effort to deliver organic instruments, when you invested in those extra hours with vocal coaches one on one so you can hit your notes properly, when you are evolving as an artist overall and they will go HARD for you. Because they UNDERSTAND the work that goes behind it, the more you level up, the more they will support you. In our own observations, it’s other musicians who support an upcoming artist by buying their merch, donating to their album production funding, sharing the links to their videos, shouting them out on social media, and opening doors for them in the industry.
Think about the hospitality industry. It’s a fact that the most generous tippers and nicest customers are people who themselves work in the hospitality industry or who have worked in the field in the past. So when you accidentally drop a plate and are dying of embarassment on the inside, the guy who used to be a server himself will jump to help you and be like “It’s okay! It happens to the best of us!” while the dude who never waited tables in his life will ask to speak to your manager. This mentality applies the exact same way to the music industry. While the average Joe will keep scrolling past your latest IG post, the musician who genuinely enjoys your craft will drop a like and a comment because he knows that will help you with visibility and the algorithm.
Don’t stress over appealing to people who have nothing to do with the music business. They will be the last ones to find out you’re a star and the last ones to support you. Focus instead on getting the support and genuine friendship of your colleagues. Aim for being acknowledged by people who are knees-deep in the music industry.