When you’re starting out as an artist you don’t have fans, you have supporters. The people who support you are most often your friends, family, & fellow artists you’ve befriended from your scene.
Being supportive is work. It entails taking the time to listen to your songs, watch your videos, vote for you in competitions, come to see you perform live, and downloading & buying your music. This is more manageable when you’re the only friend among your friends trying to make it in music. It becomes much more difficult when every one of your friends has multiple friends trying to make it in music. People don’t have the time, money, & energy to support all of their friends so they unconsciously become selective. They support those they have close relationships with & are emotionally invested in the success of & those they feel have the greatest potential of succeeding.
Your success is determined by achievement: getting featured on a popular blog or magazine, played on an established station like hot 97, working with established artists, or getting signed. The support is conditional because you need to continuously achieve to maintain it. You have to achieve greater things as time goes on to avoid growing stale. If not, people will accept that you’re not going to go any farther than where you are & that they’ve taken you as far as they can take you and move on.
Without achievement you’re forced to stand on the merit of your music alone. If they love it or are moved by it, they’ll get behind it. If they’re not, they won’t.Through achievement you become an asset to your supporters. When they meet people they can say they have a friend, a cousin, an uncle, with a song on Hot 97, that’s been in a popular magazine or blog, that works with Jay Z, or is signed to this or that label. You enable them to give the appearance of being “connected” and boost their stature. The closer you get to success, the closer everyone that knows them gets to success because of their connection to you. There’s a self-serving agenda behind their support.
When it comes to activating and mobilizing your support group, it’s very important to know the type of support group you have. Friends and family will be motivated by your achievement. Fans just want good music.
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