When independent music started being a “trend,” fans loved this idea that they might “find” an artist “before they became big.” And somehow, even though the world has changed, fans still have this concept in their head. That they might know an artist and see them in a small venue today, and then two years later they might be playing a stadium. And they can point to the artist and tell all their friends, “I knew them when…”
C’est d’hommage, my friends. If anything, it’s the other way around now. You might hear an artist in an amphitheater and then that builds enough of an audience to sustain them two years later playing in small theaters, clubs and listening rooms.
All the time, I hear fans say to an artist, to their face, usually after a show – “You’re amazing. You ought to be bigger.” They think it’s a compliment, but for most artists that’s just a crushing thought. In their mind, they’re doing everything they know how to do to get known. But today it’s up to the fans to make an artist bigger.
So as an artist, you have to ask yourself,
“What type of fans am I cultivating?
“Are the people who listen to my music the types who share their favorite music with others, or the types who hovel in a corner and hoard the the things they love?”
“What can I do to help them help me?”
And as a manager, I have to ask myself,
“How will the fan mindset change as it sinks in that people don’t ‘get big’ like that anymore?”
“How is fan behavior changing, now that they feel so overwhelmed with all the different and new music being pummeled at them on Facebook and Twitter today?”
“What is it that still makes a fan feel open to and excited about something new?”