As a musician, it's natural to want to be discovered and to have your music reach as many people as possible. However, in today's digital age, it's easy to get caught up in the idea that you need a viral hit on TikTok or other social media platforms in order to be successful. But the truth is, you don't need a TikTok hit to be successful as a musician. Followers aren't fans. What you really need is a dedicated audience.
Rick Beato just came out with a fascinating video where he analyzes the top artists on Spotify. Only ONE of the top 250 or whatever artists was a pure TikTok star-turned-artist (JVKE). That's not to say that TikTok can't be a TOOL for building a relationship with fans, it's not the magic bullet for a career that a lot of people say. You don't need a viral video, you need a CAREER…. and careers are built around dedicated audiences.
A dedicated audience is a group of people who love your music and are committed to supporting you. They will buy your music, come to your shows, and tell their friends about you. They are the ones who will help you build your career. And by that I mean give you money so you can keep doing it.
Meet David's Hierarchy of Leads, a model that separates your audience into four categories: non-fans, casual fans, true fans, and superfans. Non-fans are just that, people who have never heard of you or couldn't care less about your music. Casual fans might like one or two of your songs but that's about it. True fans are the ones who will buy your music, come to your shows, and tell their friends about you. Superfans are the ones who will tattoo your lyrics on their bodies and name their firstborn after you. And here's the kicker, it's not the non-fans or casual fans that support a lasting career.
Building a dedicated audience is not rocket science. It's just a matter of consistently putting out good music and connecting with your fans. Use social media to interact with them, answer their questions, and share behind-the-scenes content. Play live shows as often as you can and engage with your audience there. And most importantly, be authentic and true to yourself. Your fans will appreciate your honesty and it will make them more likely to stick around.