If you create a system that rewards attention, the easiest way to get attention is to be a bad actor. That underlies our media ecosystem, that underlies our political system and it’s degrading society in so many ways.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard the story about “Threatin” an LA band, which is basically the creation of a person called Jered Threatin and how he manages to book a European tour without really having a fan base.
He created a record company web page that was bullshit, he created a booking agency web page that was bullshit, he doctored live footage to make it look like he was popular on YouTube which was bullshit and he created a management company website which was of course bullshit as well. He also paid for Facebook likes and comments and YouTube views and many more wonderful things to do with scorched earth marketing.
And through it all, he convinced stupid greedy venue owners in Europe to book him. He even convinced them the shows were sold out. If they just did some due diligence and checked out Threatin’s Spotify account, they would see stream numbers (less than 10K) that didn’t match the spin coming from his “management” and they could have asked some hard questions. But they didn’t, they got had and they got pissed.
If Threatin did pull it off and sell out the gigs based on the made up hype, maybe there would be a different discussion, but hey, people fail more than they succeed. Just because it worked for Rebecca Black and her song “Friday”, it doesn’t mean it will work for others.
But Threatin did exactly what society rewards.
Going back to Ev Williams quote.
You need to be living under a rock to not know that we are living in a social media system that rewards attention to all the bad actors. For right or wrong, feel good and happy ending stories don’t attract people’s attention like the other stories.
But fan bases are not made by being a bad actor. Bad actors will get some eyes checking out the story and then after a day or two, it’s forgotten as people move on.
Fan bases are relationships which take years to build and those relationships will then sustain the artist for many years to come.
But you need to have the tunes and the story to build it. It takes time.