We thought we’d be really big in Liverpool.
As soon as you start performing live or publishing videos on YouTube, you will start building up a local fanbase. Those will be the people living in your village, town, region, or borough. If you live in Luxembourg, Lichtenstein, Monaco, or Andorra, then you may consider your entire country to be your local area. Nowadays, in times of the internet, the term local my also refer to the people in your Facebook friend list living anywhere on the planet, even if you’ll never meet those people in person.
Anyway, this local fanbase should grow rapidly within the first few months you’re doing music, and if you’re lucky then this fanbase will soon include a few hundred of even more people. This is great news, and if you’re able to sell about 500 albums (no matter if we talk about downloads, physical CDs, or both) to those people, then you’ll make about $5,000, which may even be enough to cover your production costs already. Unfortunately there’s a major problem with your local fansbase, and that’s the fact that they give you a completely false impression on how things will evolve from now on.
Your local fanbase has been rapidly growing, and you will expect this trend to continue – but this won’t be the case.
At a specific point of time, you will notice that growth will slow down, and eventually even stop. The reason for this is that an important percentage of your local fanbase doesn’t support you because they think you’re the greatest artist on this planet, but they’re supporting you simply because you’re local. You’re one of them. Our animal instincts tell us that we have to belong to some group and that we need to support the group leader, and this has been happening here. They’re the cavemen and you’re the one who knows how to make fire, that’s why they adore and follow you. This doesn’t mean that you’re doing bad music, but it explains the exceptionally high fan-per-habitant ratio in your local area.
In fact each amateur artist in each region has such a local fanbase, and if you will perform in a different area or town – while leaving your local fanbase at home – you’ll notice that people may not admire you at all. It can even be the opposite, you’re now an outsider and you’re being perceived as a threat by a different group of cavemen who are following their own guru.
In the end you will have to acknowledge that your local fanbase is just an extension of your circle of friends.
Again, those people are very important, they may be very loyal and some of them will do a lot in order to help you with your career. Honor those people and be thankful for their help, but remain realistic and accept that this isn’t the real deal yet.