Look at every “music promotion” and “how to gain a following” article written and they’ll all include the following advice: “interact with every fan every time“. Well it may not make a difference. Surprisingly, it may serve to make you look less professional and less established than the artists and musicians you’re trying to aspire to.
How Many Of Your Initial “Fans” Are Regular Music Fans?
Look at the typical person who follows or interacts with new music artists and groups; they’re the same kinds of people also creating “music” (I use that word lightly). All desperate for exposure, especially in the electronica community. The entire point of “respond to every fan!!” is just that; responding to fans. But the majority of interactions will be from, technically, your musical peers.
Your music peers all know the same advice, “respond to every fan!!”, so they won’t be impressed when they leave a comment on your work, “This is creative, your arrangement in the strings section is interesting.“, and you reply back with “Thanks!” or even “Yeah, it was interesting creating the string section.“.
Music makers are more interested and impressed with those that give back. Responding to people commenting on YOUR stuff is not “giving back”, you’re being selfish by talking about your own creations when you’re not talking about their creations in return.
Giving A “Thanks” Holds Barely Any Meaning If You’re Not Already Established
This applies to both music creators and actual, normal fans. Now-a-days, receiving a “thanks” or “Thank you!!” from someone basically serves the same “mark as read”. It essentially is the same as sending an email message to someone, they never respond, you confront them about it and they say “Oh, no, I did read it, but who replies to emails? Pff…”
Think about it, a person takes time to listen or interact with you for some various reason and you respond to them like you do everyone else. “Thanks! : ) 1 luv!! xoxo“, “thanks xoxo” “Thanks xoxo 1 luv!“. Think about it, they added something of value to your content and you couldn’t even be bothered to reply back anything original. Now, I understand, if you’re getting all a bunch of “cool“, “awesome” and “sweet” replies, of course you’re not given enough feedback to reply anything meaningful (and, very likely, those are fake, BS comments).
But when you have a song that has flutes and deep bass and people comment “i like the bass here” and “the flutes are neat“, it’s understandable you’ll start seeing the same subject patterns repeat, but it’s because they’re actually commenting on the real subjects points of your song. There’s always reasons to comment more than just “thanks”, you can talk about why the bass sounds cool or deep, or why the flute has a natural flow to it or whatever. If they say “the flute here flows so well“, honestly, even just repeating their questions back to them works well enough to show you’re not spam thanking them, “Thanks, I’m glad you think the flute flows well here.”
But the point here is that just thanking with the same, standard responses you’ve giving to everyone else doesn’t add value. In fact…
Responding With Shallow Thank You Replies May Do More Harm Than Good
Think about it. You’re either a fan or a music creator yourself, you find someone’s song, decide to take time out of your busy schedule to mention something about their creation. They acknowledge your comment with the same old response they give everyone else, “thank you” and nothing more. Man, they didn’t bother to check out your music, a fellow music creator? Or man, they didn’t bother to follow you back, an actual fan of theirs?
You get kinda’ snubbed. “That’s… rude.” you think to yourself. “Well, then, I’m gonna’ unfollow them.” you think to yourself, or you think “If this person treated my comment no different than anyone else’s, then I’m not bothering checking out any more of their material.”
Remember, every single music promotion advice article preaches “reply to every comment!!” as if it’s some surefire music advice, like “more fans equals more plays“. But I’ve clearly made the case that it’s not “surefire music advice”.
Not Replying At All Is Rude, But May Make An Artist Look More Established
Here’s the thing; artists that aren’t struggling don’t follow this advice. They don’t. Go test the theory out now… Go find an artist who isn’t struggling to establish a foothold, go comment on one of their songs. Getting a response is like winning $50 in the lottery; not impossible, but also not likely.
These artists are bucking the “successful artist 101” cardinal rule. Yet, funny, they’re all not only successful in some degree, they gain more fans and more of a following every day. According to the music promotion article gurus, they should be hemorrhaging fans because of this.
Then you look at all the struggling, non-established artists out there; they’re all taking the “successful artist 101” advice of interacting with everyone and they’re not successful.
It feels like fans, and even other musicians, respect those that snub them and don’t respond to anyone. Why? I can only imagine that it gives people the illusion that they’re talking to someone great who is too busy to interact back. They are, after all, content creators… their fans are the content consumers. It just kinda’ makes sense for artists to put out content and for the fans to consume the content by either listening to it or commenting back.
Replying To Every Comment Or Not; Neither Guarantees Success
That’s the hard, unwritten truth these music promotion article writers won’t tell you. They won’t tell you because it’s much easier for someone getting paid to “advise” struggling musicians that the reason why their music isn’t taking off is because they’re not interacting with their fans.
But there’s no stats to back this up. In fact, nearly every “success” story they’ll point out, like The Arctic Monkeys or Pretty Lights, they all got their success for reasons or situations that are not available for other people to imitate. Don’t believe they simply got their success for sharing a FEW of their songs / albums for free or by interacting and “being genuine” with their *cough cough* existing fanbase.
So, should you reply to every comment? Man, don’t you get it? I don’t have the answers, and neither do these music article promoting gurus and neither do successful artists. People are creating way too much music, more than people have time to consume (and most of it is horrible). 20% of all songs on Spotify haven’t even been played once. And that’s for artists professional enough to have their stuff on Spotify. If I had to guess, I’d say about less than 5% of the music on SoundCloud is even on Spotify. And, my theory is, roughly one Spotify play equals 100 SoundCloud plays for unestablished artists.
No One Else Can Give Answers To Your Own Questions
Will interacting with commenters further your music’s development? Sorry, bucko… That’s “your” personal question and no one else has “your” answers. Those that write articles about successful music promotion aren’t successful at promoting music / artists themselves. Think about it, if they were, they would have money and wouldn’t need to write those articles for pennies on the dollar. And those that are successful music promoters don’t need to write articles for chump change. More important, they wouldn’t write articles sharing their secrets to success; it’s just bad business sense.
Later. – MJ