Ever wondered “why people become famous”?

Ever wondered why artists become popular?

I know I’m old, I was around before Facebook. But I have noticed a really interesting trend. People think they can make lasting relationships, real friends by just clicking on a button that says ‘like’ on Facebook.

Just ‘like’ magic you have a new friend. Apparently this friend is worth just as much as that friend that you grew up with and lived next door to. You know, the one that vomited all over you in the car on the way to your weekend at the coast, the same friend that set you up with that cute girl from English class, then got upset because he really liked her.

There is now a new generation of musicians and singers. I grew up experiencing life before the internet and the arrival of online social media. Many young artists have only ever known the social media era when it comes to music. I think there may be something we can learn from both generations to make our music life more satisfying and a little more ‘real’ at the same time.

Back in the day, ten years plus ago, pre Facebook, if you wanted to make friends, this is what you did. You went to a public function, like a dance, a sports club or a bar. Basically somewhere that had groups of people. You chatted for hours, discovered what people were like, made a few contacts that you really enjoyed being around. You then swapped phone numbers or found out where they worked. Next was to ring or drop in at work and organise to drop round for a BBQ or a different activity and so on. Making friends was a big process. Now I know that this process still happens with every generation, but for a musician, making ‘friends’ or ‘fans’ is actually the same process. Let me show you the Facebook model.

Someone hears about your music and then likes you on Facebook. You get 1000 likes, you then put on an event and out of those 1000 people, 50 turn up, that’s 5%. Why did those other 950 people not want to come to your event? Many reasons, but a big reason is that they don’t know you well enough to want to go to your gig. They are not ‘real’ friends yet. The main reason is, they haven’t experienced who you are.

Back in the day, to sell records meant getting out there, it meant meeting people and making real personal contact with people.

So often I see a young artist release their recording, EP or album, promote it on social media and wonder why they aren’t famous yet. Big news flash, social media is …… wait for it, ‘Media’. It’s about keeping your name out there and informing your existing fans about what is going on. You can, if you like, spend all your time trying to push yourself digitally into peoples lives, but the reality is real contact, with real people, giving them a real experience of you and your music is a thousand times more effective at making ‘real friends’. Then as a bonus, you have more real friends, as in ‘real’, that you have met and can catch up with again and it’s like ‘real’. That’s how you have real fans. Now what can the younger generation teach the older musicians? So you’ve got all those real fans, get online and let us know what’s happening, otherwise how will we know when your next gig, album or single is coming out. We’re your friends, we’ve met you in person or have seen you perform live and we are interested in what’s happening.

So to answer my original question, why do people become famous or popular?

They connect with people in a personal way that makes them real. Then people genuinely want to know them. As a result, they have‘real’ fans.

Go ‘off the line’ momentarily and experience what real life feels like. You will be pleasantly surprised and may make some new real friends.

Chris Richter