This is going to be a bit of navel gazing! I apologize in advanced!
I had this interaction today that's got me thinking again about something that I perseverate on from time to time. The question is: Why isn't my core audience bigger?
I'm talking daily viewers, YouTube subscribers, Twitter followers, Patreon patrons and email listers. Etc ad infinitum.
The interaction went like this:
1 I've been writing a song a day for over 6 years
2 Oh wow! How many YouTube subscribers?
2 Oh, huh.
1 Yeah it's weird, you'd think there'd be more.
2 Yeah it seems like a no brainer.
Here's another typical interaction that I had at a party last year with an old friend:
1 What kind of daily views you getting?
2 I guess like 300-500?
1 Really?! That's it?!
1 Man, I thought it was like 50,000 or something.
2 Ha, people that don't watch everyday tend to think that.
1 I guess it's cuz I only see the viral ones.
2 I think that's it exactly.
These interactions illustrate the same thing: People THINK that I should have a way larger audience than I actually have.
With all the viral success that I've had, and the persistence of my work, you'd think that I had all the elements for a large scale internet project. My numbers don't really reflect that. In other words, my audience seems limited relative to my viral and persistence success. Why isn't my audience as big as people expect it to be?
Now don't get me wrong - I don't want you thinking that this is a "I'm feeling sorry for myself" post. Cuz I'm not. I really, truly, honestly am 100% grateful for everyone that enjoys what I do, and I'm very happy in my life in general. I start thinking about this stuff because I feel like I want to try to look at it objectively.
There are a few options that I've thought of for why this could be. I'd be super curious if you, dear reader, have any additional ideas!
1. While my output is consistent, my subject matter and style are not. If I wrote ONLY pop songs about Apple, I think my core audience would be bigger. If I wrote ONLY folk songs from my heart, I think my audience would be bigger. I think because I'm sort of all over the place, it limits me in a weird way. But "all over the place" is the only way I'd ever want to be. It's just me.
2. Maybe a song a day really is too much. Maybe my audience would be bigger if I only released something once a week. I don't think this would have much bearing on the quality of my music, but I do think it's quite possible that there is something to be said for "less is more" when it comes to giving your listening public new stuff to listen to.
3. Building on that idea, I think I haven't always been the best at guiding new, potential fans through the sonic hoard that is my music. I don't really have a "start here". I need one. I don't know what goes in the "start here", but I think it could possibly help.
4. I used to have this sense that I just was not good enough. Again, not necessarily in a "feel bad about myself" sort of way, but in a sort of detached "well, it's an option that you have to consider" sort of way. Maybe the reason my audience isn't bigger is simply that I am not good enough. I think I still harbor some of this feeling, but not as much anymore. Even just in the last year and a half I feel like I've gained a lot of confidence in myself as a songwriter, producer and singer. I do think my work is great and I don't think it's quality is a huge factor in why my audience isn't bigger.
Maybe it's really a combo of #1-3?
There's a point when I go down the hole of thinking about this stuff when I have to stop to consider the fact that the size of my audience, while important, is far from the most important reason that I make music. And when it comes to Song A Day - there are all these benefits and upsides to it, that even if #1-3 are holding me back in some way, I don't think I would abandon Song A Day or do things different, just for the sake of faster, bigger growth. As I said, I'm generally happy with what I'm doing and where I'm going.
Maybe someday me and larger audience will eventually find each other. In the meantime, thanks for reading!