Editorial: Is there any point in 'buying' your fans?

FansThere is no secret that many artist if not all artist now a days buys vies, fans, like, followers etc. to help boast their career.  This is absolutely not limited to unsigned artist as few months back YouTube publish news that showed that some of the biggest culprits where major labels. Youtube went ahead and took anyway all those views. In light of that Facebook began doing some investigation themselves along with Twitter and Instagram and reducing followers and likes in the process.  But this has not stopped anyone.
Check out this great article we found on The guardian that talks about this buying.
One of the most staggering statistics I took from this year’s The Great Escape was that analytics company MusicMetric is currently tracking 450,000 artists. As it’s not following every artist out there, we can safely say there are more than half a million competing for your attention. So how are they supposed to get heard?
Unsurprisingly, new companies have emerged that are intent on profiting from the increasing desperation of artists and start-up record labels, in the same way that modelling agencies prey on young, naïve hopefuls.
Last year, I questioned if internet radio stations like Jango and Last.fm’s Powerplay – which charged $30 and $200, respectively, for 1000 plays – were actually giving value for money. Now, with social media becoming increasingly important in marketing, some companies are selling “fans” and “followers”.
On Usocial.net you can buy 1,000 Twitter followers for $87, 1,000 Facebook friends for $197, and 5,000 YouTube views for $97. There’s an annoying woman who pops up on each of their pages, saying things like: “We know the secrets to making an overnight rockstar on Twitter … without any effort.”
It’s unclear from Usocial’s website how they go about getting you these followers and views, but maybe Subvertandprofit.com provides a clue. Subvert and Profit (even the name makes me queasy) charges a $0.40 “base price” per Facebook and Twitter follower and $0.75 per YouTube vote. They also have a Social Media User page, which describes how you can earn money from performing tasks on social media sites. You earn a “base price” of $0.20 (a maximum of $0.50) per task performed on Facebook and Twitter ($0.30 on YouTube). They even have a pyramid scheme where, if you refer a friend, you earn $0.05 every time they perform a task.
As anyone with any sense knows, thousands of Twitter followers do not a rock star make. It’s a warped system when the marketing company and the “music fan” makes money out of the artist, with little – if any – gain for the artist. What’s to stop someone signing up for a Twitter and Facebook account that they never look at, just to make money from “performing tasks”?
One of the worst examples of a company taking advantage of desperate artists is a new Australian venture called Chartfixer (the clue is in the name). For $6,000, Chartfixer will crowd-source 1,000 downloaders to each buy a digital copy of an artist’s track from iTunes. After purchasing the track, the downloader can claim the cost back and obtain a reward of one dollar. In Australia, 1,000 sales can get you into the top 80, whereas 5,000 sales (which would cost $25,000) can buy you a potential top 20 hit.
They’re hoping to launch in the UK – where you’d need a lot more sales to get into the charts – but since the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) says that sales for any release found to be using the service would be disqualified, they may find it difficult to find customers here.
My advice for artists fighting to get heard is to build their fanbase organically. It takes time, but that’s how you develop a loyal fanbase. If you find it difficult attracting fans, try spending more time practising and developing your songwriting skills than on social media (that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use social media, but get the music right first). Try to be distinctive – you’re competing with half a million artists.
Whatever you do, do not be lured into paying for the “shortcuts” these companies are selling. After all, it’s difficult enough these days getting people to pay for the music they like.

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