1000 Fans To Fame, Fortune and Freedom: RR001
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1000 Fans To Fame, Fortune and Freedom: RR001

It’s been a long time coming but after meeting so many talented artists and creative individuals I found that a common problem was the uncertainty of developing a loyal fan base to continually drive the passions these people have. Thus I took a crack at a podcast to keep all creative types informed so they can find their audience, grow their fan bases and live off their passions.

This is my first crack at it so feel free shoot me any notes, questions, comments and feedback so I can make this better. Enjoy and meet you in the first episode.



  • The ‘starving artist’ saying is a lie and creative types can live pretty well through their passions
  • The definition of a true fan and where to find them to get more exposure
  • Why it’s so important to build a true fan base and loyal audience to continue your creative passion
  • Examples of individuals (eg. Michelle Phan, Mathew Inman and Justin Biber) who turned their creative passions into a full time gig
  • A formula from the executive editor of ‘Wired Magazine’ that breaks down how a creative individual can live off their art from 1000 true fans


1000 True Fans Written By Kevin Kelly

Beauty and Fashion Vlogger Michelle Phan

Hilarious Comic Strip Artist and Blogger Mathew Inman of The Oatmeal

Pop Sensation and Humble Man (Just Kidding) Justin Bieber

Nielsen’s Fan Make Up Chart That Shows The Money Spent By Fan Category


Click here for the transcript to 1000 Fans To Fame Freedom and Fortune.

Hey, and welcome to Remix Release where we promote and support your creative talent. And how we do this is we share your work, help you build your following so you can truly live your passion. I’m really stoked today because this is our first podcast up on air. Today, I wanted to specifically talk about 1,000 fans to fame, fortune, and freedom.­

So what this means is it’s pretty counter intuitive. But we’re not gonna talk about you right now, we’re gonna talk about your fans. The people that are gonna help elevate your career, your creativity, your passion. So whether you’re a painter, you’re a business entrepreneur, you’re a blogger, you’re a musician, I wanna take this time to talk about the thousand true fans, they’re gonna change your life. Now, as long as you build a little audience that engages, relates, and cares about what you do and why you do it– this is what’s gonna take you to the next level in pursuing your passion or showcasing your creativity. In fact, there’s a popular article floating around right now– it’s been around here for a few years, and it’s by a gentleman named Kevin Kelly. He’s an executive editor for a little magazine you may have heard called ‘Wired’ which regularly posts about technology and the such. He’s also appeared in GQ and the New York Times. And what he’s talking about is this 1,000-Fan theory.

To spare you from reading it the summary of the article is basically about being a creator. A creator such as an artist, a musician, photographer, animator, designer, author, and whatnot. These types of people who are producing these works of art only need to acquire 1,000 true fans to essentially make a living. And these true fans, as defined by Kevin, is basically someone who’s willing to purchase anything and everything you produce. If you’re a band or if you’re a singer, they’re willing to drive 200 miles to see you sing. They’ll buy your super deluxe, reissued high res box set, other stuff, even though they already have your low res version. They’ve already bookmarked your pages where you’re sending out-of-print editions of any posters that are showing up, and they come to any of your openings and they want their merchandise signed by you. These people, these fans just can’t wait to get you to issue your next work. These are your true fans.

So Kevin goes on to say that– directly for one person, all they need are 1,000 of these true fans. If you’re merely not stuck upon getting into that [inaudible] of acquiring fans and you wanna focus more on your art or whatever you may be producing, that it might be– actually, it is a good idea to have someone on your side to help you manage your fans, acquire them, discover them simply because it’s pivotal, if you’re taking it seriously. So if you’re adding this other person, think of it as adding another 1,000 true fans. So with each addition, you’re gonna be adding 1,000 true fans. So if you’re deciding to have someone else join such as a partner or a manager of some sort, then count on adding additional 1,000 true fans to really make a living.

You’re probably now wondering, so where’s the current breakdown of how much you could possibly gain from 1,000 true fans? Let me put it into perspective. If one fan could spend one day’s worth of work for $100 then 1,000 fans can net you $100,000. And if you think about it, that’s not that bad. Yes, there’s gonna be some expenses that you’re gonna incur. If you’re a musician, there’s studio time. If you’re an artist, you have to get supplies with the galleries and stuff like that. If you’re a blogger, there’s a little less. But hey, you still have to pay for your website and such, maybe some promotion. But what I’m saying is that this isn’t actually that far off.

Let’s say I want to go back to a space that’s kind of not doing so well, let’s talk about music. We all know music is in a very, very difficult place right now. There’s consistent pain points there. And I thought it would be a good example because music is something that people aren’t buying any more of. Yet there’s an increase in amount of consumption for music, right? People, they don’t buy it, they still want it. They still really, really need it and it’s integral to parts of their lives. We could see this in the constant file sharing and the streaming services that are slowly eating away at this industry.

In 2013, there is a very reputable company known as Nielsen did a study. The average music spent was broken down into three different types of groups. We have the aficionados. Excuse my pronunciation. But these are the hardcores. This segment will basically spend whatever it is on all formats whether it’s music, merchandise, concerts, subscriptions to streaming services. They will spend at least, on average, $422/year. The next group? Digital fan. These digital fans basically consider themselves to be trendsetters. They go seeking the newest, coolest thing. They’re still willing to spend quite a fair amount to be engaged in that. To basically have that piece of their identity revolve around spotting the next hottest thing or whatever it may be. This type of fan is $363/year in terms of spend. And then you get the big box fan. These guys are not as hardcore as the aficionados or the digital fans but they’re on the other realm. If you think of the aficionados being the core, the digital fans being the halo around that, these big box fans are the ones that are a little bit beyond all those. They tend to buy based on discounts and the like however, they still [inaudible] spend $196/year.

These are just averages. If you take a look at the spread the $422, the $362, the $196 and if you averaged it out, if an artist, if a musician could take at least a quarter of that, really appeal to these fans I would confidently say that Kevin’s onto something. $100/year is not that out of mind. I’m not saying it’s easy. There’s a major battle in finding your 1,000 and that’s what I’m here for. It isn’t as crazy as you think it is. Take for instance the many personalities that have emerged throughout the last couple of years. The sheer talent that this creative individual– just step forward in this crazy digital revolution.

One of them is Michelle Phan. Have you heard of her? If you haven’t, she’s a beauty vlogger with extraordinary taste in make-up and fashion. She just started off in the kitchen showing women her make-up techniques. And now, fast forward, give or take seven or eight years later, boom. Lancôme spokeswoman. Wow. Just amazing, right? Just a rags to riches story. That’s just crazy.

Next example, Matthew Inman. Sorry Matthew, if you’re listening, I might’ve botched your name. Creator of The Oatmeal. This is a site that simply pumps out cartoons that are hilarious. Making fun of everyday life or things that we were thinking of but we never wanted to say out loud. But man, this guy has such a huge following because he pokes fun at everyday life. You may have heard of his most recent project, it was on Kickstarter and it was called Exploding Kittens. Yeah. I don’t know too much about it either. Or maybe you do. But essentially, it’s a card game. The goal was to basically get initial raise of $10,000. But Matthew was shocked because after a few weeks, he reached $8.7M getting at least over 200,000 orders. Amazing. And that is the power of a solid fanbase. Again, he didn’t discover this overnight, it took him a while to build up this fanbase. But when he stuck to it, he eventually reaped the rewards.

And finally, my last example, I’ll keep it a mystery, maybe you guess till the end. He’s an individual that is also from the Great White North, Canada, and he took liberty in developing a few homemade videos and singing a few covers and managed to catch the eye of a certain RnB superstar right now, Usher Raymond. As it turned out, things worked out for him. He developed a very good, loyal following online, he was talented, and boom, he’s now the world’s biggest popstar. Despite his obnoxious shenanigans on the side– the person I’m referring to is Justin Bieber.

So as you can see, just by building the fanbase and doing what you’re passionate about, what your art is, what your creativity is, naturally lends itself to building a fanbase. To do this 20 years ago would’ve been crazy. We’re stuck with print, we’re stuck with radio, we’re stuck with TV. Like the way to express your talents and creativity was just hindered. You couldn’t do that, you needed heavyweights to help put you on the next billboard, on the next show. But now with the Internet, we have so many channels to express ourselves, to build our following. It isn’t too far-fetched to get that 1,000 true fans. And you know what? In a sense, you probably already have a few true fans in your network. These are the people that you deal with everyday.

They’re your friends, they’re your family– and they support you in whatever endeavor you decide to pursue and would gladly hand over that cash right upon your first book release or maybe it’s a gig you landed or they’ll be the first ones to line up at the doors to your new business. Think about those people and think about how do you nurture those people in. Yes, they know you which is what you want your future fans to know. So it’s just not about getting plays or social shares or mentions or even likes because those are pretty good validation points but start thinking about keeping tabs on your true fans, the ones that support you regardless, the ones that tune in every week, that leave a comment, that help support you. You wanna take note of these people because they’re gonna be the bricks that lay down your foundation.

In closing, I want you to think about how you’re gonna get your 1,000 true fans. I’ll definitely be here to help you out. I want you to know that doing what you do now is important. It’s important because your fans are out there and they want you to inspire them. They want you to educate them. They want you to entertain them. They want you to be part of their lives. It is your duty to find your 1,000 true fans. And you know what? If there’s one key takeaway, the best way to start is not only finding your 1,000 true fans but to reply to your existing fans. To thank them, to retweet them, and have them become your advocate. So think about it. I’ll be here if you need me. All of the research and the statistics I outlined above, I’ll have them at www.remixrelease.com/1000fans.

Thank you so much for tuning in to the first episode of Remix Release. All the show notes will be, again, at www.remixrelease.com/1000fans. Give me a shout if you have any questions in the comments section, will gladly answer them. But hey, listen, and I am excited to help you make an impression on the world. Let’s find your fans. I’ll see you in the next episode.

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  1. Pingback: ABCD's To Building An Audience and Getting Noticed FAST: RR002 | Remix Release | Find Your Audience. Grow Your Fan Base And Followers.

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