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© Christian Behring/Geisler-Fotopr/dpa/Corbis
Your success on YouTube – is this all sort of a happy accident, or did you really research what it took to break on the channel?
“A little bit of both. Originally, I met a filmmaker named Devin Graham, and he wanted to do a video for me. He put it on his channel, and suddenly it got all of these hits. My music started selling – it was amazing. I went to him and asked him everything I could about YouTube. I researched it myself and studied. I learned that it’s not just happenstance – you can’t simply hope that things go viral – but rather, there is a formula for success. I worked super, super hard to get those first 100,000 subscribers. Now the ball is rolling, and I have a fan base that can spread things out there for me. But it’s hard at first. You have to break through.”
When you say “formula,” what exactly do you mean?
“You have to find your followers. You have to study YouTube and work it. A really effective way is to collaborate with other artists or other people on YouTube – if you can appear on their channel, then you can link it to your channel. So you’re sharing fans. You have to reach out to people who are into your sphere. Obviously, you can’t reach for the stars at first – you have to start with people who have 20,000 followers or below. But it works. Little by little, you build up.
“Also, I would go on Twitter and find artists who I thought had a similar audience to mine. For instance, I went to Yanni on Twitter, and I started following his followers. These people would be like, ‘Oh, this random chick is following me.’ But they would look at my thing, and a lot of them started following me back. So it’s about following the followers [laughs], but then they become your fans. Little things like that.
“Also, you have to be consistent with your posts. When I first started, I would post a new video every two weeks. It became like a TV station. My fans knew, ‘OK, every two weeks, on Tuesday, Lindsey’s gonna have a new video.’ It became something they could depend on. Stuff like that really matters.”