Strong internet presence is a coveted thing amongst many independent artists.  So much so, that for some lies the temptation to take shortcuts to gain notoriety. There are a plethora of companies that offer the illusion that more people are paying attention to an artist than there actually are.  The truth is that there are people on this planet who believe something is hot simply because they are told that it is or they’re seeking to be a part of the first wave of the next big thing.  While these tactics may draw the attention of those individuals to you, they are bandwagon fans and they’re not going to be loyal.  If you are only concerned with appearances, you are not going to attract a fan base that will provide you with longevity.

In the long run, it will be more beneficial if you are able to build relationships with real fans that truly enjoy your art as opposed to “liking” you simply because they believe your video had 75,000+ views or your mixtape was downloaded 10,000 times.  This concept can be spread across all of the platforms that currently exist, but let’s briefly take a look at a few of the major ones individually.

Companies offer you a large number of followers (and even tweets) for a nominal fee in comparison.  While it may “look good” if you have a large number of people following you, what benefit does it provide if these followers:

1) Are not real
2) Are simply paid to follow you
3) Have no interest in your music

Real followers with a genuine interest in your music provide the opportunity for interaction as well as promotion as they may potentially share your music with the individuals who follow them.  Numbers are great, but real numbers can take you a lot further.

Also, there’s a site to make it easier to spot who’s intentionally beefing up their count or to check on the number of spam accounts following you…

YouTube’s crackdown made headlines in 2012 and brought to the forefront the number of people/companies that utilized bot services to boost views, likes and comments.  This metric left untouched could provide insight as to what traction your music organically receives.

Worldstar Hip Hop
In addition to paying  $750+ for Worldstar to even accept your video (if your video doesn’t have a sizable legitimate following) paying to increase the views just adds to the costs piling up.  That money could be spent on studio time, collaborations, musicians, production, distribution, true marketing, touring, etc.  This is not to say that you shouldn’t submit your video to Worldstar (by all means if you feel it’s a beneficial avenue for you to share your music go right on ahead) but if you do, you should not spend additional dollars to fudge your video views once it is there.

Paying for page views, song plays, and fans corrupts what could be another viable assessment as to who your market is.  ReverbNation tracks and shows you key demographic and other helpful information such as ages and locations of fans, what networks they use, which songs they’re engaged in, etc.  This is great information for an artist to have, but purchasing these packages skews the numbers thus diluting the value the site offers.

When I learned that companies were selling views, streams and downloads for this site, I was perplexed. People come to this site seeking to download free music.  If you feel that people would not want your music for free, you should probably reevaluate what it is that you hope to gain from being an artist.  Again, if you have to skew your numbers to get people to pay attention to you, you’re going to attract the fleeting fan that will forget about you the moment the next hot thing comes along while you’re working on your next project.

Similar to falsifying your ReverbNation stats, purchasing likes also taints an otherwise beneficial way to view the insights that Facebook provides as to how engaged your fans are.

This site is another good way to gauge how many people are interested in your work, and which songs they enjoy listening to.  Buying soundcloud plays and followers distorts this information.

Purchasing followers and likes for Instagram is faking relatability.  It’s purely for perception and provides no benefit.

If aesthetics are the only thing that you are hoping to gain from this you must realize that the very individuals you are seeking to impress are well aware of the fact that the packages you’ve purchased or have considered purchasing exist.  If you have a great sound, trust it.  If you don’t have a great sound, the number of plays, streams, downloads, views, likes, comments, etc. is not going to mask that.  Use the tools available to you in the way they were intended so you can gain more from them and take those dollars and invest them in your art.