A big corporation ripping off small businesses and independent artists is wrong. And in a time when it’s hard to find or keep a job, that’s an easy cause for people to get behind. I think another big reason this spread so quickly was because it was a genuine sentiment (stick it to the man, support this little guy) and that’s something that plenty of people believe in. When I worked at a big corporation, they were always asking how to “make something go viral” – but the truth is that nobody wants to retweet some lame press release that talks about what a great company you are, or asks people to buy your latest product. But something with meaning, something with a story behind it, something that people can identify with – now that’s an idea that spreads.
Karnes also points to this fascinating article, which I can't believe I hadn't already read, about how you only need 1,000 true fans to make a living:
A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can't wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.
According to this piece, if you have 1,000 fans, each willing to pay you $100 per year to do what you do, then you are pulling in $100,000 per year. Time for me to convert you "casual fans" into "True Fans," I suppose...