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The common sense about the music business now (2012) is that a band firstly has to have lots of online friends, with whom the band constantly interacts, and it has to create a distinctive culture that defines the band and the fans.
I saw a little of that happening when I was a house soundman in the early Eighties. I noticed then that the crowd for each band, after a while, came to resemble the band. The funniest incidence of that regarded a band called the Antoinettes. They were four pretty (very) little (very) petite (very) young (very) women (very). After a year or so, as their audience sorted itself out, the sea of heads between the stage and the sound board was a solid foot lower than with any other band. I could sit on a bar stool and see the band over a full standing house, because it only stood about five foot high.
If a band has to create a culture around it, doesn't that mean that it has to stay uniform and predictable? My band's schtick is variety, and there's no way to bring variety to a critical mass.