Popularity as an argument is probably one of the biggest insanity that exists in this world. It seems that most people I meet are only able to make "arguments" based on popularity. One of their first responses in an argument is often something like this:
"You are not popular, so you must be bad"
"You are not popular, because the language you use is wrong and if you would use nicer language, then you would be more popular"
"You are not successful, because you are not popular"
"If you were really that good at what you do, then why are you not popular"
"Look I'm more popular so I'm right"
"What you do is not popular, so you are wrong"
"What you use is not popular, so I will not use it"
and so on
I put "argument" in quotes, because obviously popularity is not an argument and that is because popularity is arbitrary. Anyone can decide for any reason or without a reason at all what he will like or not, there is no inherent logic behind that. Most people have probably experienced this when they were still children in school or so, where some people or some things were popular and others were not, but now where they are adults and look back they can see how it was all meaningless nonsense and they would be embarrassed if they still would behave that way now. Sadly this is still the case, but they don't know about it or don't want to know. Another example that should open everyone's eyes is to look back what was popular in the past and imagine someone today would look and behave like someone in the 60s,70s,80s, 90s or whatever time in the past. If people from today would see such a person they would all point to that person and laugh and say how uncool and embarrassing that is, well and they are right and wrong at the same time. Wrong in so far, that they behave as stupid as people before them, the only difference is that time did not have enough time yet to expose them for the idiots they are.
Let's get back to the popularity "argument". It should be clear now that popularity is not an argument, since it is arbitrary and will not stand the test of time. A real argument however will stand the test of time, since something that is true, will always be true, where it is totally irrelevant how many people find it popular or not. Real arguments are based on logic which is independent from time, place and people who like it. Sadly most people think arguments work exactly the other way around, where the only thing that matters is to get as many people to agree with it as possible and the most agreed upon thing then is the truth. They cannot see that such a version of "truth" changes all the time, since popularity arbitrarily changes all the time and therefore such a truth cannot be the truth, since the truth would stay the truth all the time.
What fascinates me the most is, that I can explain it as often and long as I want and the majority of people will never understand it. It does not matter how many arguments I bring and how good they are, the reply from the majority of seemingly brain-dead people is always like:
"Oh if what you are saying would be true, then it would be popular and since it is not popular, you are wrong"
After that they would often tell you what you need to do to become popular to then be right. They tell you things like:
"Oh you must be more positive then you will be more popular" -Positive and negative are subjective things, so it is impossible to logically follow such an advice. Illogically it is pretty easy to follow, they just want you to not agree to anything.
"What you say is correct, but the problem is how you say it" -That is also nonsense, since what matter is always what is said, not how it is said. A person that cares how something is said is basically begging to be cheated.
"You need to be nicer to people" -That is also begging to be cheated and lied to. You are either already nice to people and if not, you would need to lie to them, since you cannot arbitrarily control your emotions and tastes.
"You need to be punished" -If everything fails, people just try to punish you, by ostracizing you from their group or from being "popular", this also cannot work, because people who will be punished with this did not care about popularity to begin with.
The best argument against popularity probably comes from politics, where appealing to popularity is called populism and populism in politics is basically synonymous with being corrupt, since being a populist is seen as inherently wrong. Populism/Popularity comes from the latin "populus", which means the masses of the population or the mob. The problem a highly skilled politician now has, that he has to do the right thing and make arguments, but those things are often not popular, since the mob cannot understand arguments or what is right, so a politician may be forced to do the wrong thing and be corrupt, just to be popular and to be able to do anything, since we live under mob rule.
So appealing to popularity is not even not an argument it may even be inherently wrong, since it is basically mob rule or appealing to the non intelligent masses, for which you need to be inherently corrupt. I mean look above at my examples what people tell you to become more popular, it basically all boils down to that they want you to lie more, for which you of course need to be corrupt.
Sure there exist things that are good and popular, so bringing up such examples does not prove that popularity is an argument, since there also exist things that are total crap and still are popular. I don't know the exact statistical numbers, but I'm pretty sure that the majority of things that are "popular" are of bad quality or inherently morally/logically wrong in some way. I would even go so far as to say that popularity can even transform good and right things into bad and wrong things, just through the process of populism. Think about it, to make something popular, you need to appeal to the mob and to do that, you need to cheat and lie. The main method to get something really popular is to use marketing and the main method of marketing is to lie.
Sure there are artists that organically reach some degree of popularity in their niche, but a few refuse to become mainstream, because they despise it, probably because they instinctively know that it will make them corrupt and their art would degrade to appeal to the masses. It seems to be a hard decision for many, since most chose to go the popularity route as it seems to offer the most benefits, well not even the most benefits, but almost all the benefits and the only downside is that you lose your integrity.
My conclusion to the popularity problem is, that I think you should try to appeal to the target group that fits you the most. People who try to become popular obviously always try to appeal to the largest group, which is the masses or even as many groups as possible. It seems that a larger audience gives you the biggest return, but this is not true, maybe in form of money, but overall you lose your integrity so overall you may still lose. As an artist or creator your goal is to reach other people and influence them in a positive way or make them that they appreciate you. If you only try to reach a big audience to sell them something and make money, they may just consume your product and then move on. For example some things I did received hundreds, some thousands and some supposedly even millions of clicks, but what I get from that? Sure many people contacted me, appreciated what I did etc, but even after that, what I got from that? From those people also only a small number was influenced by me. In the end appealing to the whole world as an audience did not give me any better results as if I just had hit up some friends and tell them personally about what I did and so on.
Yes I can already hear people telling me after all my arguments "Haha you are just jealous because you are not popular, I'm more popular than you" for such people probably all hope is gone, since they are in delusion as they still think all that matters is popularity, but what really matters is what is left when their popularity is gone, since as said, popularity is arbitrary and temporary.