Be amazing at what you do. Live and on record. If you are not amazing, you aren’t even in the game yet.
You’re job is to be a magician, not a musician. You must create magic. Magic hypnotizes the crowd. They are mesmerized in complete silence by your softest songs and forced to move their heads and bodies on the up tempo ones.
Are you a really great live performer? Do you consistently draw a crowd of unknowns when you play in a public setting? Do they come up to you with excitement because of the way you made them feel? Keep working on your live set until you see these results.
Playing in the subway or on the street is the ultimate do or die. If you can get people who don’t know or care about you stopping to listen, drop you a dollar, or write down their info, you are onto something. I would contend that busking in front of a crowd of 5 is a harder thing to do than playing for 1,000’s.