In this new series, we’ll break down 7 parts of the marketing journey that independent artists like you will need to master throughout your career. We’ll talk about things like understanding your fanbase, defining your niche, determining marketing mediums, and so much more. However, this first one is all about understanding your market and perspective audience. Without further ado, let’s dive in…
Marketing Journey for the Music Industry Part I: Understanding Your Market and Audience
Understanding Your Market
When it comes to understanding your market as a musician, think about where you stand among thousands of other hopefuls. Get specific. If you’re a soulful RnB artist, think about the landscape your music thrives in, what fans of that landscape want to see from someone like you, what they connect to the most. This is your specific market audience, and these are the people you’re looking to market yourself to.
How Do You Define Yourself?
Success in today’s music industry is no longer about being the ruler of one given genre. Instead of appealing to one genre, break the mold and let the absence of labels work in your favor. Find your niche and build a brand that is specifically YOU. Use your individuality to your advantage.
- Every niche has its own culture. Lady Gaga has her “little monsters”. Justin Bieber has his “Beliebers”. What’s yours? Understanding the culture of your fans is the key to targeting ads, marketing, and more as you move through your career.
Realistically, defining your artist brand comes first. Marketing comes second. Together, they work hand in hand to propel you through the industry with a solid foundation to back you up.
Being active on social media is one of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse of your market. Join Facebook groups for your niche. Engage with the community. Know the history. Find out what they like and what they want to see more of within the community.
You may already have songs out that meet those needs. If you do, you’re already one step ahead. Now, you can see what’s missing and you know how to fill it.
That’s marketing 101 right there!
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How To Set Yourself Apart
Dayna Young, the Founder of Fred & Augustus with 15+ years of global experience in music and entertainment explains in this post how building your brand can be compared to a 4D chess match. Why? Because building a brand involves many moving parts. All of which you need to master.
To set yourself apart, you need to understand exactly what you are promoting. When you place yourself side-by-side with your competitors, what makes you unique? Is it that you are able to write and produce all of your songs? Or that you’ve perhaps won acclaim early on in your career? Are you solving a problem by creating songs that fall into a new or emerging genre?
Think about it. For example, Taylor Swift is an exceptional female songwriter who proactively presents herself in a fresh light with every new album. Her fans engage with her so passionately because they feel a part of that emerging, and constantly shifting story.
Find the answers to questions like these and you’ll be able to better understand your competition and how they rack up against you.
Who’s Your Target Audience?
Defining your target audience is a key step in defining your overall brand. You wouldn’t buy a car without first doing some research, so it stands to reason that you shouldn’t take your brand out for a spin without first understanding who you’re talking to. After all, your goal is to engage prospective new fans; the better you understand them, the more effectively you can communicate.
Your goal should be to build a general understanding of your target fanbase, including any relevant demographics, such as age, gender, geographic location, etc. But also things like the websites they visit, streaming platforms they use, their lifestyle, environment, etc.
To find this data, industry professionals and artists alike utilize music analytics tools to help them further understand their place in the market. Knowing where you stand and where you have room to grow is the key to excelling in this industry. Some tools that can provide you with detailed information like this include:
We even did a post on this called, “Best Streaming Analytics Tools for Artists” that breaks down all of these, everything they offer, and how they can teach you about your audience in great detail.
Specifically, there are many things you can do to help yourself stand out among your competition. For example, staying active on socials, having a great website, offering merch on your website and updating it often, interacting with your fans online and in person, posting music videos to go along with your releases, etc.
These things are all too often slept on my artists. They get lost in the idea that the music needs to speak for itself and needs no back-up. However, that’s just not the case! Your identity as an artist relies on you presenting it professionally and consistently. How is anyone going to know you exist if you don’t show them?
Marketing yourself as an artist is just as important as creating the music itself, and many factors go into fostering a strong presence in this insane industry. There are thousands of other artists looking to make it out here. You need to do the work to stand out in any way you can! Through using your niche to your advantage, great marketing, and a little willpower, you’re on your way to bursting through the noise and making your mark.