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In today’s “New Music Industry” aspiring artists and independent labels have multiple opportunities, outlets and resources available to reach multiple people and cultivate fan followings. Along with all of the traditional physical grassroots methods, there are numerous social media platforms for internet outreach, as well as blogsites, streaming services, online radio, etc. which can all be used to find and engage potential fans across the world. The growth possibilities online are virtually limitless when approached correctly with a realistic plan.

However, too often, artists get caught up in appearances and attempt to fool potential fans into believing that they already have a great following. These rappers, singers, producers and labels choose to “buy” social media friends, likes, and followers; or YouTube views, etc. in the hopes that a music lover will give their songs a listen based strictly on what appears to be a new “movement” gaining steam. So they spam away at people hoping that someone notices them and gives their music a listen. The fundamental flaw in this thinking is the simple fact that people generally don’t base their like/dislike of music on how many strangers appear to be interested. People are influenced by their own tastes as well as input from friends and associates. So when this total stranger sees you online talking about yourself and saying how great your music is over & over & over again, the once potential fan not only ignores you, but possibly unfriends, unfollows or dislikes you online. Be honest with yourself, “everybody” ISN’T interested in your music.

The idea of “scatter broadcasting” your links or website is like trying to catch fish with a lasso – you just keep throwing your rope in the water repeatedly while praying that something swims through the noose and gets caught. The whole assumption that you are doing someone a favor by sharing your music with them is a lie. The majority of time that you contact a person directly while they’re online, you instantly frustrate them because you’re interrupting their internet experience. I suggest artists take the time to find their target market and then focus on engaging and interacting with that market. Please remember this:

It’s not promoting or marketing when you don’t have a target audience!

Don’t lie to yourself and believe that your music appeals to “everybody”. You can SAY that your music appeals to everybody when you’re doing an interview. For the purpose of succeeding in gaining new fans though, recognize the fact that there are certain people more inclined to listen to your music than others. If you’re a “trap rapper” you wouldn’t want to market your music to people 50+ years old from North and South Dakota. If you need help determining your market, ask these questions:

Who are my favorite artists?

Who influenced or inspired me to be an artist?

Who do I sound similar to?

Don’t lie to yourself and say that you don’t sound like anybody else. Every artist was inspired and/or aspires to make the music similar to that they grew up listening to or music similar to their favorite songs. Be honest with yourself and look at who are the fans of your favorite artists. Check out their twitter followers & facebook fans; look at the fans who leave positive comments on these artists’ youtube videos. Are they male or female? College students? Younger? Older? A tactic artists can utilize for better defining their market is by paying attention to the fans of the artists who are similar to you musically. This will enable you to reach the people who are most likely to appreciate your craft and become fans of your music.

Don’t lie to yourself. Be honest with who you are, what your goals are, how you plan on reaching those goals, etc. Find the people most likely to identify with your music. Target and engage these people correctly. With consistent focused effort you will reap the rewards of a growing fan base who not only listen to your music, but buys your merchandise. Most importantly, these new fans will tell their friends about you and help you to spread the word about your music. Which is REALLY what you want, isn’t it?

Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat.
A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of music industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.

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