There IS An Audience For You

© 2010 Vinny Ribas

These might be the most liberating words you’ll ever hear as a musician. No matter what kind of music you create, if you do it well enough, there is an audience for you! Not only does an audience exist; it is anxious to find you! That may sound a bit overdramatic, but it is completely true. Think about all of the genres of music that exist in the world. Now think about all of the artists who combined 2 or more genres to create a new one. There are no longer limits. The constraints are off because the Internet enables you to find your audience and your audience to find you no matter who and where they are![private_member]

Let me give you some examples. You could write and sing nothing but country lullabies and mothers who like country music would buy them. You might even make a living performing at pediatric conventions! You could write and sing songs about your animals, and animal lovers will buy them. You might make your living playing veterinary conventions. You can write and sing songs about shoes and not only would women who love shoes buy them, so might podiatrists. You might write and sing disco songs in Polish, and my bet is that you would find a huge audience both in Poland and in certain parts of the US.

What does this mean to you specifically? It means that you are free to be yourself. You can write and sing what YOU feel, not just what you think your audience feels. You can do what you love and sing about what really matters to you. You can express your ideas, concerns, celebrations and beliefs. You can make a confession, pose a question, start a new train of thought or propose a solution. There are people somewhere in the world who will agree with you and become your fans.

I know what you’re thinking. If this is true, why are there so many talented but broke musicians? I propose that there are 6 primary reasons that either individually or in some combination create this situation:

  1. Many singers and musicians only perform cover tunes, and often copy the original artists. They don’t write their own songs, nor do they develop their own original sound. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this! Original artists need cover artists to introduce their original songs and musical style to a wider audience. However, it is more difficult for a cover band to develop a worldwide following than it is for an artist with original songs and/or styles.
  2. Too many artists sit waiting for their audiences to find them, rather than seeking out the most likely markets where their audiences would be. This is a very common challenge. Many artists fail to take charge of their careers and become marketing machines. Today’s artists either need to learn enough about marketing (and business) to do it them themselves, or they need to find or hire someone else to do it for them.
  3. Most artists are not original enough. There is only so much room for sound-alike artists before the market becomes saturated. They might write their own songs, but they are so similar to what is or has already been popular that they are quickly overshadowed. Their overall sound may not be unique enough to differentiate them from the pack. They are trying to jump on the current bandwagon instead of working to capture an audience that few others, if any, have captured. Artists need to find and develop their own audience niche.
  4. Many artists don’t keep up with and take advantage of technology. Their music is not online. They don’t participate in social networks. I know it is almost impossible to be on top of every new technological advance. However, there are basic steps like these that every artist should take. And of course, every artist is competing with other artists who do their homework and embrace technology to its fullest. This means that if an artist falls behind even just a little, they are instantly at a disadvantage.
  5. A large percentage of artists have not developed and improved their talent enough to be competitive. This is an unfortunate circumstance because many artists just don’t realize the level of talent that they are competing with. Others just don’t have the drive to keep getting better. Others simply don’t have the natural talent to build on. That said, there are many artists with marginal talent at best who are very successful. They accomplish that by knowing their strengths and playing up to them while playing down the areas they are weakest in. They may be so-so singers but have developed amazing stage performance, honed their marketing skills, discovered a way to be truly unique and/or advanced their business skills or other abilities. Many surround themselves with more talented singers, musicians or business-minded people who compensate for their own personal weaknesses, enabling them to be successful is spite of their shortcomings.
  6. Many artists treat their careers as hobbies rather than as businesses. This results in several major problems:
    1. Artists who take their careers seriously and take care of business often leave them in the dust.
    2. They get easily lost and/or discouraged because they don’t have goals and an action plan in place.
    3. They don’t study their market, so they either ask for more money than they are worth (resulting in less gigs), or they under-price themselves.
    4. They may get a reputation for being unprofessional, hard to work with, unreliable, selfish, sloppy/unrehearsed and/or even egotistical.

It is up to every artist to insure that business is always taken care of both on stage and off.

So, if you have some form of marketable talent, you find that blend of genres, messages and influences that is uniquely and honestly you, you define and pursue those demographics that would most likely enjoy and purchase your music, and you treat your music as a business, I am certain that you will find those raving fans who will continue to support you for years to come.[/private_member]

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.