Your band is unique. It’s special. You’ve got a talent and vision that no one else does… so why are you marketing to everyone? The internet is this vast beast that within seconds of listening to your music a click of your mouse could never give your band another chance.
Through selective marketing when you’re first starting up the right crowd will follow and support your band, thereby introducing you to an audience that you may not have ever dreamed existed. You have to be successful in one market in order to prove to the rest of the world why you’re worth checking out.
You’ve got to set your music apart and embrace what it is that makes you special. This may sound like a big of hoo-ha, but give me a chance to explain through this song.
Who loves you, baby?
You’ve already got a built in audience you may not be taking advantage of. These people come to your shows, tell all their friends online of your new music, and buy whatever it is you’re selling. You need to place high value on them.
If you’re an indie pitching a new single and just calling it a love song, radio programmers and bloggers unfamiliar with your name (especially if you don’t have a publicist) probably won’t give it a listen if it’s just a link. What they’re interested in is the BACKSTORY AND the music. Say your dog died recently. You could you reach out to your local animal shelter to do a charity event or make a tribute video online that encourages people to share how they’ve dealt with link to your music below the video box.
Maybe your music gets played at the local comic book shop because sometimes you sing about Batman – could you sell your albums there? Set up a mini display to sell tickets to your shows? Could they recommend a local artist to do your next album art? They’ll tell their friends, family, and other comic book fans.
If you’re obsessed with the words of Sylvia Plath and Baudelaire, why not incorporate their words into a music video, your art work, your posters, your onstage show by bringing a book up with you? People will be able to relate and see who you really are instead of your trying to be a rock star with no personality. With the internet now, people want to see what makes the band beyond the music. Kathleen Edwards on a weekly basis posts pictures of her Siamese cats and quilts she’s working on through Instagram and to me that is far more interesting than an artsy photo of a drum kit getting set up.
I’ve seen this countless times within the LGBT community; you embrace your true identity and BAM- a whole new market opens up. In the early 2000s it was album marketing yourself through “core” descriptions, “Metal-CORE, nerd-CORE, thrash-CORE.” These labels might have been dumb to the scene kids, but they let you know what you were in for.
If you feel most comfortable draping yourself in feather boas and wearing a dress (especially if you identify as a man) during rehearsal, why not present yourself as such on stage? OWN IT. Don’t do anything different to appeal to everyone. It worked for David Bowie.
Maybe your music is used on a local radio show program as their theme song, or a track of yours was used in a TV show recently- reach out to their audience. Get on twitter, see who they’re interacting with and suggest they try your music with a link or free download code. Chances are if the show’s music producer saw something in it, it fits their demographic.
If your music includes really strong political beliefs, proud feminist messages or you are just absolutely obsessed with Lil Bub, your audience will find you and it’s up to you to not turn them away by being generic about how you present yourself.
There’s all these small things you can do to build up the audience you already have.
Like any art it’s risky to expose yourself, but even riskier to buy into a generic image that will make you one in a mass of artists trying to make it.