As a musician, you have spent countless hours alone honing your art, learning how to sound the best you possibly can. All the hours of practice, the investments in instruments and music lessons, the early mornings, and late nights have paid off. You have written and recorded your first few songs. Now it’s time to figure out who will listen to them and how to get them to keep listening.
Here are a few tips on how to build an audience.
1. Figure out who is listening.
This step is always a little easier said than done. If you play live shows, which you definitely should, it is hard to gage who has the highest level of interest. Friends and family will go support you, and whoever else is there will politely listen to you do your thing.
Luckily, places such as YouTube track view statistics. As long as whoever is listening has filled out their YouTube account honestly, you can gauge the gender and age range of the people who are listening to your music the most.
2. Figure out what they like.
Aside from liking your music, of course, what else do your potential fans enjoy? When listeners start following you on social media, it becomes a little easier to do some digging for information. Follow them back. Look through their profiles. See what other kinds of music they are listening to. This is all a great indicator of what your potential audience likes to hear.
If all you have is the YouTube tracking metrics, then a quick search of that demographic can turn up some useful information as well.
3. Market your image and sound towards your audience.
Remember that you can’t please everyone, and remember that not everyone has the same taste. If you figure out the demographic that most of your fans seem to come from, it is time to start marketing yourself towards them. Chances are you’re already halfway there, that’s why they started listening to you in the first place.
Book shows at venues they will most likely go to, make your social media presence appeal to them, and stick around after shows to talk to them. Make your audience feel included and appreciated, and they will stick around.
While making music can be an individual, cathartic experience, at the end of the day a little recognition never hurts. It’s finding the right audience that can be challenging, however. The most important things to remember to do are figure out who is listening, figure out what else they’re listening to, and market yourself towards them. It seems simple, but there is a lot of work that goes into every step. If you put in the time and effort, you’ll be more than happy with the results.
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Anthony Mauro is a San Francisco State graduate who splits his time between the Bay Area and San Diego. He spends his free time thinking long hair is cool, playing video games for an online audience, and writing short stories, comic books, and novels.