The music world is always evolving, which makes it harder and harder to remain relevant as a musician. However, some artists are able to maintain a constant spot in the changing world. How do artists such as Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and OneRepublic continue to appear year after year?
Here are five tips that today’s hottest artists use — intentionally or unintentionally — to stay relevant in such an ever-changing industry.
1. Be aware of your demographic.
The music industry is bolstered by coming-of-age fans who are always on the hunt for fresh, relatable tunes. By being aware of who your demographic is, such as teen fans, you can make sure the music that you’re writing will speak to them. Most fans look for music and lyrics they can connect with; if you can provide this, if you can speak to them through your music, you have succeeded in remaining a constant figure in their music life whom they will look to for fresh content.
For example, Taylor Swift knows most of her fans are young women who are growing and changing under the same social influences that she is. So, she and her music style, from country to mainstream pop, move with and inspire them.
Watch this cover of the evolution of Taylor Swift’s music style.
2. Both update and stay updated.
Every day, there’s another new viral sensation floating around. In order to stay in the loop and thus ensure that your music stays relevant, you should make an effort to keep track of what’s going on day to day. The best way to do this is to spread yourself out on social media and follow many popular people who are likely to keep up with the trends. You can also subscribe to newsletters and participate in online discussions.
By staying updated with the current trends, you will have a better idea of what people are currently interested in, and thus know how to better brand and market yourself and your music. Singer Rihanna is a good example of this, as she has all of the above social media and both updates her fans and stays up to date with current trends through Twitter.
3. Don’t diss modern culture.
Although current trends may seem silly or unrelatable, do not doubt the public. Never be so quick to judge or dismiss, thinking a certain hit will soon dissipate because it isn’t catchy to you or because it is too simple to hold much leverage. Trends are known to be fickle and always changing, so be aware that what you find uninteresting may not be the case for someone else.
For example, no one thought the peculiar sneezing motion dubbed the “dab” would blossom into the dance craze of the next generation; isn’t it quite simple and silly at first glance? Apparently not. Furthermore, many popular artists post videos or photos of themselves falling into the current trend; fans love when their artist posts a silly dab video to show he/she is “in the loop” and interested in relating to the general public. The best advice is to take everything in and stay in the loop, because you never know when new content will be useful to you.
4. Put yourself out there.
In order to remain relevant and talked about, you need to get your name out there and stand out. Many musicians whose music and music videos go viral get their fame and leverage from other people who share their work.
For example, many “underground” and international musicians obtained some fame when they were debuted on the FineBros’ React channel, which is a very popular YouTube channel that shares others’ content. By making music worth sharing and talking about, you will definitely manage to both debut your music to the world as well as remain in the loop. Continue working to leverage your social media and let others share your work; by putting yourself out there, you will find that many people consider you relatable and relevant.
5. Make friends across generations.
Becoming friends with people who aren’t in your age group will help you communicate with a wider sudience. Also, getting their feedback and perspectives can help provide new ways of looking at your brand and music; sometimes, it’s much more helpful with a fresh set of eyes. These new friends can also offer up plenty of problem-solving and big-picture suggestions that you otherwise would never have considered.
If you work hard to relate to the people and remain active in this constantly evolving industry, you will definitely move towards becoming a relevant artist. Just remember to keep the above five tips in mind and persevere.
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Angelina Hue enjoys listening to wide variety of music, from instrumental movie scores to alternative indie to Korean pop music. She also likes to make short films and write fiction.