Are you concerned over the lack of attention that your music is receiving?
Like many of us musicians, you may be stuck feeling underwhelmed by the response to your band's content / releases / online presence.
Most days, it's a struggle to get a few "likes" on Facebook or "Follows" on Instagram. It's aggravating to know that there are bands out there who aren't putting in half as much effort, yet seem to get tens, hundreds or even thousands of responses on their uploads. Of course, it's not all about numbers. (But they sure do help your confidence!)
The truth is, the bands who are grabbing all the limelight are the ones who have designed an online strategy of some kind. They've worked out the formula for attention. Not only have they worked out how to attract attention, but they've found out how to attract the right attention. They can upload an image with little-relevance to their project and still get tonnes of replies.
They've done their homework! They've found their target audience and catered to them specifically.
Here, I'm going to share with you... a formula for success.
1. Firstly, you need to have at least a few songs finished, of course, to a professional quality. Otherwise, this formula will fall flat at the first hurdle.
2. Possibly the most important part, so listen up! You need to define your genre with it's most true title. I've mentioned this elsewhere in another recent article of mine, in which I stated that you should narrow down your genre as much as you possibly can before showcasing your music, using the resulting title. So no, you are not "Rock" or "Folk". You're not even "Folk Rock"!! You need to narrow it down. The reason for doing this is so that you then have a greater understanding of who you should be aiming your promotional campaign towards. If, like me, you have a catalogue of music that primarily revolves around a theme (in my case, it's science fiction), then use that. You should seriously consider promoting it as such, in order to gain the attention of real fans. Super fans. Fans who will definitely return to your website and who will buy all of your awesome merch. I seem to recall my final genre title as being "Sci Fi / Fantasy Progressive Rock" ... which I found hilarious! But it's so true...
With a definition like this, the next few steps become much easier.
3. Explore that genre. Are there any other bands around the world who are remotely similar? If so, how well are they doing? Is there anything you can take from them to boost your own music? (their fans for example!).
You need to work out what kind of people are in your narrowed-down target audience. Which form of social media do they tend to use? Where do they tend to get together? Do most of the fans of this genre fall into a certain age bracket? Are they primarily of a specific gender? All of these questions need to be looked into if you are to get to know your true target audience.
Even if it means relieving yourself of the most popular social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram for a while... you'll find greater success by joining sites on which your audience has congregated.
4. Reach out. Start to get to know the people in your genre. Whether they are other bands or members of a forum online. Get to know people. Be sociable. Without listening, how can you expect to be listened to?... Engage with these people. They are most-likely to be similar to you if your music resembles their personalities! Take time with this. It's important to grow a mutual respect between an artist and a fan base.
5. Depending on how openly you want to share your endeavours, keep your audience in the loop. Like most bands tend to have a promotional campaign during the build up to their next release, you will be doing that too... only you'll be promoting to people who actually care (and that's the harsh reality).
6. Promote your music with intelligence. As an artist manager, I would hate to think that bands under my management are blindly spending their money on hopeless adverts, on media platforms that hold no merit to their respected audiences. If you pride yourself on releasing heavily-edited music to a state-of-the-art level, then promoting to recording studio enthusiasts would be a great place to start. That's just one example.
7. Please don't think of this method as a get-rich-quick scheme. It most certainly isn't. You still need to put in the effort. Only, this way, your effort is being focused in the right direction to gain some momentum for your music career.
This method is catered to the modern music industry.
If you consider that nowadays, you can release your full album on YouTube and connect that with a well-catered promotional campaign and of course, good well-recorded music. You can gain anything upwards of 100,000 "views" if executed correctly. Not to mention, YouTube videos don't have an expiry date (meaning, unlike social media, uploads to YouTube will always be relevant).
Let's say 20% of those 100,000 people listened to the full album. That's 20,000 people who have heard your full album for free (perhaps you earn a few quid from an advert on the video).
Out of those 20,000 people, 20% of them clicked on your website via a link in the description. That's 4,000 views on your well-catered website.
You have a shop on your website, which holds a number of well-designed pieces of merchandise. Prices vary of course, but let's say just 10% of those 4,000 website visitors buy a product.
That means that 400 people bought products from your website, just from your 1 upload to YouTube. That's not to mention all of the people who have found and bought your album elsewhere.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not guaranteeing that you will achieve these exact numbers or percentages. The numbers will fluctuate from artist to artist, but when you only cater promotion to potential superfans, you need to expect a higher percentage of profit than an artist who has promoted everywhere. They will have 100,000 views from random people and to whom, the genre might not be preferable. Curiosity will bring them 100,000 views but very little more.
Finally, notice that this concept involved absolutely zero live performances.
This is a truth in today's music industry. Your biggest fans could be in New Zealand and you're based in Central Europe. With the help of the internet (a brand's best friend) you can still make an income without the need to play a show. Live performances just bolster your skills, your identity in the local music scene and your merchandise sales. It is possible to earn a very healthy living without ever going on tour. Just forward your music to the right people. Your soon-to-be Superfans!