When it comes to being a musician in today’s market, the saying that “the key to failure is trying to please everybody” holds very true. If you are putting out music with the idea that it is for everyone, then you will inevitably be targeting no one.  The quest to create music that will please everyone is a waste of time since no two listeners will have the exact same taste. The key is to figure out your sound, figure out who will appreciate your sound, and chase the audience that will show you the most support.

In order to target your music to a specific audience, you need to figure out who your fans are. To do this, you will collect some basic facts about your listeners that will lead you to uncover their likes and dislikes.

Basic facts about your audience include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location

This type of information is important to gather early on as it will give you the foundation to build upon when gathering your target audience.

When it comes to the likes and dislikes of your fans, it will be useful to ask yourself:

  • What types of genres do they usually listen to?
  • Who is their favorite artist?
  • What types of movies do they watch?
  • Are they edgy?
  • Do they like to go out on the weekend?

While some of these questions might seem out of place in an article about music, it really is important to get a holistic view of the lives of your audience so that you can appeal to their taste on a more holistic level. Getting to know your audience on a deeper level and building a relationship with them will create more loyal fans that will be there for you down the road. If you open up to your fans and tell them your story, your audience will be more invested in your success.

Using various social media platforms like Facebook or twitter can help you attain a better insight into the non-music aspects of your fans lives. Facebook actually has a very nice feature where musicians can put questions into the search bar and do a graph search in order to find information about the interests of their audiences.

Some questions to put in the Facebook search bar could be:

  • Interests of those who listen to Nirvana
  • Magazines that people read who listen to Alt-j
  • Movies watched by fans of Pink Floyd
  • Websites visited by fans of Florence and the Machine

Another way to do research into the likes and dislikes of your fans is to use twitter to see how your audience comments and tweets about musicians and bands that they like or dislike.

Something else to note when trying to figure out who your target audience should be is to decide whether you want to consider yourself a mainstream artist or a fringe artist. Fringe artists are those whose claim to fame is attributed to their unique sound that is distinguishable from the popular mainstream music. If you do determine that your style is going to please the musical palate of people looking for unique fringe artists then making this distinction will keep you from being steered off track by the mainstream music scene that honestly just isn’t for everyone.

At the end of the day, writing a song is very hard work and it would be a shame to waste a masterpiece by trying to tailor it to meet the tastes of everyone; this will only result in the creation of a song that doesn’t really strike a chord with anyone. Do the research and figure out who listens to your music, likes your sound, and supports your musical career. Then you can go and put in the long hours in the studio for them, and most importantly, yourself.