As musicians, we want our music to be loved by everyone. Maybe not everyone in the world, but at least everyone who hears it (or everyone we know)
So we make up reasons why everyone we talk to will love our songs.
“If you like good music, you’ll like my music.”
“My songs transcend musical tastes, so just listen and you’ll love it.”
“Our band plays songs that appeal across generations and to every culture.”
The problem is, in our attempts to describe our music productions as having universal appeal, we actually end up selling ourselves short. The fact is, there is no music that exists that everyone likes. Period. Many, many people love The Beatles, but even they can’t say that everyone who hears them will love their songs. Even if you think your music has crossover appeal, there is a key step when promoting your music: find your niche, and stick with it.
This is one of the basic principles of music marketing. If you research strategies to promote your music, you may come across this advice: never be afraid to alienate potential fans.
Why you should find your niche
This doesn’t mean you should go out and insult people who like your music. It means you shouldn’t be afraid to tell something about your songs that might turn them off to listening to you because they don’t really like your musical genre. If you play hard rock music in the style of AC/DC and are talking to someone who strictly listens to Britney Spears, they probably aren’t gonna be that interested in listening. So trying to convince them that your rock music appeals to Britney fans is a lost cause.
Musicians establish themselves by finding their niche and attacking their scene. If you play indie rock, target your music marketing toward the indie scene. Try to get write-ups on Pitchfork.com and don’t worry if you think someone might write your band off for wearing skinny jeans. You’ll find that the people who embrace you will do far more good for your career than folks who are on the fence.
Think about when you’re in the recording studio (or using an online recording studio like Studio Pros). You don’t tell the guitarist to play a shredding guitar solo that will also appeal to Miley Cyrus fans, right? You tell the studio musicians to play in a certain style so that your song’s recording makes sense.
You can only try to convince people that they will like your music until they hear it. At that point, it doesn’t matter what you’ve told them… The music will speak for itself! And the best part is, the more specific you get when describing your sound, the more people will understand what you sound like and the more they’ll be intrigued to listen.
So the next time you’re talking to a music fan about your dance/pop music and they say they only like metal, don’t be afraid to say: “You probably wouldn’t like it.”