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The most common answers independent artists give us when we ask about their target audience is “anyone who wants to listen”. In this article, we’ll explain why this is probably the most damaging mindset an up & coming artist could have — and what you should do instead.



What is a Target Market?

Target Market is a marketing term meaning the most likely buyers of a product, in the music world, this means the people who possess the qualities that make them likely to become a fan of yours. It could be that they have something in common with you, or that your music is likely to provide function or value that will give them extra incentive to follow you.

To translate the other terms used in the graphic above into music, Served Available Market are the people who follow the genre of music you make and Total Available Market is essentially everyone who listens to music. While your music could be relevant to both groups, focusing your marketing efforts on the group most likely to enjoy it will save money and effort — and yield better results in terms of establishing a long-term fanbase.

How do you find your Target Market?

The best way to start is to look at other artists who make similar music to you and who are yet to hit the mainstream. Don’t try to market towards Drake’s fanbase, because everyone has at least once listened to a Drake song — even if they aren’t normally proclined to enjoy Hip-Hop or RnB or whatever he’s making when you’re reading this. We like to call those one-off fans that muddy the waters when finding Target Markets dilution, because just like when someone pours Red Bull all over your vodka — they stop you from getting to the really good stuff.

Find the pure vodkas, the similar artists who only the real hardcore fans of the genre & music type listen to. Because of the limitations in the Facebook advertising platform when creating a target audience, you’re likely to find that a lot of the really fresh artists aren’t even available for audience analysis. We know, it’s frustrating. So gather as many artists as you can in advance to avoid lucking out with only one artist being on Facebook.

Segmenting the Target Market

Okay, you got your Target Market and got a nice good batch of people who are likely to gravitate towards your brand and music. These are still a lot of people, odds are you’re looking at a market of 20 000 people and up.

In traditional marketing, you would probably segment these by Gender, Ethnicity and Education to market appropriately. Since this feels kind of outdated, and a bit racist — we like to use a technique that’s commonly referred to as the sales funnel, but we prefer to call it fan funnel.

What is a fan funnel? It’s essentially the six different stages a fan goes through before they’re wholly dedicated to your artistry. We’ve found these six stages to be the following:

  • Awareness –> They know about you
  • Knowledge –> They’re ready to listen
  • Liking –> They’re ready for playlist/project
  • Preference — > They’re ready to follow
  • Conviction –> They’re ready to buy merch
  • Purchase –> They’re an artist superfan

Sometimes these happen over the course of months, sometimes within 15 minutes. It all depends on how open the potential fan is to new music and how much they in the moment feel attracted to your brand.

It’s pretty much a coin toss, and the only thing you can do to push the odds in your favour is to have great music, great visuals, great brand & market everything towards a great target audience.

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