I’ve been emailing with a few up and coming artists about their summer and fall plans. In every exchange, I make it a point to ask artists what they’d like to be doing in the three months, six months, and one year from the end of our conversation. I don’t expect a detailed answer, but whenever someone tells me their goals without mentioning their audience, I get worried.
There are a limitless number of paths to success in life and music, but if you are thinking about the future without first considering the demands of your audience, you are a blind captain steering a lost ship. We live in the age of on-demand entertainment for every taste, meaning there is always something to meet the needs of consumers. To build the following you need to make a career out of music, you need to be taking the demands of your audience into account.
Is there enough demand to support a tour through the midwest? What should our setlist be? Should we continue pursuing this new sound? What kind of merchandise should we be printing? If we were to sign with a label, what label rosters would be a good fit for us?
All of these questions are important decisions, and they should not be made without considering what you audiences wants/expects from you.
Social media has made gauging your audience’s interest easier than ever before. On Twitter, for example, you can run custom polls asking your audience to weigh in on virtually anything.
You don’t have to do what your audience demands. Your music is an expression of yourself, and only you can determine what that means for your craft. If you need to make a bold change, do so with confidence. Your audience will believe in you as long as you believe in yourself.
That said, where business is concerned, the smart plays are always in listening to those still invested in your product. The people who love your music have heard it and talked about it as much – if not more – than you have, and they know a thing or two about it. Listen to them.
James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement for Haulix.