One day an artist -- with whom I used to work with -- reached me out with a question. He told me that a couple of people came to his online channels to suggest some changes in his content. They told him that the content he was putting out was not really relevant for them. These people said they could not relate to it at all. They concluded by saying that the songs he was currently producing were not talking to his fans. So, they advise him to share more remixed pop songs on his electronic music profile.
This artist had been working hard for years building a career producing house and techno. Every single month he had a new song that he posted on his SoundCloud, then shared it on Instagram. For a while, he received some likes and comments on his independent productions, and even closed some deals for gigs with other musicians and participation in events. However, the interaction was getting lower and lower. The market was hard at the time. The money was short.
When he received this type of message for the first time he just ignored it. He knew that was not his path, this was not his purpose as an artist. His songs were not pop in general. However, in the past, he did post a pop remix. It was a song that he liked at the time, and for him, it just made sense to adapt it in a remix giving his flare to it. That was never the original proposition of his business. Pop remixes were not one of his products. Although, it got some popular feedbacks when it was posted.
Now, it was the second time someone comes to him to ask about the pop remixes, and he decided to think about it. He confessed to me he was planning to redirect his whole brand, stopping creating electronic music such as techno and house, to start producing remixes of well-known pop songs. He asked what was my opinion on it.
My answer to his question is precisely what I want to share with you in today's blog post. Because I see many artists facing the same challenge, and having the same questions. Many artists struggle with this type of situation. They don't want to lose the opportunity (what is totally normal!). But they can end up losing more than that.
I don't think you should have the same struggles, though. Because, actually, there is a very simple way to solve this problem!
I see many artists afraid of disappointing their fans in this situation. Confused, they end up walking exactly towards a direction that will make their fans upset, or even leading them to lose part of their fanbases. That happens for a single reason: they want to listen to everybody's advice.
When my friend finished his story I asked him: "Do you love pop music?" So he answered: "Yes, I liked it". And I repeat it: "Do you love pop music?". So he finally said: "I like pop, but I love house music. I love to produce the beats, I love the culture behind it, I love the people I met in electronic festivals. My heart is in this kind of music." Right away he understood what I meant.
I knew that he could feel that. He knew that he really wanted to create house, not pop. It was not about hating pop, it was more about deciding what was his real passion, the purpose of his artistic career.
Build an audience is hard and takes time. People need to have access to your art and connect with that building a singular relationship between artist and fan. As an artist, you need to keep these relationships while you expand, doing it again and again with other people. Building -- brick by brick -- a strong and big following base. Studies show that a person can keep only 150 stable relationships. Which makes it hard to build crowds that follow your steps and connect with you and your art. "So, how should I do that?", you may ask. Well, you should build connections between your audience and your message, not yourself. People can connect with concepts and ideas more than they can connect with other people. By communicating a strong message you will attract people who believe in this message. They will understand your overall goal and they will support that. This message will be true for them in the same way that is true for you. On a secondary level, a strong brand will give the audience reasons to believe that you are like them since you both believe in the same truth. Then they will connect with you as a consequence.
In my friend's story, he was doing the right thing. He chose his message, he was constantly communicating his message and slowly he could start to build his audience. Which was clear since he could receive feedback on his posts, and also make some profitable deals. However, among the "right audience," he attracts some not-s-right-audience as well. These people were not his target. These people were not connected to his truth or his original work. They probably were fans of pop artists and was cool for them to listen to the songs they already love in a different format. However, they would never become fans of this independent producer. They would never be loyal fans because they were not interested in this artist, but in the original one who made the original pop song.
If my friend decided to follow this advice he would stop doing what he loves and start to try to please everyone. He could attract these people for a while, but as soon as they found other artists producing remixes for their pop divas, they will change channels and just abandon my friend. Why? Because they were never fans of him. They were fans of pop artists.
Worse than that! My friend would lose part of the audience that really loves what he does. All the others who follow him for a while would lose interest in his work as soon as he decided that actually, now, he is doing something else. Can you see the size of the problem?
He asked for my opinion. My position? I strongly believe that he should not do that. I think you should not listen to every single piece of advice offered by any person around you. But only the advice gave by your target market.
I am not defending that you should never listen to anybody else. I just believe you should listen to people who matter. Those would be your target audience, the ones you decide to create for. Your target audience will be the ones who:
resonate with your message,
like what you do
have access to you and your art
have money to buy from you.
In the early stages of your business construction, you should choose a group of people who fits these criteria, then dedicate your career to create pieces for them. In my story, I am talking about music, but it would be the same for paintings, photographs, dance presentations, theatre plays, movies, or any other product you decide to sell.
People are different. They have different goals in Life, different personal tastes and value different things. You will never please everyone. When you try to do that you actually lose the capability to connect with someone because your message becomes weak. People will support you if you support ONE thing. But if you support everything, they cannot support you anymore. It just doesn't make any sense.
So, the next time you hear a piece of advice, ask yourself if the person who told you that is part of your target audience. Ask yourself with this person is part of this selected group you decided to create for. Because if he or she is not, you would probably just follow your gut and ignore the suggestion.
If you like this content and want to learn more about how to start and grow your Artistic Business making a living from your talent I highly recommend that you check my website out. Suira.art offers both coaching and consulting programs to every single different market with the Artistic Business.
Working with the industries of Music, Visual Arts, Dance, Cinema, Architecture, Design, Fashion, Literature and understanding deeply the starters' struggles, I believe that by offering business support we can have more and more artists shortly making a living from the talents.
If you want to learn more, click here and let's talk about your goals in art.
*the pictures have references to the artistic in alt text and they are links to the artists' platforms.