June 3


Your Ideal Fan

By Keith Livingston

June 3, 2016

facebook newsfeed, fans

I know, everybody should like your music; it’s good, right? But the truth is, some people are much more likely to like your music, than others. And a big mistake independent musicians make is in trying to get their music “out there”, as opposed to getting music in front of people who are likely to be fans. Why is that important, and how do you do it?

Why It’s Crucial To Know Who Your Ideal Fan Is

Let’s suppose, instead of music fans, you want to sell high-security doors to people. These doors can stop a football player who tries to break them down. You print up a bunch of flyers and pay someone to hand them out, or you hand them out yourself. In other words, it takes time, and/or money to get the word out. Where would you rather hand out flyers — to toddlers at a daycare center, or to people going into a home improvement show? If you could get a list of everybody who had bought security bars for their windows, might they be interested in security doors? How about people that live in a high-crime area? Which one would be better?

I’m sure you get my point. Well, being an independent musician likely means that you’re handing a lot of your own promotion — and you’re doing it on a limited, or non-existent budget. And of course, if you want to have more time to create and play music, you’ve got to be efficient. And that means not spending your time promoting to ‘toddlers’.

But This Is How Many Musicians Think

“You know, some of those toddlers have parents who might be interested in my doors. I’ll hand out some flyers at this daycare center.” Sure. And those people coming out of the Pentecostal church might like your satanic death-metal CD. You only have a certain amount of time, energy, and money to go around. You’ve got to make it count.

Instead, You Should Define Your Ideal Fan And Use Them To Drive Everything You Do

Have your ideal fan in mind, every time you write a promotion, every time you post on Facebook or Twitter (or wherever you post). Write for them. Promote to them. Speak to them.

In fact, you should probably create an avatar (avatar, in the sense of the embodiment of a concept, in a person) of your ideal fan. Male, or female? What age? What are their interests, besides your music? What other artists do they listen to? Where do they hang out? What web sites do they visit? Form an image of that person, in your mind, and use it when you write.

Don’t worry about reaching everyone; just reach the ones you resonate with.



Keith Livingston

About the author

Keith Livingston started recording his own music in the late '70s, on a 4-track. He worked his way into live sound and studio work as an engineer -- mixing in arenas, working on projects in many major studios as a producer/engineer, and working in conjunction with an independent label.

He taught audio engineering at the Art Institute of Seattle, from 1990-1993, and in '96, contributing to authoring several college-level courses there.

He was General Manager of Радио один (Radio 1) in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Now he spends his time recording his own songs wherever he roams, and teaching others to do the same.

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