How to Expand Your Reach as an Artist

As an artist you want to be true to yourself, true to that inner voice. Hopefully, when we express that inner voice, we will find people with whom that inner voice resonates. Through that journey we gather around us the people with whom we share a special bond.

At some point, though, you may feel you want to increase that circle of friends. How do you go about it? Do you learn how to market yourself better? Well, that’s one way to expand your reach as an artist, but another thing we can do is expand what we have to offer.

1. Find what’s working and expand on it

If you’ve created music for any length of time, then no doubt you’ve created different types of music. Not every song or piece of music you write is going to have the same tempo, instrumentation, meter, etc.

What you can do is find out which of your songs or compositions your fans MOST resonate with. This is hard to do if you are a solo artist. If you’re in a band, you know right away if a song is working or not, based on the feedback you get from the other members. When you’re a solo artist, you have to wait for your fans to respond. There’s a number of ways to do this.

  • Track sales
  • Offer pre-releases in your member area and let people vote
  • Perform the song live and see what kind of response you get

2. Give them what they want

You have to realize that you’ve been given a gift that not everybody has. Everyone has a voice, but not everyone can express that voice. They need someone to express that inner voice for them.

For example, I can sing. In other words I have a voice. I feel like I have a pretty good voice, but I don’t consider myself a singer. I let other people do the singing, because they can do it much better than me.

Because I don’t consider myself a singer, I don’t try to force my singing on people. I try to learn what it is they want, and see how I can uniquely meet that need with the special skill set I have.

In his podcast, The Creative Entrepreneur, Bob Baker comments on the book Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow. His advice about that ideas is that you do what you love and the money will follow…as long as what you love meets a need in the marketplace.

This is commonplace in the music industry, especially for artists signed to a major label that are not well known yet. What the label expects from them is at least one hit, preferably two or three. They realize that not every song on the whole album is going to be a number one hit. I remember going to the record store when I was in my early teens. I got my allowance and wanted to go buy a record. Often times I bought a record that only had one song that I liked.

I think a good example of this idea is the 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers. What is the one song on that album that still gets radio play today? The song “Under the Bridge” is recognized by just about everybody. It’s an anthem! Even kids that weren’t born until after that album was released know and love that song.

In my opinion, though, that song is COMPLETELY different than every other song on that album. Under the Bridge is pretty tame compared to everything else, at least lyrically, but in some respects musically as well. It’s like the “sugar”, while all the other songs represent the “blood, sex and magik”.

I don’t know if it was their intention to put one song on the album that would appeal to a very wide pop music audience, but it worked.

I guess what I’m saying is that it wouldn’t hurt to write some music that will have more mass appeal for a couple reasons…

  1. You will be using your talent to serve others by helping them express their inner voice.
  2. You will get on more people’s radar. As a result, more people will be able to hear what else you have. Often, when you have something that people really really like, they will be “on your side” and give your more obscure work more of a chance to sink in.

You may find that you like the fresh new direction your music is taking. For example, I’m a classical music and classic rock kind of guy. Like many others, I like my comfort zone of creativity. I’m really not a dance/electronic kind of guy. However, I made up a loop for a workout routine, and I actually really had fun creating it. Give it a listen…

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3. Expand your territory

In the sales industry, a salesman, or a sales company, will serve different territories. They will “conquer” one territory and then expand their reach to other territories. You can do this as an artist as well.

You can do this considering different outlets for your music. Were you a concert performer who is no longer getting gigs? Have you tried approaching other types of markets? For example, what about composing for video games, or background tracks for guided meditation? What about independent film work? There are a number of places you can take your talent to if you only open yourself up to them.

4. Make a list, check it twice.

Perhaps you’ve already begun your email list. I cannot stress enough, though, how important it is to build an email list.

If you’ve been building an email list, great. It may be time to get creative with new offers that you can bring to the virtual table. Think about how you can “repurpose your content”. Typically this is something that authors do, but it can apply to musicians as well.

Here’s some ways to repurpose your musical content…

  • Write new arrangements of old songs
  • Create a “best of” compilation
  • Release a new album or EP with a couple new arrangements of your classics, plus add some new material

If you have fans on an email list, you can market this repurposed content to them. If you don’t have a large email list, you want to spend some quality time building up that list.

All the best!

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