Let’s commence with the fact that who’s listening to you right NOW may NOT be your ideal fan. Just because your 30-year-old relatives bump your music on their way to work does not mean you should pay to promote your records to the same age group. Your family, friends, followers may not be who’s gonna bring you the cash long-term. Accordingly, we’re gifting you the 6 most essential questions to ask yourself to determine your ideal audience.
6. What new artist do I find entertaining myself?
Your own taste is often a great and precise indicator of what you should be leaning into. If you enjoy Billie Eilish’s music and her introverted mannerism while boasting oversized clothing that morphs her image into a too-cool-for-school kid, then probably you incorporate some of those same elements already. If however, you’re the furthest thing from her style but you find yourself binging her music videos and songs, it’s time for you to borrow some inspiration from her. Why does this matter? Because way too often we see upcoming artists unknowingly promoting mainstream acts’ music on social media platforms instead of promoting their own. So when you lip sync to Doja Cat’s Say So instead of lip-syncing to your own record, we get one thing clear off the bat: you like her music more than your own and THIS is who you listen to in your downtime. You don’t even like your own tracks enough to promote them as much as you show us your love for other artists’ music. How does this tie into your audience? Simple! If you match your music to the artists you enjoy yourself, you can go ahead and advertise your catalog to THEIR audience.
5. What established artists do I sound like?
Although similar in wording as number 6, they are two DIFFERENT questions. Number 6 will point out to you what’s hot on the market at this very moment. Number 5 however, will point out who you can stretch your audience limits to. So if you enjoy the likes of Megan Thee Stallion but you sound like Eve, your audience is in the middle. One is super extravagant with a fast-paced flow talking mainly about her body, while the latter is much more laid back and talks about her rap skills above all else. So you might be extravagant like Megan but talking about your talents like Eve. Or you could have a laid back flow like Eve but talk about your body like Megan. This offers you the possibility to target both people who like Eve and youngsters who like Megan. And when you select to advertise your music based on music preference alone, you might be shocked to find out that despite you being a Gen Z-er, grown hip hop heads will find your music appealing as it sounds familiar to them thanks to Eve.
4. What age was I when I listened to records similar to my own?
Here’s something funny: what you’re creating in the present is a reflection of your past idols. Just take a look at the most popular artists of the new generation! DaBaby on who inspired him: “Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Tupac. That whole era. Lil Wayne, Nelly, Ludacris, Eminem, 50 Cent, Bow Wow, Chris Brown, Fat Joe, Usher”, Dua Lipa on who inspired her: “Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Stereophonics, Nelly Furtado, Pink, Destiny’s Child.” Miley Cyrus on her influences: “Elvis Presley, Shania Twain, Hanson, OneRepublic, and Britney Spears.” Charlie Puth on his influences: “Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans to R&B songwriter-producers Babyface, Jimmy Jam, and Terry Lewis, and Teddy Riley.” Now THINK what age were YOU when you liked all these people? More likely than not, you were super young. So despite probably feeling uncomfortable with the idea of promoting your grown records to teenagers, they just might be your ideal audience waiting for you to inspire them how your idols inspired you when you were mad young.
3. What event must the listener be going through to best understand my music and message?
Here’s the thing, many of you upcoming artists, unfortunately never even asked yourselves this ONE question. What event in one’s life best fits with your music? Is it aggressive rock music that speaks of heartbreak and revenge? That would best fit someone who’s 16 to 20 and got their first major heartbreak. Is your music party bangers? That would best fit people over 21 who can actually go out to the club, drink alcohol, and make it rain on the strippers. Is your music avantgarde pop? That typology matches aesthetically focused individuals who ponder on existential matters. Please, ask yourself in what ambient and what circumstance your ideal fan would have to be in to connect with your music and then target THEM! Always remember you’re selling EMOTIONS and not music.
2. What type of visuals do I create for my songs?
We’ve met artists who create entire anime plotlines to accompany their records. Others create psychedelic imagery. Some show random life moments. Others hire visual directors and put on professional mainstream-like music videos. If your visual material is similar to Tik Tok content, consider targeting Gen Z for your ad campaigns. If, on the other hand, you like old school story-like development, target 90s “babies”. If you’re into trippy vibes, target 80s people. Think on paper and really, really describe your aesthetics to figure out who’s visually ready to embrace you off the bat.
1. What social media platform is bringing me the most feedback?
It is best to build an audience in the place where you get the most appreciation. It may not be the same place as where you enjoy being, so pay attention. You might enjoy Instagram more but you get higher engagement on Facebook. So these are the audiences corresponding to each major platform.
Ages 25 to 34 -32%;
Ages 18 to 24 – 23%:
Ages 35 to 44 – 17%;
Ages 45 to 54 – 10%.
Accordingly, Facebook would be best to grow your fanbase if your ideal listener is within the first 2 age groups, 18 to 24 and 25 to 34.
Ages 25 to 34 – 33.1%;
Ages 18 to 24 – 29.6%;
Ages 35 to 44 – 15.9%;
Ages 45 to 54 – 8.3%.
The 25 to 34 and 18 to 24 crowd is again the leading audience. They’re much closer in numbers on Instagram than they are on Facebook though.
We weren’t able to pull the global numbers for Tik Tok but given that our website is mainly written in American English, we will assume you can make use of the US numbers instead. This is WILD btw.
Ages 10 to 19 – 32%;
Ages 20 to 29 – 29%;
Ages 30 to 39 – 16%;
Ages 40 to 49 – 13%.
So… if you write music for children, Tik Tok is where your money needs to go. Equally, if your records click with the 20-year-old crowd, it’s best if you try out Facebook first, as that’s where they peak in numbers, and then test Tik Tok reception as well.
We won’t list YouTube as a social media platform because it is not. It is more of a hub for lengthy content. So unless you plan on creating videos that are over 20 minutes, your marketing efforts shouldn’t really focus on YouTube, especially when you’re on a low budget. Twitter became more of an opinion hub as well for all ages and breaking your music on it is next to impossible. Snapchat is hard to tap into as they don’t allow everyone to advertise themselves. Linkedin is customized around business people and professionals, aka people not interested in becoming a fan. So stick to one of the 3 social media platforms of above: Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok.