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Carlton Smith Music 
Michael C Smith, December 31 2022

Three Ways To Move From Followers to Listeners to Customers

Having trouble getting your music to make you money? Can't get people to actually support you? Well, let's discuss how you move from follower to listener to customer. The word "customer" may have an awkward sound for those of us who are musically inclined, but whether you call the people purchasing your music (product) that or not, this is how you should think when it comes to the music business. In the music business, our goal is not just to have our fans listen to us, but to buy from us. Social media is one of the main ways artists market and promote their products today. On your favorite social media app, you may gain a passing like or if the viewer is really interested they may leave a comment. Some people buy likes some people organically build their following, but at the end of the day does any of that bring you, the musician any value? Don't get me wrong, followers are great, but why are they following you? Is it making you money? In business you want to create something called a VALUE PROPOSITION. What is it that you are offering your client? This is the question every musician must answer. Think to yourself, why do I like my favorite musician. More than likely there's a certain feeling you gain from your favorite musician. Your favorite music helps you to either turn up, turn down, think, or provide some other feeling. This leads us to who is listening to your music. This is your  AUDIENCE.

Everyone won't like your music and that's ok, our goal is to find those who love it. Get to understand who these people are. What are their politics, where do they live, how old are they? While there's a little more to building a niche audience, ultimately you want to define the type of person that likes your music. Know who you are talking to, and give them a reason to seek you out. Your music should invoke a connection that makes the listener keep coming back.  By doing this, your NICHE AUDIENCE, will become your TARGET AUDIENCE.

As a musician, you have to find a way to drive your target audience on social media to the avenues where your music is. One of the most important avenues is your website. In this day where tech companies are laying off thousands of people, and their very existence is at stake, you can't control what happens to a particular Digital Service Provider (The people you stream music from i.e. Deezer, Spotify, Apple Music etc.) but you can control what happens on your website. While many listeners will undoubtedly search for you on their favorite DSP, all roads should lead back to your website. This is literally and figuratively YOUR DOMAIN. It should be the first place a person knows to go, to find out more about you.


Your website is the place where you will turn the listener into a Customer. In order to have a customer however you have to sell something. In our Recording Artist Fundamental class we cover the six ways to make income off of your copyrights. Mechanical, Performance, Digital Performance, Print, Sync and Theatrical. Most artists never utilize all six royalty streams, and many don't even utilize more than three. One simple way to add an additional royalty stream to your income is by adding the sale of sheet music to your website. It's as simple as using Sibelius or like software, to transcribe your music to piano or guitar music. Customers can buy the sheet music directly from your website and you can even partner with piano and guitar teachers to provide their students sheet music to practice on. Remember sheet music is licensed so every student using it, must buy a separate piece of sheet music from you. If they don't that would be considered copyright infringement (legal cases are another source of income) This also creates a new revenue stream for you with organizations that need sheet music such as schools and places of worship


Don't underestimate the power of email. Sure lots of people communicate via DM's, Chat or Text, but someone who gives you their real email address is someone who wants to hear from you. Email is a great way to sell, but it's also a great way to tell a story. Make the listener feel like they are an insider. Talk about the projects you're working on and give them an inside view. At every show, or engagement you do, you should be collecting email addresses. When it's time to do a show in Albuquerque you know exactly what fans are their, and can even find out what their favorite venues are, when planning a tour. Also don't forget about selling. Left over merch from the tour? Selling merch ahead of the tour? You have a built in niche audience that will buy that T-Shirt with your band name and a roll of toilet paper on it. These people become your go to audience.

Ad targeting

You have a website, and an email list. Now it's time to take those email addresses and target them with ads on social media. People don't buy things or like things because they are told to. They buy things and like things because they want to. These people want to buy things and like things because they have seen ads over and over telling them how good it is. The same principle works for your brand. Your favorite social media site more than likely has a way to target people like your sample audience (your email address) It may take some research before hand but creating ads on the primary social media site that your customers use is a great way to keep yourself in front of them. Want a new customer set? Figure out who your target audience is and target ads to them on their favorite social media site. And don't just stop at social media, consider, Google, Youtube, DSP's, radio, tv and any other media your customers use.

In closing by creating a niche audience out of your followers, you can create a customer base. Grow a relationship with this customer base by using your website, email and ad targeting. Musicians are a business. By using these tried and true measures, your business will continue to grow and reach new heights.

Written by

Michael C Smith


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