Michael C Smith, August 20 2018

The 1 thing that every successful artist does...and you should start doing right now.

The music industry is full of artists that failed and succeeded. It all depends on how they approach one particular subject. The fan. In today's industry the fan has multiple options - listening to millions of songs on streaming media, legacy libraries on digital and physical media, video games, movies, TV shows, books, amusement parks, travel, festivals, cable, radio, antenna, satellite...you get the point. So what is a fan? The term fan is a shortened version of the word fanatic. A fanatic is defined as a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal. What's zeal? Zeal is defined as great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective.

The problem with the traditional fan concept is that the fanatic is a dying breed. We're not selling 10X  Platinum albums. We live in a world where people don't buy music, have direct access to superstars and are doing more with less in their professional and personal lives. As harsh as it sounds, the fan doesn't need you and as soon as you understand that, you'll realize that it's you who needs the fan.

So how do you get a fan to focus on you out of literally millions of other options that take their attention away from you? The first thing is don't think of them as fans, think of them as customers. It is at this point where we separate the failures from the successes in the music industry. Those that think of their fans as customers find innovative ways to reach them and those that don't plummet into oblivion. When you think of your fans as customers you realize the question that every entrepreneur or business has to ask is, "what's in it for the customer", or better yet, understanding from the customer's viewpoint, "what's in it for me"?

Find out who your customer is, and what makes them tick. How many are women, how many are men? Where do they live, What's their income bracket, what profession are they in, how do they listen to music, what are they doing?

Find out what your customers interests are. Do they like bike riding, are they music aficionados, computer geeks, do they actively listen to music or just passively. Make it a point to fully understand who your customer is.

Then once you know all these things the most important question to ask is "why does the customer listen to music" What emotion are they trying to suppress or convey? What feeling are they trying to walk away with and under what circumstances is the customer looking to address those circumstances. When you understand your customer, you can make music that suits their needs and get it to them in a manner that is consistent with customer interests.

As an artist, once you enter the music business, you stop making music for yourself and start making music for the masses. You become an entrepreneur with one job. To sell an experience. The key is to understand your customer inside out so that you can create an amazing experience every time they listen to your music or attend a concert. The successful artist makes their products and services as important to the customer as a mortgage, rent, or utilities. Just ask yourself what are those things you spend money on and the things you don't spend money on. We all have money, we just have different priorities for that money. When you make your music a priority for your customer, you will find higher engagement and success. The bottom line is don't think about yourself when creating music, think about your customer.

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Michael C Smith

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