In the past few years, I have served on a couple of panels and delivered many speeches about attracting younger audiences, one of which was at the Dubai Music Week convention. In doing so, I have found that many artists harbor some misconceptions about attracting younger audiences.
I understand that younger audiences are a sexy topic to artists, funders and production companies, but first, there are a few things we all need to think about:
New Sounds. Out of the four Ps of marketing, most will agree that product is the most important. Why then is it the least considered when looking at ways with which to attract younger audiences? If your core artistic sound is not appealing to younger audiences, then you will almost assuredly fail to get them to fully engage with your music. Throwing an after-hours party, turning a performing space into a disco house or hosting themed young professional events might get targeted demographics into the door, but what we really want is for them to engage with the mission of your music. Just as location is king in real estate, in music, nothing is as powerful as the sound.
Promotion. Secondary to the music, promotion is the area that most artists focus on. When a certain video is posted on Facebook and is coupled with a few podcasts, this does not necessarily mean that it possessed the means to automatically attract young audiences. You should think of modern media tools as just a means of communicating; nothing more, nothing less. Like any other tool, you have to know how to properly use the media, and then use it to put the right message in front of the right audience. Most new media initiatives require two separate, but crucial, steps to properly execute a campaign: the building of a communications infrastructure and the creation of content. You can have amazing content, but no fans to connect with. Or you can build a network of thousands of fans, and lose them quickly with the mediocre content. But for new media tools to work, you must have a new sound and a defined music identity, which are all conducive to younger audiences, and then you can concentrate on perfecting your new media skills.
As a music producer, I have the most amount of control over the two above-mentioned factors: music and promotion. Therefore, I concentrate my efforts into these two areas; the areas that can make or break an artist.
Order of the day: ” If you are an artist and you don’t get these two things right, you are wasting your time.”
By Jean-Marie Riachi