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One of the most frequent questions I get is, “Leah, how do I get my music to stand out?”
That’s a VERY good question, and the right one to ask, now that we’re in the digital age of the internet, streaming, Spotify, and the like.
It’s a vast ocean of music out there, some amazing, some mediocre, and a lot of not-so-good stuff.
It’s gotten to the point that we’re dealing with a lot of white noise, and every musician is competing for the same eyes and ears!
As competition becomes more fierce and the internet becomes a more crowded place, there’s really only one breed of musician that will succeed, and that is those who have a strategy in place.
We’re going to steal the best strategy used by other online businesses. It’s called Niche Marketing.
WHAT’S A NICHE, YOU SAY?
A niche is a specialized market.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s start with a huge market: canned beverages.
From there, we go into a niche: a carbonated beverage.
From there, we go into a smaller sub-niche: energy drinks.
From there, we go into a micro-niche: sugar-free, all-natural, herbal energy drinks.
This is exactly what we will do to be successful and stand out in the OCEAN of the internet.
We’re going to determine our micro-niche.
We start with our largest genre and then work our way down.
WHY DO I NEED A NICHE AND HOW DOES IT HELP?
It comes down to this:
You can either be a small fish in a large pond, or you can be THE BIG FISH in a small pond.
Which do you want to be?
Which do you think is easier to become successful in? An ocean or a little pond?
Now you might wonder how this works if you have a popular, more mainstream genre.
Well, that’s indeed a very good question.
The same question could be asked if you were in the beverage industry and you wanted to make another carbonated drink. WHY do people need another energy drink?
You always start by answering the question of what is UNIQUE and DIFFERENT about that new product.
The same goes for your music.
Does the world need another Coca-Cola? Probably not. But it does want new ways to consume canned beverages that are more healthy and that they enjoy just as much.
In the same way, we can solve a similar problem.
GIMME AN EXAMPLE
OK, say you make mainstream pop music.
Maybe all the pop music out there right now is boring or predictable.
Say you have a unique voice or play an instrument that is not typically used in pop, or perhaps you have some unique lyrics.
So maybe you combine pop with a few distinctive middle-eastern instruments that people don’t typically hear.
NOW you’ve got something with a twist that will perk ears up!
Perhaps your fans tell you it sounds like “World Pop” to them…
…OK, now we’re getting somewhere…
And maybe besides the catchy melodies and beats you typically hear in pop and your unique middle-eastern instruments, you also sing about certain topics that aren’t as typical.
Now people will associate you with more than just pop and beats they’ve heard before.
Does this make sense?
When you know your micro-niche, not only will people find you SO MUCH FASTER, but finding fans who are more than willing to become BUYING fans becomes exponentially easier.
Why? Because they are true fans.
When you dig into a micro-niche, you either create a new market, or you home in on an existing one that tends to attract SUPERFANS.
And when you have superfans, making a living is very easy, doable, realistic, and achievable.
FOR THE RECORD…
Full disclosure: I did not know what my micro-niche was when I released my first album.
I just sort of released it without thinking about it. Luckily for me, I had intuitively combined my favorite flavors and influences to create a unique combination that worked for me as soon as I started to learn about niche marketing.
However, if you have already created music, it can become very tough to go back after the fact and figure out if you have a niche.
What I would rather have you do is consider what you already have, then consider what kind of music you’re currently making, and then consider where you might want to go with it.
With that in mind, start looking at similar bands in your genre to find out if you’re making music too similar to them.
THE ULTIMATE QUESTION YOU MUST ANSWER
The ONE question you need to ask yourself is: what’s my twist?
OK, so I make this kind of music. But what’s my TWIST on that?
What is the answer to that?
Well, that’s where the hard work comes in.
But once you dig in and start to home in on that, it will make ALL the difference between being a needle in a giant haystack…and being the haystack itself!
…It’s a tough question, I know.
We can go back and forth on it for years, but it’s often much simpler than you think.
HOW I FOUND MY MICRO-NICHE
For me, I took my biggest influences, which were quite diverse – European Heavy Metal and Celtic/New Age artists (like Enya) – and I squished them together and they had a baby: my music. Haha!
I also had a few fans and asked them what THEY thought. This was an important factor to consider, since I didn’t quite know what to call the music I made.
They repeatedly told me:
> Celtic Metal
> World Metal
> Symphonic Metal
> Fantasy Metal
….and other similar things. Now, they didn’t all say in perfect unison one specific adjective, but it started tilting me and directing me toward a certain niche.
I now call what I do Celtic Fantasy Metal.
THE KEY TO REMEMBER
The important thing about niches is that MOST of the time they already exist.
I didn’t make up a string of adjectives and then say, “Hey, guys! My micro-niche is red-flowers-moody-pop-chicken-dance-groove-blues.”
A micro-niche is not a list of what you wish you were or a mood you’re in.
99% of the time, it’s a real niche that already exists.
You can tell because, when you type it into a YouTube search bar, songs and playlists with that exact title come up!
That’s a sure-fire way to know your niche is real.
THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE
There’s always that rebellious little bugger who has to break all the rules and make up something ridiculously cool that doesn’t exist yet. (I’m kidding!)
Take, for example, these guys (who I just realized are on the same label as me – small world).
They even made a video “meme” out of their strange little micro-niche. They’re calling it “Dwarven Metal”.
I think it’s pretty obvious what it is before you even press the play button.
Think Lord of the Rings. Think elves, trolls, hobbits……and dwarves.
So they didn’t just identify with a fantasy movie; they’ve gone much, much deeper and identified their music, brand, image, and lyrics with a mythical race!
And if you think this might be too risky and you might be cutting out too much of the market…at the time of my writing this post, this video has gotten 3.5 million views in just over a month on Facebook!
THERE IS POWER IN GOING SMALLER
I hope this little article has opened your mind to the fact that it’s not all about becoming world-famous. It’s all about becoming famous within your micro-niche.
YES. This is how you stand out, how you get noticed, how you attract the RIGHT kinds of fans to you, who will ultimately BUY.
Welcome to the New Music Industry, where you have the power within yourself to “make it”.
Download today’s freebie on how YOU can find YOUR microniche! A simple PDF to help you narrow it down. Enjoy!