Listening to the Listeners

June 17, 2015, by , in Blog, no comments

The day my friend’s band finished their first album, he sprinted from the studio with their shiny new CD in his hand. In that moment, countless hours they’d spent songwriting, embellishing and recording were all wrapped up in the product he was holding. Clasping his masterpiece, he held it up to the sky and paused for a quick moment of reflection… realizing absolutely no one else knew that CD existed.

My friend’s story makes me cringe (and laugh a little bit) because it’s such a harsh reality. When it comes to any product or service, not having an audience will stifle your ability to be heard.


If you’re a musician, knowing your audience is truly fundamental.

It’s both easier and harder than ever to be in the music industry. With the rise of social media, digital music and online platforms available to musicians, the number of free tools is only growing. With the rise in resources, the need for bands to stand out is also rising.

In Next Big Sound’s “Year in Rewind” report from 2013, an estimated 91% of artists in their system were deemed “undiscovered.” The algorithm used to rank musicians was made of milestones like signing with a record label, playing on a late-night TV show, charting on the Billboard top 200 and having their CD go multiplatinum.

Of course, “success” is a term that will vary depending on the artist or band and their unique objectives. To “make it” in music, it helps to know where you want to go.

While quantifying “success” is a challenge, features like Facebook Insights and Google Analytics are often used to measure it. “Big Data” is a source of confidence for some who use these systems-and ones like it-to track numerical information.

Although valuable, is “Big Data” big enough to affect the trends it’s generating?

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, CMO Network wrote, “Too much of our marketing data endeavors to study what people are doing, but it doesn’t tell us why they are doing it. It’s the humanity in the data that leads to the interesting stuff—that reveals the stories, the tensions and the truths.” In essence, faces of “big data” may look more like numbers than the people they’re attempting to describe.

Behind each ticket or merch sale and download on iTunes is someone who sees the value in a band and their music. The fan’s unique attributes influence their decisions, spending habits and how they engage within a given marketplace. For a musician, knowing these details is imperative to providing content that is both relevant, and catchy.

For many people, music is a source of inspiration. When a message, or a song, resonates, we like it or we loop it, hitting “replay” more times than we may care to admit.

In the same way a song speaks to us, music fans want to feel like bands get them.

To understand audiences, artists simply need to get to know them better. Listening is one of the best ways to learn, before taking action. By using FEEDBACK, and the right strategic insights, your voice can stand out above the noise.

by: Whitney Cavin — Strategist