In music, one of the most important parts of an artists’ successes – or failures – stems from brand identity. The artists who tend to have fleeting levels of success are those who deviate from the people who make it possible for them to succeed.

They, like other kinds of business, leave behind the very people who they should be keeping happy in a bid to try and win new customers. It happens in business, in politics and in just about every walk of life that you can think of. Why, though?

Well, put simply, we are greedy. People want more, and when you feel like you tapped out your niche (locally, at least) diversification is the next step. Sadly, to be something for everyone it usually means getting rid of the very thing that made you appeal to a general demographic.

Now, the reason why this matters is quite simple. When you rely on the masses who like you because you are catchy, you lose the ability to always have a loyal fanbase. The minute you no longer fit the trend, it’s finished.



This is why, as an independent artist, the best thing that you could possibly do stems from making sure that your demographics matter and that they shine through in everything you do.

You represent a certain way of thinking and doing, so you want to make sure that you represent the very people who already feel that way. Learning to build yourself around a key demographic, though, can sound like it lacks ambition.

People still think we should try and be a something for everyone kind of society: it’s not possible without leaving morals, principles and opinions behind. So, let’s take a closer look at why this matters – and why engaging with it can be so rewarding.

Creating and defining your own sound

Put simply, we come across better when we have a purpose, a sound, a brand if you will. You will, naturally, perform far less effectively if you try creating your sound to suit the whole town. Starting out by trying to find who in town suits your message works best.

You shouldn’t be playing in a Motown bar trying to get a bit of love when you represent anarchistic lyrics and deviation from the mean. By the same token, you won’t find a grunge band turning up at a hip hop venue and vice versa. You need to look at why you are in music, basically.

Are you here to just make beats that people find catchy? Are you trying to help stir the political direction of the country with informative pieces? Or are you just looking to flow and let your ego take the plaudits?

Whatever you are in the music scene for, you have to make sure that you build your enterprise about chasing these people. It’s better to be a remembered artist among a smaller demographic of people than a vague memory to the masses.

Your chances of success and definition as a musician are going to be vastly improved by simply working to meet a certain demographic and way of thinking.

Many artists try and get a big hit, going for that catchy tune that gets as many people from as many backgrounds as possible interested.

If you are trying to brand yourself as free from the system and from the influence of others, though, it’s not really going to help polish that look whatsoever.

Your sound defines you, so make sure you stick to that. As an independent artist, it’s better to aim for a cult following than short-term universal following.

Branching out gradually

As a musician, then, you have to try and appreciate the absolute importance of having a main demographic. This could be targeting the young and unemployed with informative details about what is going on in the state.

It could be targeting the affluent middle-class who lack political motivation, trying to help inspire them. You have so many options based purely on the personality that you hold.

With every demographic, there are small seeds and branches that you can head down. You can find people with similar views who might like what you have to say, without having to change your message or the way that you want to try and influence the public.

It is for this reason that so many people are beginning to engage with and fully appreciate artists who they might never have heard of.

The reason you stand out, though, is because you have a specific topic to cover. When you stop trying to be the artist for every man, you can find a more specific branch to latch onto within your community.

Understanding and targeting your audience

Before long, though, the fluidity of class and culture comes to life and you can easily see progression on that front.

Keep this in mind, as we don’t want you going the “other” way and promoting yourself only to a tiny cult. Basically, the aim here is to make sure you don’t trade in your morals and your personality in exchange for trying to reach everyone.

The reason this matters so much is that once you realize you have a certain fit in society that it becomes easier to find places to play and people to play to. You stop believing that everyone is into what you offer, and instead can start aiming the message at those who truly care.

So, with all of this put together, you should hopefully understand the reason for having your own niche. It’s not just down to morals and credulity, but it’s down to being able to stand out.

You can create much better music when it’s aimed at the people you know best and the people that you know can appreciate where you are coming from.

Political parties tend to be ruined when they leave behind their core voter base to chase the rest of the country, leaving their manifesto and morals at the door.

Many artists make the same mistake – it’s the worst thing that you can do as an independent artist, however, the secret to avoiding this mess? Showing the world, through your music, who – and what – you stand for as an artist.

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Written by Hao Nguyen
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.