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Click to email ChrisHow to Make Your Music Appeal to Different Types of Music Buyers
by Christopher Knab - Fourfront Media & Music -
March, 2010

Back to Music Business 101

There is No Everyone!
Sometimes I hear musicians say "EVERYBODY will love my music. It appeals to everyone"


Your music does not appeal to everyone. Not even the Beatles are/were loved by EVERYONE... there is no EVERYONE.

But there are TYPES of people who may love your music.

I have written at length about what are called "Adopters of Music" before, but its been awhile, so I want to give you a brief summary of what this issue is all about.

Adopters of Music
In music marketing terms, there are basically 3 types of music buyers:

1. Early Adopters
2. Middle Adopters
3. Late Adopters

Early Adopters are the type of people who really love one or more genres of music passionately. They live for their music and their favorite artists and bands, buy and/or steal as much music by their favorite performers as they can, and are always aware of what act is coming out with a new release, or touring in their area. Music is their passion, and very little will come in their way of fulfilling that passion.

Middle Adopters are more casual music fans. They like a certain genre of music and have a few favorite artists and bands that they keep their eye on, but not to the degree of the Early Adopters. Middle Adopters actually have a life outside of their love of music, but they are casual fans of music at best, but still an important market to try and reach out to.

Late Adopters of music I describe this way...  they are everybody else in the general public. When music is a part of their lives it is usually not new music or the latest trend in some music genre. They are not "leaders" like Early Adopters, they are more "followers" of mostly mainstream music of some kind. They are hard to market to when you are a new act trying to get your music heard and appreciated.

BUT, you should not discount them in your long-term plans. After-all, any really big hit records are bought mainly by Late Adopters (after they have heard some music they like about a million times over and over again).

If you find yourself feeling smug and judgmental about these Late Adopters, if you smile knowingly when you realize they need to hear a song many times before the song makes an impression on their minds, YOU are probably an Early or Middle Adopter yourself.

Iíve spent all of my forty + years in this business as an Early Adopter and did my part in slamming Late Adopters in my more naive days in this business. I accused them of having no taste, or at least no curiosity about all the great music that has been created. But over the last few years Iíve realized that I was a Late Adopter myself when it came to non-music interests. If everybody else was like me, we wouldnít have films to see, gourmet foods to eat, cars to drive, doctors to heal us, athletes to admire, etc.

In the game of music marketing, late adopters have an important role to play.

The gatekeepers of the music business, (those people who stand between the artist and the artistís audience), every one of them is either an Early, Middle, or Late Adopter themselves. The more you know about how they value music, the more you can prepare your presentations to them, because youíll talk to an Early Adopter of music in an entirely different way than you would a Late Adopter.

How to Appeal to Music Buyers
When you speak with an Early Adopter of music, always stress the music itself.
You should be able to describe your music to them in ways they would describe it to another of your kind. Talk about the influences in the music. Compare it to other past or current acts. Speak knowledgeably and honestly about the music with a genuine excitement about it.

When you speak to a Middle Adopter of music, talk about how some Early Adopters have embraced it and what the results were. Talk about the merits of the music itself from your view.

Should you ever have the money and muscle to try and reach the masses, remember this: the Late Adopter exposure outlets (the media in particular) care less about the artistic merits of the music and more about its accessibility to a wide demographic of listeners, viewers, or readers whom they must cater to.

So, tell Late Adopters business success stories and give them financial and survey data that prove to them that a wider audience would like your music.

Now, ask yourself what type of music adopter you are.

I hope youíre an Early Adopter because making it in this business is a lot more fun if youíre deeply involved in some particular kind of music. If youíre a Middle Adopter, youíd better have some Early Adopter friends in influential places, because playing this game requires a real passion for music.

Music is an emotional product. It moves people in many wonderful and mysterious ways.

Knowing about the different types of music consumers can help you monitor the acceptance of your music by fans and industry people alike and help you find ways to reach them.

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