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Written by Ramsey Brown.
A challenging yet necessary task that every musician must face at some point in their career is to identify his or her niche. Knowing your niche in the music industry can be helpful for many different reasons. Competition is vast, so artists need to know exactly what type of fans they attract so they can properly deliver to them.
Getting known as a standard rock musician or a generic hip-hop artist is quite difficult in today’s time. With these markets already being so highly saturated, it’s more beneficial to find your own specific style or sub-market than to follow a well-beaten path.
This is exactly where finding your niche becomes essential to your music career success. It gives you the opportunity to develop and deliver your artistry in a compelling way — incorporating your various passions, interests, and talents into a niche that is as unique as your music.
The belief that artists need to stay bound to one cookie-cutter genre is completely outdated. Many musicians today find success by breaking genre norms, thus creating an entire new lane for themselves and the others who come after them.
You don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel, you just need to find a system and style that sets you apart from everyone else. So how does an artist go about doing this? Finding your perfect niche isn’t as difficult as it may seem, but it does require some serious thought behind it.
In this article, we are going to share 5 methods that artists can use to find their niche in the music industry. Although we can’t tell you exactly what your personal niche is, we can give you some ideas that will help you narrow down your search for it. Let’s dive in!
With today’s music industry so exploited and overcrowded, it is extremely difficult for artists to stand out and get the recognition they deserve. You’ve probably noticed that a ton of music sounds very similar these days — to the point where you can’t even distinguish artist from artist when listening to them.
While it’s natural to be inspired and influenced by preceding artists who you admire — it is a mistake to try and mimic another artist’s sound or attempt to replicate their style as your own.
Nowadays, what actually sells is originality and individualism. Music fans love a unique and unrepeatable sound that is created from the fusion of many other different styles and sounds. After decades of musical growth, common genres have reached their peak of greatness. This makes it nearly impossible for newer artists to break ground or even compete in the same category.
If you are an aspiring pop artist, you must realize that pop is a very broad genre that’s difficult to infiltrate without the help or financial backing of a huge major label. But instead of making standard pop music, what if you incorporated it with your own personal style and flair to differentiate yourself from the rest?
It’s likely you're into jazz, rap, or other genres aside from just pop. So, if you combine these styles to create a jazz-rap-pop fusion sound — your forming a niche that is completely your own, with a market that is open and ready for you to dominate.
There is almost an endless combination of sounds, styles, genres, plus other aspects that artists can incorporate to create their own niche in the music industry. If you are still feeling unsure of what your perfect niche is or how you can find it — below we are going to give you 5 methods to help you begin brewing up some ideas. Take note!
When finding what your niche is, it’s helpful to start by asking yourself some questions about you. The main one being, what are your passions and interests? Of course music is probably the number one answer. However, you likely have several other passions that are responsible for your creative drive.
Dig in and explore what it is that truly fuels your fire — whether it’s music related or not. Then, make a list of them all so you can sift through them and determine which ones are relatable to your fans. Maybe you are a devout follower of God, dedicated environmental advocate, or an avid video game player. When you realize the things that mean the most to you, it becomes easy to incorporate it into your artistry and build your brand and niche around it.
It’s important to note that not all of your passions will have a niche opportunity, in terms of being marketable to an existing community. This is why actually making a list of your many different passions, interests, hobbies, etc. is important. So you can then research and narrow down which ones have the most potential to evoke an audience’s attention.
Another one of the most effective strategies to know what kind of musician you are and what kind of audience you attract is to analyze the followers that you already have. There is a ton of data on each and every person who follows your music and can easily be found through streaming sites or social media statistics.
You can also do some deep digging into their personal profiles to find if they share any common variables in what they like to do, other artists they listen to, places they live and enjoy visiting, occupations, fashion styles, etc.
It may sound strange to do, but it’s really just an extremely effective marketing hack. After all, your fans are your best mirror. So, don’t hesitate to look at them for answers about yourself. By knowing this personal information about your followers, you may find that you have a niche already that you never previously realized. If so, all you need to do is embrace this niche and begin working on advertising campaigns focused around it.
The great thing about today’s music industry is that there are hundreds of sub-genres that fall under the main genres that are wide open for exploration. These sub-genres are far less occupied and much more feasible to thrive in. Taking pop for an example, other categories include country-pop, pop-punk, electro-pop, rap-pop, and almost an endless amount of other variations could be made.
No matter the variant, all sub-genres are significantly less competitive in the battle for fan attention. So ask yourself — Is there another genre your current sound could be merged with? Could you add an instrument into a genre that typically doesn’t belong there? Can you tie in different cultures or backgrounds that you identify with into your music?
Genres can be subdivided by a number of things such as lyrical content, fashion, geographic location, and much more. Just look for the little things that can set you apart, and what you feel fans may relate with — then dive into whatever that is as your music niche!
One thing to be known about finding your music niche is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be defined by just music. A niche can be formed by a number of defining characteristics. From your visible appearance, outfits or costumes, signature dance moves, a flashy stage presence or performance, unique language or lingo, the list can go on.
A niche is not solely genre related. It’s what sets you apart from others and what ultimately defines your brand. Take a look at Marshmello for example — though he is very much a mainstream EDM artist, what defines him the most in such a competitive genre is the distinctive marshmallow helmet he wears.
This face covering is simple, yet recognizable and unique to him only. This helmet is not only a genius marketing tactic, but a specific niche that Marshmello has now encompassed and owned. Many artists use similar approaches to develop their niche which inevitably defines their brand. Find something that can set you apart visually and play on that to create your own niche.
The last point is kind of tricky, but it’s an important one to understand. A niche is largely what makes you and your brand stand out from the crowd, but it’s necessary to ensure your niche isn’t so far out in left field that there is no market for it at all.
Less competition and exclusive communities are great, but there needs to be enough interest in the area of your niche to make it really worth your efforts. You could be the world’s greatest EDM-yodeller, but if there is no market in EDM-yodelling for you to thrive in, then don’t force it because it will prove to be a waste of time.
You should never feel like you have to force your own niche. Typically, a niche is simply an extended part of your personality or style that flows seamlessly into your music and brand. Don’t be afraid to try new things or step out of your comfort zone, just make sure that there is enough public interest around it so you can actually succeed.
This difficulty to stand out in the modern exploited music world is what makes it so important to work on finding your own particular style and sound that you can brand as your niche. Working to find your niche is ultimately working on the greater-being of your music career.
Fans have almost an unlimited amount of artist and music options to choose from. Therefore, you must offer them something unique and special in your sound or brand — something that fans will continue coming back to your music for, because they can only find that special something through you.
Finding this special quality about you and your music (AKA, your niche) isn’t hard to do. However, it does require some deep thought and introspection to do so. Once you have found your music niche, you’ll find that your marketing and advertising efforts become much easier and effective.
Everyone has a niche hidden somewhere inside them and we hope that this article helps your search for yours much easier!
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© 2023 Omari MC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
© 2023 Omari MC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.