134: Who’s Your Audience?

134: Who’s Your Audience?

When we ask "who's your audience?", most people don’t have a great answer. And many think that it doesn’t matter, because they just make the music they want to make anyways. Let’s discuss this. 


Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!

We believe that having an audience in mind and creating music you personally love are not mutually exclusive.

And we also believe that your songs (and ultimately your band / project) will absolutely benefit from writing and producing for an audience.

Asking yourself the right questions will help you figure out who this audience is, it will help you find or refine your unique style and sound, and it will help you overcome writer’s block. And it absolutely doesn’t mean that you’re gonna have to “sell out” or enjoy it less!

Only if you don't want anybody ever to listen to your music, you can stop thinking about an audience.

Listen now, find out who your audience is and learn how this will help you make better records that people actually care about, while staying 100% authentic.

Benedikt's voice on this episode has been recorded with the Antelope Axino Synergy Core.

Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB Podcast 134 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Benedikt: I'm definitely sure that your songs and therefore, ultimately your band will absolutely benefit from that from writing and producing for an audience.

I wanna talk about how to actually do that, who that audience could be and why this is actually beneficial for your music to your music. Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedictine, and I'm here with my friend and co-host Malcolm Owen flood. How are you buddy?

Malcom: Hello, Benny. I'm great because I have podcast news for you 

and actually not even podcast news, I have pro tools news for you. That's what I actually meant to say. If I'm honest, I was just a, a brain fart, but

Benedikt: I'm curious

Malcom: uh, both pew words that got me. but pro tools has announced and you're just gonna make fun of me, but I'm honestly excited. Everybody else is gonna be like, oh geez, uh, they've announced support for a, I can see you just like, oh man, really? Uh, so 

Benedikt: so it means you can finally use Melaine

Malcom: Well, I mean, you can use Melaine already, uh, and it works really well, but now it's gonna be like fully integrated, um, to a, a very cool degree, which is fantastic. because that is, uh, an amazing tool. this is like something that the rest of the audio world has had for eons and us pro tools. Users are just getting it and we're so thrilled.

Benedikt: mm. Yeah. 

Malcom: anything that makes us happy, makes other people make fun of us is how that works.

Benedikt: Totally. Yeah. And you, you still get other things going for you with not, not too many anymore these days, but like


Malcom: We pay more, we pay more. Does 

Benedikt: yeah. Yeah. That that's, that's one. Yeah. Yeah. That's for sure one. Yeah. But, but great. Like, yeah. I'm just happy for you that you can finally do that. 

Malcom: Yeah, honestly, I don't even think it's here yet. Like, I, I haven't downloaded any new update, but I think it was just an email saying it's coming

Benedikt: Yeah. Okay. That, I mean, it's something to look to look forward to. Right. So, you know, I don't even need ARA because like Cubase has it built into the software that I can just use the, the tuning thing that it has and it works great. So I don't need Melaine.

Malcom: Right. Well, pro tools comes with Melaine.

Benedikt: oh

Malcom: I don't know if you knew that, but so 

it's, it's ARA support, but they give you Melaine it's like essentials, like the, you know, the monodic, kind of base level. 


Benedikt: know that is, was it always the case?

Malcom: no, no, that was, uh, I mean a year or two ago, I think. 

Benedikt: Ah, so they didn't build their own version of like very 

Malcom: no, they just decided to kind of partner with them and do it that 

Benedikt: which is kind of smart because Mene is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to that stuff. So.

Malcom: Totally. Yeah. So that that's, that's pretty great. Um, yeah, looking forward to getting to speed up that workflow for sure.

Benedikt: Awesome. So the, the one question about there before we get into the episode, because I know a couple of pro tools, users that I was talking to, also people that I coach. Who are, who were asking me about whether it's worth like buying, the Melaine and if it already comes with Melodi, it's just the essential. Right. But is it worth then upgrading to some, like, is there anything you can't do with that? Because I, I know a couple of pro tools, users who ask about whether or not they should buy something else, but when he already comes with that, I wonder why they're not getting the results they want with the essential.

Malcom: Yeah, I really like the upgraded version. but I did get fi by just fine with the essentials. Um, it's just faster. Uh, and I can pull off a little more heavy handed stuff. With the, the upgraded version as well. Um, I actually have used the polyphonic stuff as well, but like that's, that's kind of above and beyond what the average person would need. I do a lot of base tuning and I find that those, Second tier and up, kind of abilities are, are useful for that as well. Getting that done well, so not essential to upgrade, but you can, but it's nice because you got the first essentials for free and they always come out with these deals for upgrading, um, that make it super affordable to, to upgrade as well. So I would just make due with essentials and then if a, an upgrade comes along and you're using it all the time, then yeah, go for it. It's gonna save you time. but you definitely don't need to go for it unless there's a, a special available.

Benedikt: Oh, okay. Okay, cool. Thank you for that. I didn't see. I didn't even know that one. Um, that's pretty cool.

Malcom: Yeah. I'm, uh, I'm excited to see how it integrates. It looks like they're, they're doing it pretty well from what I've seen, but haven't looked too far into it as of yet.

Benedikt: Great. 


Malcom: that's my news in audio.

Benedikt: Yeah. And that that's exciting. I mean, that that's cool. yeah. So Any other, I mean, I don't know. I always ask about other stuff, but maybe we, maybe we shouldn't even talk about so much other stuff before dive into the episode. I'm just always curious people, you know, like usually Malcolm and I have a little time to, to talk about other things too, but we haven't seen each other a lot during the last couple of months because you were away with like your TV stuff and that, so those podcast recording. Dates are basically also our catch up

thing. Um, so that's, that's why I always wanna know everything, which is totally not relevant to you guys. So cool.

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah, we can jump into it. Cause I know we're gonna get a, we're gonna get a hang note call in soon. So we'll let the listener learn.

Benedikt: Exactly. All right. Perfect. Yeah. Um, I have one thing to say, um, before we get into this, that is, that is, um, audio related or like recording related. I had a call earlier this today, actually this morning with Kaleido state, they are a great band from, um, Australia that I I'm currently working with in the coaching. I also mixed their EP and I'm using one of their songs on the next mix is unpack. Which is gonna be out very soon. I promise . But like, um, maybe even by the time this episode airs, I don't know, but it's like very close and I used one of their songs. I'm gonna have them on the podcast. too, I don't think they know this already, but they will be on the podcast. 

Malcom: There's no, it's not up to them.

Benedikt: yeah, exactly. no, by the time you hear this episode, they, they will know and, and we've probably already recorded. so they're definitely down now. What I, why I'm, uh, telling you this is that I had a call with them earlier today. Coaching call and we were talking about the progress they were making on their next EP. And what's. So what was so cool about this was that they, for the first time follow. Like a quote unquote, proper process. They went through writing, produ like writing the songs, arranging the songs, recording demos, documenting all of that without focusing on any of the technical stuff, they did that first and they got a pretty rough version of the songs and the arrangements done and sent it over and we discussed that. And then they made a list of things to, to buy or to adjust and set up and like get ready for the recording. Which is a separate step. Basically, they worry about thet later. At first, it was all about the songs. Now they're worrying about their equipment. Now they also planned in time to properly practice those songs. Like they now they're in the phase where they prepare for the actual recording session. And then when, when it comes time to actually record the songs, they only have to focus on the performance because the songs are done, the arrangements are done. they got feedback on that. They did that with full focus, without focusing on any of the tech stuff, without worrying about any of those things. Then they had time to properly practice. They had time to try out their gear and set everything up. So when it comes time to record, they will be able to fully focus on that and deliver the best possible takes. And we were talking about this today and they told me that they were so, uh, happy about that, that it actually made the whole process more fun also because it was all about the music. They had a blast jamming and just capturing those demos. And now they look forward to implementing all the notes that they took and buying the gear and all of that. That was so cool to hear for me, because I know that a lot of people are having a hard time separating those things. A lot of people get so hung up in all the, the technical stuff and they go down these rabbit holes when they, when, when actually the songs are not even done. And then when they track, they still have to change some parts or they don't know how a certain piece of gear works. So they do all these things at once and never really focus on one thing entirely. in this case they followed this plan and, and it was not only good for the results, but they actually enjoyed the process more, which is super cool to hear because it's not, it didn't turn the whole thing into tedious work or a lot of planning, but it actually was more fun, more productive. And yeah, I'm telling you this because it made me happy to hear that. And if you want a plan like that for yourself, then you can go to the self recording. ben.com/. And talk to me about this because that's exactly what I do here. I come up with a roadmap for people and help them then implement this roadmap and give them feedback and all of that. That's what we do in the coaching. And it all starts with a first free call where I can sort of come up with a plan for you that you can then take and run and implement yourself or get my help doing so. And, uh, yeah, this is just something I wanted to share because yeah, again, it was so cool to hear that. And you're gonna hear that song soon. If you get our mixes unpacked volume, two chorus, you hear one of the songs from their first EP, and then, uh, it's gonna be interesting to hear the difference to that second EP that they're working on

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah, I can't wait. That's awesome. And yeah, it is really cool to hear that not only was it a better product and end result, it was actually more enjoyable for 'em too. That's great. And I bet they just learned so much along the way, um, as well, it's just like, it's just gonna make the next one, even, even more of an accomplishment. It's very cool.

Benedikt: Yeah, for sure. So that was, that was my story that really made my day today. And I thought it was worth mentioning on the, on the episode. so yeah. About today's episode. this is another topic that I talk a lot about, um, on my coaching calls with people. And it's also something that some people refuse to. Believe for a while until they do. And then it, it all makes sense. So it's also one of those topics that I don't know for, for, and I think I was the same basically, um, couple of years back, it's one of those things that we tend to not really think about or to think that it's not really important and it doesn't matter. And the topic is the question of who's your audience, like who are the songs for that? You're creating this. I think. A lot of people don't have a great answer to that. And I think, or think it doesn't matter because they think they should just make the music that they personally want to make and not think about anybody else. And I want to discuss this because Having an audience in mind and creating music that you personally love are not mutually exclusive. I think you can do both. And I'm definitely sure that your songs and therefore, ultimately your band or your music project, if you're a solo artist, will absolutely benefit from that. From writing and producing for an audience. I wanna talk about how to actually do that, who that audience could be and why this is actually beneficial for your music to your music. yeah.

Malcom: Yeah, I, I, I obviously love this topic. Um, if you're a long time listener of this podcast, you probably know that I had slash have a podcast called your band sucks at business, which we talk about this kind of stuff quite a bit at length. we're, we're not making any new episodes on that right now, but there's a whole back catalog of, of good stuff there that you should check out if you're interested in this kind of stuff. But this is like the perfect conversation for this podcast because there. This, this middle ground where, yeah, they're, they're not mutually exclusive. Like you said, it's, it can be even more rewarding if you get this right. I think to, to create art that you love, but it's also connecting with people. It's just all about figuring out who those people are. And then realizing I, these people are like, they're like me, and they're also enabling me to create more art because they like what I'm doing. it it's, it's in your best interest to figure this out a hundred percent.

Benedikt: Yes for sure. And just. I wanna start this with a quote because, a lot of people think, as I said that, like thinking about an audience or writing music, quote unquote for other people means that you're selling out or you are selling your soul. Basically you're writing something that you don't really care about just because you could sell more copies or whatever. This is not what I'm talking about. and oh, what we were talking about and I interviewed Jayma on the podcast, on my other podcast. Once, if you dunno, Jay Jay is a, a producer and mixer, mainly in the hardcore punk rock world. And he's like, he's totally a punk. Actually. He really does whatever he wants and he doesn't care about any rules. He does. he does whatever. Think he thinks is cool or the artist he's working with think is cool. And, uh, when I was interviewing him and talking about this thing, even, even Jayma said that, and I quote him here. If you are thinking about you, when you're making a record, it probably has much less of a chance of being successful. Then if you're thinking about who it's for. So, and so even, even bands like the bands, like, uh, the ones that cha works with, and even he, he is of that opinion that, um, yeah, it matters who your songs are for. every, every single punk band that I've ever met, even if they say like, We don't care about selling records, we don't like it's all commercial bullshit, whatever. I used to be the same, but even those bands want somebody to listen to their music. Like they, everybody wants that. Like nobody just records music so that they can listen to it themselves. Like that's almost nobody. So even those people want to reach a certain group of people with their music and even if you don't think about an audience, you automatically attract one just by who you are and what you do. So why not do that intentionally? This is why I wanted to talk about all this.

Malcom: Absolutely. Yeah, it, it, it's fascinating because we do want people to come to our shows. We do want them to scream along and rock out and stuff like that. So we need them to connect to our music. And if our music doesn't resonate with them, doesn't connect with them. It's not for them. That's not gonna happen, obviously. So it's this catch 22. Um, and you know, the opposite is If it's working for all of them, but you are not enjoying playing it, it's it, it actually, that's not even possible. I don't think, I don't think you can go and perform music that you don't like and convince people that you do. Like it , um, or at least that's hard.

Benedikt: Yeah,

Malcom: um, so, so really it's best if it's doing both things. now we are called the self recording band podcast, obviously. But I want to draw attention to, uh, one thing that you might not have considered if you've gone from having a producer to doing it yourself. Um, when you hire a producer, they are that person that's thinking about the audience, generally, they're thinking about themselves and that like, so if a band approaches me. And when I was doing producing and, and hired me, I usually would've said yes, because I dug the music and it connected with me. I'm I'm the target audience, perhaps even, or at least I know who would be, and I'm now making decisions based on what, what I want to hear and, and what what's like. Okay. I can picture being in the crowd, singing along to this course. We gotta say that phrase over and over again. Cause that's the hook kind of thing, stuff like that, where. If you don't have that, you're just making it for yourself. You might not see that. Um, so it's extra important, I think, as a self recording band to consider what we're talking about today, because it was maybe being taken care for you before this, if you had a producer, that wasn't in the band. So it's, it's like, this is a step that happens, uh, when you're hiring outside producers, but not necessarily when you're self reducing and we, we need that box to get checked.

Benedikt: Absolutely. That's a great, great point. part of why a lot of self recording artists don't really do it is because a lot of people, I think don't understand the, the role of a producer correctly, which is a, a topic for an entirely different episode. But it's, it's basically that it's like thinking about what. like how to make something that, helps the, the artist and, or the label, or both in ideally achieve the goals that they have and how to, how to then bring in the best possible team for that, which tools to choose all, all that is what a producer does. So they definitely think about who it's for and what is required to, in order to reach those, those types of, uh, people. And if you are, if you don't have that producer anymore and you are on your own. You have to do that. You have to be the engineer and the producer and the musician and all of that. And these days also probably the label in everything else. So, yeah, I mean, and that's just, that's just the reality and it's a good thing. that's absolutely a good thing. There's no gatekeepers anymore, but it also means more responsibility, more things to do on, on your end. And, um, you have to make sure that you make something that people actually wanna listen to, or the people you wanna reach actually care about. That's. Uh, more important. So you don't want to necessarily create something that most people like, but you wanna create something that the people you wanna reach care about. and I think everybody wants that 

Malcom: Yes, absolutely.

Benedikt: so, okay. So I think it all comes down to a couple of questions that you can ask yourself. Um, it's mainly about, first of all, you have to define your goals. You have to know what you actually are trying to achieve. And I mean that as a musician, but also in your life in general, because some people don't have any career ambitions as musicians, but they wanna, I don't know. They want, Maybe it's called like validation or I don't know. It's like, they want feedback from other people telling them that they like their music basically, or they wanna have an impact on other people or they wanna write it for one particular person and they want that person to love the song or, you know, this can be very personal things. So it doesn't necessarily have to be a career goal, but like that makes you create this piece of music. So think about the goals first. I think, what are you trying to achieve? And an honest question to ask yourself, along with that is, is most of the time, who are you trying to impress with your music? Because, you know, we, we obviously like it when other people like our stuff. So who, who are you trying to reach? And, and who are you like, who are you hoping, who are you hoping to reach and what is the reaction that those people should have when they listen to your music? Like what, what reaction are you hoping to get back from them? Basical?

Malcom: Yeah, here's a quick exercise. Picture yourself in your favorite venue that you've ever been to. Not even played, been to and seen concert and picture yourself on stage and looking out at the audience, that's obviously sold out. Right.

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: um, what do those people look like? Like who are they? Right. You're gonna learn like what age they are by visualizing that you're gonna, you know, know how they would've dressed, probably how they're reacting to your music. Are they moshing? Are they jumping or are. Respectively seated at tables, fine dining at the same time and talking amongst themselves.

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: that sounds like my nightmare, but that might be exactly what a jazz musician was. I don't know. 

Benedikt: yeah, yeah, 

Malcom: um, so like, but by doing that, there's a demographic that, that exists and that is that, that is your audience. And so we'll circle back to that, but let's keep going through your, your list here. Benny.

Benedikt: That's a great exercise and. It's important that you said, picture yourself in a venue and like, think of an ideal situation, because that ideal situation might not be your current reality. Like the people that are actually now at your shows might be different from the ones you see when you like visualize all of that. And the reason might be that you are, that you want to attract certain people, but for whatever reason, other people show up to your shows. And in that case, you have to ask yourself, why is that? Like, are we attracting people? Are we attracting the wrong people? Just. How we do things like how, how we are, like who we are, how we dress, what the image is that we created for our band, what our music sounds like. Maybe you would actually want something different, but you haven't thought about it. So you're attracting the wrong people. Could, could be the case. I mean, who knows? and also like, if you could show your music to like anybody you want, like who, who would you show it to? Like, if you could say, I. If I could reach the, you know, the, the boss of that label or the person making that playlist, or, you know, some, some influential person, if you could just walk into their office and like play your music for them. like who would that person be first of all, and then what would your music sound like in order for them to be impressed and, and, and do something with that then, you know, uh, you, you probably, if you have a goal like that, it definitely makes sense to think about, about that. and then how do you want those people to react to your music and what do you want those people do or feel after listening to your music? And this could be again, influential people. This could be just. One person that you wrote the song for this could be your friends. This could be a certain demographic. Um, but I guess there's something that you have in mind, some reaction that you would want to have. Um, 

Malcom: I love that's like another great exercise. Who would you show it to? And like, for me, growing up, I remember being like, if I could just like get backstage and get a CD to that, that person they'd check it out and they'd be like, you're coming on tour with us. You know, like probably not how that would go by the way, even if they liked it. But, uh, knowing how the business works a little bit better now than I did. It it's it that's still like, useful to think about because that person that I would want to show it to is obviously in the same kind of genre, they probably have a similar audience. So you can look at their audience now and be like, oh, like, These people like this type of show, you know, like, like Benny is framing all this rightfully so about music, like the music you're creating, but, uh, all of these exercises and, and ideas can be transferred to, uh, what your stage show looks like. Um, how you're dressing, um, how you're interacting with audience on and off stage, you know, are you. Like personable smiles all around. You're hanging out or are you too cool for school sunglasses on you have a security guards escorting you out of the venue, you know, like , that's a very different relationship with the audience, but both have been made successful at different times. Right. so, so like, yeah, like comparing yourself to somebody that has what you're looking for is actually a pretty good idea. I think.

Benedikt: Yeah, for sure. For sure. And again, this might, this is one of those things, again, I completely agree, but this is one of those things that again, will sound to some people like bullshit that they don't wanna care about. Like. How I dress or how we act or how, what we do on stage and stuff like that. But I think you can do that and still be you, you can still be authentic and, and put, but put thoughts, some thought into that. Think about another person that comes to mind is, is Greg Bann. I've mentioned him before on the show. Greg bannock is the singer of a very, um, personally important to me like, um, hardcore band, uh, called trial. They are not like, by any means like, um, commercially like successful or anything. They are like an underground hardcore band, but very important in the scene. And he's, he's just a genius. He's doing a lot of nonprofit work. He's building houses in high IED and feeding homeless people. And, um, he, he does like all these things and he's also a keynote speaker for like big companies. He's a Ted TEDx, um, speaker and he's, um, he's doing consulting. And, um, what's it called rhetoric, um, sort of coaching, um, consulting for, for other speakers as well. And like, he's just a genius and. When he goes on stage to present something that's really important to him, like to get a message across, it could be a nonprofit thing. It could be, keynotes things, gay speaking about some important thing that he cares about when he does that. He definitely thinks about who the audience is. How he can best reach them, how he acts on stage, what he looks like, how he speaks, like all these things, because he knows that his message that's that's important to him will come across better, will reach more people and have more impact. And he's not about selling out or any of that, but he wants his message to be heard. And, uh, I talked to him about this a lot, and I talked to him about how he writes lyrics and all of that. And he always says, he thinks about an audience because that's the best way to reach that audience. And that's ultimately what he wanted, what he wants to do with his message. And he was never about like being, commercially successful. but he was all about getting his message, message across and, and communicating what's important to him. So even if you don't care about all of this, it still matters. If you want people to pay attention and really care about what you're putting out. And I think all of us want that. Right.

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. It yeah. Going back to what you just said of like, you know, I don't wanna be just like everyone else. I don't want to just copy somebody. The it's all kind of how you look at something. I think you could look at somebody that's doing what you want. and especially in punk, um, and be like, one person might look at that and be like, okay, well I would want to dress like them. I want to write my music like them. Or you could realize that they're successful because they're different than all these other band. Right. Like, and, and the, their uniqueness is the thing to copy. It's like, oh, we just need to be, we need to do the, the opposite of the people we're playing with. And this is a hilarious thing. You'll notice now, after that, I mention it. If you go do some local shows and you're, you're seen everybody's dressed the same I guarantee it. I guarantee it everybody's dressed the same. All of the local bands have these weird similarities and it's because that's what scenes do. Break that mold and now you're, you're standing out, right? Like there's this self analysis and like introverted thinking about your, your band and image and brand can lead to be being different. Not necessarily being more like things. Um, so it it's really up to you, what you take from it.

Benedikt: Absolutely. Absolutely. You can, you can absolutely be you and, and, and think about how you can bring up more of that uniqueness. Um, you can, that's an exercise that I, the question that I ask people a lot, actually, when I work with them also is. Uh, and also the people that I mix for when we have the first call, I always ask, what is special about the way you create music or about what, what do you personally like when in, in other artists or music that you listen to, what is it that you do as a band that you think is kind of yours and that we can bring out more of, because I wanna find that thing and bring it out and, and put even more emphasis on that. And, uh, you know, Obviously also with an audience in mind, but you can, you can make, you can do both. You can bring that out. You can create your own sort of style and vibe and everything. And you can simultaneously think about who it is for and who you want to attract and then get the two together because your audience might be people similar to you don't have to be, but they might. and then that's totally valid. So you don't have to write for a group of people that you don't know anything about. Obviously you can write about people in your scene, people just like you and believe it or not. A lot of people. Think that's what you do it, what you do NA um, naturally anyways, but that's not the case. A lot of people think they write for people just like them, but they actually end up attracting completely different people because they never really thought about what they actually like. And if that is really what they're doing in their music, they think they sound like all their favorite bands, but actually they're not. And you know, stuff like that. So.

Malcom: Yeah. Ex exactly. this isn't on our outline, but a, another interesting thought that I'd like to bring up is who you're comparing yourself against. there's a story man, who said this? I wish I remembered who said this, but somebody, I feel like it was somebody I knew was, uh, getting a ride home from a concert. They had played and they were talking about how they thought they were better than the headliner that they played with or something like that. And like, you know, like why aren't they getting traction? And their dad was like, why are you comparing selves to this other local band? That's not successful either like compare yourself to ACDC or something, you know, like, or equivalent. And it was like, oh, right. Like there's this whole other league that I'm like, I haven't even been looking at. And like, if I, you know, compare myself to them, obviously that's gonna be a higher bar that, that I'm setting myself against. so I dunno, that's kind of unrelated, but kind of 

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah, I totally get it though. That's a great way to think about it though. Yeah, totally, totally. yeah. So your audience, I, I think. Can be, as we say, your audience can be different types of people. It can be people like you, but it can also be a completely different group. Like totally depends. I think asking yourself the questions that we just talked about will help you find and, or refine your style. You might already have found your style and your sound, but it might also help you refine. Your style and sound as well as overcome writer's block. This is something I wanted to talk about too, because if you don't know what to write about, or you kind of stuck and you don't know like what? Yeah. If, if you have maybe a draft, but you can't. Turn into a real song, or you don't even know where, where to start thinking about the audience really helps sometimes, because if you, the, the more, the more clearly you see your avatar sort of, or your, uh, target audience, the easier it will become to write something that they care about. Because if you have the person in front of you, think about you writing a song for one specific person that, you know, like your best friend or your partner, or whoever. You probably know at least a little bit about what that person generally likes or doesn't like, what topics they're interested in, how they like which, which artists, they typically listen to, um, how they communicate all those things. And this will probably help you make it easier. To come up at least with a, a broad topic or something that those people care about. And maybe even how to communicate that. So if you can define that audience for yourself, it might help you overcome writer block because you at least know who you're talking to, which makes things easier than talking into a vacuum, basically.

Malcom: absolutely.

Benedikt: Yeah. and only if nothing, on that list that we just talked about on like none of these questions, none of those things at all, like really matters to you. If none of that is important to you, if it's really just for. Only then I think you can stop thinking about an audience because then, I mean, you can record it and then just listen to it yourself. And that's, that's fine if that's what you wanna do, but I think most people make music so that it comes out, outta speakers somewhere and 

not your own speakers exclusively.

Malcom: yeah. Most people want people to like it. They want people to come to their shows. Right. 

Benedikt: Exactly. Yeah. Okay. So who could your audiences audience be? Um, people just like you, we said that.

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. So this is like, what we're talking about is how to think about it and discover who those people would be like. This is like little exercises for, for, um, figuring it out. so yeah. Yeah, people that. People just like you, you know, um, and, and there's a huge advantage to this, cuz it's not always people like you actually, you could be making music for people that aren't like you and that's, and that's totally cool still, but it's, uh, I think it's easier if it is because a lot of your decisions are gonna align, like, you know, how you dress and stuff like that is probably already gonna translate. uh, you know, in, in Canada there's like the, these like hipsters that like, you know, their Toks are always like, just barely on their. They're just like perched on top kind of thing and buttoned up just like as high as they can be. And, uh, and just

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: so against showing emotion is how I think they are, but I'm sure they disagree and, and hate me for saying all of this, but I am not one of them. You know, like if I end up in a room with one of 'em, like, we, we can't even make eye contact. I'm like, we don't know how to, we're not compatible people

Benedikt: yeah. Yeah.

Malcom: they sure as heck don't like my music. so, so that's really obvious. not making music for them, not going to try and, and, and go after that. but, uh, but yeah, so there's, there's that, and there there's certain demographics and this one is fascinating because there's stats, you can find if you've already released music, um, you can, you can pull up your Spotify stats or whatever and see who is actually listening to your music. This takes some organic success, I think, for the stats to mean anything. Um, otherwise it's just the people you've shared it too. If you're getting like, you know, under a thousand plays on Spotify a month, it's just kind of, you know, the people you're pushing it on. But if you're having some organic traction out there, you can see who is naturally finding it and liking it. Um, and that is useful information too. I think age, gender, and, and, you know, like comparable artists will start populating as well. So you can see what other bands people are listening to that like your music as well.

Benedikt: Yeah, totally. And a good example of like thinking about a demographic would be, I hear a lot of people in my scene, for example, in the punk rock world, complain about how punk rock is dead and the kids don't care about that anymore. And like nobody from the 16 to 25 year olds or something listens to punk rock anymore, at least not the type of punk rock that we used to listen to. And all these complaints that probably have been around forever, um, throughout the generations of of people listening to punk rock at this point, but I still hear that a lot. And. I always think like, if you want young people to listen to that type of music, then why don't you just make music that is interesting to those people. Like ch change it up a little bit, make your, your music, your punk rock sound. Difference so that those people care, uh, because you will never be able. And that's where those demographics come in. You, if you want to attract like the 20 year olds, the 16 year olds, maybe put some time in and do some research and figure out what they actually listen to. Typically, if there is a scene, because there is probably some sort of scene like that still, but maybe what they listen to is a little different to compared to what you were, have listened to when you were 16 or 20, and then put some time into researching that and then try to make music that you. Still enjoy. That is the music that you wanna make, but maybe you can give it a twist. Maybe you can make something that will attract the attention of those people that you wanna reach if you want to reach those people. So because you will never be able to. Convince the younger people to listen to exactly the music that you've listened to that will not happen. So the only chance to bring back the music that you love and have a passion for, to this generation is to make it interesting for them. So instead of complaining, I would just say like accept the things that have changed and, um, try to figure out if there is a way to make something you still enjoy. And that's also relevant to those people. If you don't wanna make that, then you can't complain that young people don't listen to that. So, and that's where demographics really come in. You have to know what the demographic wants that you are trying to reach. So you have to know what, what 20 years Euro olds care about what they listen to, how they dress, how they act, what they, what their problems are, what they, what your lyrics should be about. You have to understand those people. If you wanna reach them. 

Malcom: Yep. I, the next one on our, our list here. That I quite like is like a label or type of label. You'd love to be signed to there's so many bands that like, are like, all right, we wanna make a record and try and get signed, but they can't name a single label that represents music. Like they make. And it's like, well, this, this label's successful because they, they are really. Proficient at a niche , 

Benedikt: Yeah. 

Malcom: uh, and that niche might be pretty wide for a big label, but often there's all these little subsidiary, offshoot labels inside of that, that focus with like a certain type of music really. Um, and they, you know, they know all the, the radio people in that, that genre, they they've got their little market covered. so you need to find that, And by doing that, you'll be actually, this is again, good exercise. You'll be finding other bands that have successfully gotten signed and are hopefully, you know, making the living off this and you'll learn some stuff by comparing yourself to them again, like opposed to comparing yourself to somebody that is not really doing anything. It's, it's better to set the bar high.

Benedikt: Absolutely same is true for playlists. Um, any. Say. Yeah, totally. And, and it's, it's also crazy how there's only a few people who really think about this. It, they, as you said, they say they wanna get signed, but they don't put a thought into what it actually takes to get signed. Like what, what are, what do the other bands on that label typically sound like? How do you know, what do they do? Um, and so if you wanna be on, on that label next to all these other bands, uh, it might be worth investigating a little bit and, and figuring out what, what like increases your chances of, of being there. If that's what matters to you, right. and then the best way would be to do something unique. You don't wanna copy the others, but still make it, so that, that it's relevant to that label. That's the, the difficult part then is like, be you be authentic and create something new, but also do the things that the people in charge probably like

Malcom: Yeah, absolutely. And like, so other bands you wanna tour with and promoters and bookers like that, that's all. You should be able to name people right, right away. and you know, if you find a band you wanna tour with, well, chances are, some of those bands are on the same label because that tends to cross pollinate. and, and then, you know, knowing who their, their promoter or agent is, honestly, if you can't name the name of one person at that label, you're gonna have a hard time getting signed. Which is something again, I don't think most people listening to this podcast could pull that off. It'd be very hard to, but it's like, okay, you really haven't looked into it. If you're honest, then you, you haven't found the name of like you, haven't got somebody's email. How, how you like, this is just something you're talking about. Then this is all made up.

Benedikt: Absolutely. It's like SIM that's such a great, that's so great that you bring that up. It's similar to like applying for a job, but you don't know who is running the company and who is in charge of hiring people. And like, you know, if you apply for a job, you, you know, those things, you better know those things. 

Malcom: Totally. 

Benedikt: And just, it's the same thing as a band you're basically applying. Um, and, and you have to know who you're talking to and what they like, and like how to increase your chances of getting the gig, you know, so,

Malcom: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Benedikt: So the next one on the list is really important to me because I think, when, when I created this outline it kind, I kind of, it kind of got me thinking that this all is also a lesson in, or an exercise in empathy in a way, because if you want to. Connect with people. If you want to get your message across, if you want to be heard, if you want people to care about your music, you need to understand those people. You need to understand what they are worried about. You need to understand what they are going through in their life, what, what they are experiencing, the better, you know, those things, the better you can make something that matters to them. If, if you wanna. Create a certain emotion, or if you wanna help people through a certain phase in life with your music, or if you wanna cover a certain topic that's important to you and help people through that. You really gotta understand those people because if you don't, if you will only be able to do it on a very superficial level, or you will only, you will only be able to do it from your own experience, which might not be enough. So you have to, do more to really understand. What people are going through, the, the people you wanna reach, how they feel, what they're thinking about, what matters to them, what they worry about. And then you, you have a much better chance of actually connecting with them and ultimately help them with your music. that's really important to me. It's really, it's really about empathy in a way, I

Malcom: Right. Yeah. And I think sometimes people get lucky on all of these things, you know, like they're making it for themselves and they happen to connect with like, you know, an entire generation, like thinking of Nirvana, you know, it's just like, they just ha they, they just were what people needed.

Benedikt: Yeah, 

Malcom: um, and, but, but just even though that is maybe true that they weren't trying to pull all that off, they still did it. You know, like, like it, it was music that did connect with a certain type of person. Like it checked all of these boxes, even though they weren't trying to. So maybe you have to try to do it like, so what, you know, you can't assume you're gonna get as lucky as that. so it's like figuring out how to accomplish all of those is really what we're talking about.

Benedikt: First of all, never compare yourself to the outliers. never assume you're gonna be a unicorn tutor. Like that's not gonna, that's not realistic. And then second. Nirvana might not have planned their success and all of that, the mainstream success, but they definitely thought about that. They don't wanna, connect with like the people who listen to mainstream music at that point, they, they definitely thought about that. They wanted to be different. They had in mind who they were talking to, they had a, a scene or people around them that they were talking to it. They happened to reach a lot more than, than those people, but they definitely the way they were and why it actually worked. Was because actually they had some prob probably they had something different in mind and that's what happened to work, but they still, I don't know how to say, it was intentional that they were not like the stuff that was on the radio at the time. So you could argue that they still did it intentionally and they didn't know what's gonna come from that. But they had sort of an idea of who they were talking to. And specifically who, who they were not talking to.

Malcom: Yep. Yep. Which is just as good. Really.

Benedikt: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Cool. Um, so yeah, people who are a part of a scene, you want to be in, or you are actually a part of, it could be that you are in, within a scene, and a certain scene, a certain genre, whatever. And, but it turns out that the music you're making, actually has a lot of inference influences from other genres, other scenes, whatever. And it might not really resonate with the people you, you wanted to resonate with. So you could. If you don't think about it, it could be that you play these shows with, with these bands and you are in these venues and in the scene, but your music never really doesn't really fit there. And maybe you have to go somewhere else entirely with your music, or you have to think about changing your music so that the people in the scene you are in actually care about it. That could be like, it's a self-awareness thing almost. And some people are. Part of a certain group of people are seen and, but make something completely different, but are afraid to admit that they actually like different music. So they feel like they have to do that because that's their, you know, circle of people and like how they were raised and all or whatever, or how they, music that they grew up listening to. But actually they wanna do something else and they having a hard time admitting that, or like, you know, I've seen it, I've seen it happen, I've seen it happen. and then sometimes it takes. Some time until they they're like, okay, I'm actually cool with the fact that I like this music and now I, I better find people who like this. Uh, and yeah. I, I hope that makes sense. Like, but I've, I've seen that 

Malcom: does. 

Benedikt: that happen. Definitely. then you put something there, Malcolm that I want you to talk about. Go ahead,

Malcom: well, yeah, I feel like it, it's kind of touched on in all these previous points, but like, you know, like if, if you're unsure, if you can't seem to look out and find who you're looking for, like then just look in it's like, how do you dress? Do you dress like wearing leather spiked, leather jackets and stuff like that? People that also wear that maybe. And I do mean maybe might be interested in your music. who, who do you listen to? Like, you know, there's a really obvious one people that listen to that probably might also like your music. We tend to make music. That's kind of along the lines of what we like to listen to. Not exclusively, of course, but you know, there's there's clues. Um, cuz some people just really struggle with, with putting themselves in other people's shoes. Even interested in the same things, you know, like there's, it's, there's just common themes among people. but what I, what I think would be great to end this episode on is, uh, a chat or like referencing a chat I had with Courtney Laplant and Mike stringer of spirit box, which is my, like, it was the 11th episode that the year band sex of business podcast ever did, but it's still my favorite because they're just an amazing band and they built this amazing audience entirely online. and, and if you go check it out, you could just listen to the first, like 10 seconds and get what I'm talking about. Cuz Courtney says you're not making music for your friends and family. you know, it's bigger than that or something along those lines, she says it much better than that. So go check it out. But it it's like, it's so true. Like, like, especially with modern world of, of, band's trying to build music and an audience and, and business online because it's just. It was sustainable then trying to hit the road touring and stuff like that. And everybody's, you know, got got jobs and stuff like that. They, they had to think so much bigger than just like better friends and family who are gonna support you as a given they're. They're kind of a problem. If you are focusing on pleasing those people, it you've really built a small pond to try and satisfy. You have to go a lot broader, not actually not broader, more specific, but bigger. There's a lot of people up there. so just. Dig deep. And again, like you can't do better than listening to those two. Talk about how they did it. It's amazing. They're so smart. So clever. I would highly recommend you check it.

Benedikt: Oh yeah, definitely do that. That interview, uh, was great for sure. and they really know. What they're talking about, because that that's one of those bands that really managed to have a, a huge impact. When, when, in, in a time where like people were also saying about metal, that it's kind of nobody's into guitar music in general anymore, let alone metal, there's no chance of a metal band being successful right now. And they, pulled it off to. They're still authentic. They still make their music. They still appeal, to, to the metal fans, not to all of them, of course, but they manage to make it so that it's, it also appealed to a much bigger audience to a mainstream audience also. And of course, when you, whenever you do that, you lose some of the hardcore fans that you had before or whatever. Some people have a hard time with things changing or becoming more accessible. Um, and they did what I, what I was saying before, actually they. Took a genre that seemed to be irrelevant almost, or like not popular anymore and gave it their own twist in a way and made it, made it almost like mainstream successful and not almost it is mainstream mainstream success in, in parts of, the world at least. Um, 

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. And it's fascinating because this, chat with them was back in like June of 2020. And that was like, they were just starting to get momentum it was impressive then, but it was like, like we had no idea what a few years later would look like. And it's like, holy cow. like, they're playing massive, massive shows right now. Um, and so, so like this, where they were in. Podcasting comparison seems humble. It's it's amazing. And it's, it shows again how valuable this foresight and planning is because it's like they set it all up and they just had to knock the pins down. it's really, really cool. Um, yeah, go check it out. That the episode's called building an engaged online audience and why you should start now with Courtney Laplant and Mike stringer spirit box, episode 11 of the, your band of business podcast.

Benedikt: That's a perfect addition to this podcast, actually, even the title, that's a perfect match. So I'm gonna put that in the show notes. Um, if you go to the surf recording band.com/podcast, you'll find the podcast archive and you just click on this episode or you type in. Self recording band.com/and then the number of the episode that will direct you, I'll lead you directly to the show notes page. And I'm gonna put that there, the link to that episode, um, that Malcolm just talked about. And I also, I'm also gonna put the link to kale state there, the Australian band that I was talking about in the beginning and all the other stuff that we've been talking about. Yeah, I think this is really a great way to end this. Um, when this podcast is over, go over to your band, exit business and listen to that episode,

Malcom: It's a fun 

Benedikt: maybe take a break in between so you can really take it all in, but then listen to that. all right. yeah, hope it helped and see you next week. Thank you for listening.

Malcom: yeah. Thanks for listening everyone. See you next.

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