Lessons from today’s music industry on how to win with your target.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

The following scary facts came screaming across my desk the other day.  Before we go there let me just say…I get it.  Today’s music industry is a massive machine; what was once all about art is now professionalized.  And technology has enabled people to shout about a mediocre product louder than the few who quietly follow quality.

But still, these stats surprised me:

  1. Creed has sold more records in the US than Jimi Hendrix
  2. Led Zeppelin, REM, and Depeche Mode have never had a number one single, Rihanna has at least 10
  3. Ke$ha’s “Tik-Tok” sold more copies than ANY Beatles single
  4. The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling” is more popular than any Elvis or Simon & Garfunkel song
  5. Katy Perry holds the same record as Michael Jackson for most number one singles from an album
  6. People actually bought Billy Ray Cyrus’ album “Some Gave All…”  20 million people in fact. More than any Bob Marley album

(source:  buzzfeed.com) 

Regardless of what direction your music tastes lie, here’s what we can learn from today’s music industry:

  • The market is fragmented:  therefore by definition so is your brand.  So the question is how to break out from the noise. Identify the tools and technologies that allow you to reach a large number of your target.
  • It’s lifestage marketing to the core:  To truly understand your target, whether it’s a Millennial, Gen X or Boomer, you need to understand their teenage years.  Go back to the 70s, 80s, 90s to see what really inspired and resonated with them.
  • Understand “passion topics”:  by understanding your target consumer’s point of view on music, sports, Hollywood, sex (tread carefully please!) you’ll uncover insights into what motivates, moves, excites them.  Okay, forget I said sex!

And at the end of the day you need to be great to survive.  Today’s artists may reach a lot of ears now, but most don’t have the staying power of the Beatles or Hendrix.  Stick with delivering a meaningful, high quality product to your core target and they’ll stick with you for the long term.