Fig. 1. The Facebook Page Insights tool maps your audience demographics and habits.
In the past, only music labels, with their large marketing budgets and resources, were able to get the demographic information artists needed to understand their audience. They knew that by focusing on age groups, genders, and segments of fans, they could grow their artists’ fanbase.
Today, this kind of information is now in your hands—and the best part is, most of this information is free and takes just a few minutes to pull up. You can find out your fans’ ages, which other artists they listen to, where they hang out, what they do and like, and where they are located throughout the world. And all of this can help you get your music heard by more people, and win more fans.
Use the following six sources to check out the information you have on your current fans. Once you know more about them, you can adjust your efforts to find and target similar people and grow your fanbase.
Facebook Your Facebook (facebook.com) fan page captures statistics and demographics associated with the people who follow it. The Page Insights tool (see Figure 1) is the simplest way to find out where your audience lives, their gender, their age, and more. These provide clues to the type of person your music and style appeals to—and where to find them.
YouTube Videos are still one of the best ways to get your music out into the world, in part because videos are so easy to share on the web. But the best part is that sites like YouTube (youtube.com) capture a great set of statistics about who’s watching and sharing videos on your channel. Check out your channel’s analytics section at youtube.com/analytics (see Figure 2) for demographic information. It also offers detailed stats on your videos, including how long people watched, and where they came from. Want more data? Try out VidStatsX (vidstatsx.com) for additional detailed information.
Fig. 2. YouTube analytics provides audience demos, viewing stats, and other data.
Last.FM If you want to find out which other artists your fans are listening to, use Last.FM (last.fm). The Last.FM Scrobbler is a service that people install on their computers and devices that automatically posts what they are listening to. As a side benefit, Last.FM has pages for every artist, the songs that were played, which user played them, and when. On your artist page, you can see the fans that listened to your music, get their demographic information, and learn who else they listen to. This allows you to grow your audience not only by better understanding who your fans are, but also allowing you to develop new marketing campaigns by targeting the fans of similar artists.
Reverbnation Reverbnation (reverbnation.com) captures demographic information about the people who are listening to your music and viewing your page in their artist control panel. Plus, they allow you to pull information from various social networks—giving you more tools to analyze who your fans are and where they are on the web.
Location-Based Stats Beyond the location data you can get from Facebook and YouTube, sites like Eventful (eventful.com) has a “demand” widget that lets fans ask you to play in their town and captures demographic information about who’s demanding you. This lets artists who build a fanbase online know where their fans want them to play, allowing them to plan out tours more effectively. Also, try Tweepsmap (tweepsmap.com) to analyze your Twitter followers and map out where they are located (see Figure 3).
Fig. 3. Tweetsmap analyzes the location of your Twitter followers.
SoundOut Soundout (soundout.com) is a service that, for a fee, will play your music to an objective group of listeners so they can rate and review each song you submit. You receive a detailed report for each song you submit that breaks the data out by demographic group, so you can see which group likes your music the most (or least). This can give you some real insight as to the type of people that your songs will appeal to before you even release it to the world.
Once you have collected information about your fans, you’ll know where to target your marketing efforts. Considering that most of these methods just take a few minutes to use and are free, it makes sense to get started right now. Once you do, try aiming your efforts at the single most promising age demographic, a particular city or region, and the fans of one similar artist. While it may seem, at first, to be limiting yourself by narrowing your focus, instead, you’ll be more effective at conquering one segment of your potential listeners, and boost the word of mouth that grows you beyond your original fanbase.
Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan are authors of The Indie Band Survival Guide (St. Martin’s Griffin), now in its second edition.