Laws of Indie Success #1: Supply And Demand
If there is no demand for what you do you will not reach a receptive audience. And if you do not reach a receptive audience you will not make money. However, when there is a greater demand for your kind of act or music, you will stay working, sell more music and charge more for your performances and merchandise.
Is there a demand for your music or act?
“We’re telling the real story of what it’s like living in places like Compton,” Eazy told the Los Angeles Times in 1989. “We’re giving them reality. We’re like reporters. We give them the truth. People where we come from hear so many lies that the truth stands out like a sore thumb.”
Your music must captivate your fans. Niggaz Wit’ Attitude (N.W.A) the originators of gangsta rap engaged an audience who demanded music that spoke not only of their daily experiences of police brutality, but also gave fans a lifestyle they could identify with. This was an identity which had never been expressed prior to N.W.A, but a much desired one which told their story in a way that provided a sense of purpose. They were part of a movement.
Can you clearly define your target audience?
In order to be really successful your brand must have a big vision that will endure the test of time. Eazy E was the visionary behind N.W.A’s success. The concept around the group was for them to be hip-hop, and to be real street with it. Eazy E envisioned the group representing the way urban youth in L.A. spoke and the way they acted. N.W.A’s mission was to promote L.A. culture.
By positioning the brand in this unique way N.W.A owned a place in the minds and hearts of music fans. This strategy can be used either by emphasizing the distinguishing features of your brand (who you are, what you do and how you do it). Once your brand owns a unique position you can have a two way conversation with your fans to understand their needs in further depth. By understanding the wants and needs of your audience you will place yourself in a position to deliver what they most desire.
What makes you different from other acts?
Eazy E’s influence on N.W.A’s enduring brand remains present within hip hop culture today. Practically every young artist considers their self to not just be a rapper but an entrepreneur and the leader of a “movement.” Eazy E, who launched the careers of dozens of artists, set the archetype. This vision remains firmly embedded in the N.W.A brand. The growth and endurance of each group member further reinforces the brand ethos and allows audiences to grow with them. As the relationship between N.W.A and their fans continues to evolve the legendary group are able to supply products and service that satisfy the demands of their fans. This constant reinvention is only made possible by understanding your skills and how to apply them in the marketplace.
The groups’ debut album Straight Outta Compton (released 1988) sold over three million copies. The movie by the same name, released in 2015 almost thirty years after the group’s formation, grossed over $100 million at the box office. Clever marketing around the movie attracted a new generation of fans and gave everyone who came into contact with the ‘Straight Outta’ campaign a sense of ownership, myself included. Straight Outta London a short film featuring UK Rappers Krept & Konan was filmed on my old road in Gipsy Hill. How about that for audience engagement.
Ice Cube who was once told by Movie Director John Singleton, “if you can write a rhyme you can write a script”, has gone on to enjoy movie success with movies including Friday, Barber Shop, and Are We There Yet?. Fellow group member Dr Dre continues to revel in music success producing a whole host of rappers including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, and is a partner in the market leading headphone brand Beats which sold to Apple in 2014 for $3.2Billion.
Think Big! Embed Your Vision in Your Brand.
Book a 30 minute consultation to plan a strategy for your music. Find out how to…
Understand audience demands
Clearly define your target audience
Make yourself different from other acts
Next time on The Ten Laws of Indie Success… The Law of Indie Success #2 Invest In Yourself