Your Music’s Not For Everybody: Proudly Exclude Some People

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Proudly say what you’re NOT: “If you like Celine Dion, you’ll hate us.” …and people who hate Celine Dion will love you, or at least give you a chance.

You can’t please everyone in this world. Recklessly exclude people.

Almost like you’re the doorman at an exclusive club that plays only your music. Maybe you wouldn’t let in anyone wearing a suit. Maybe you wouldn’t let in anyone without a suit!

But know who you are, and have the confidence that somewhere out there, there’s a little niche of people that would like your kind of music. They may only be 1% of the population. But 1% of the world is 65 million people!

Loudly leave out 99% of the world. When someone in your target 1% hears you excluding the part of the population they already feel alienated from, they’ll be drawn to you.

Write down a list of artists who you don’t like, and whose fans probably wouldn’t like you. Use that.

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  • Thanks for the advice Derek! This helps me gain more insight as I pursue my profession!

  • I am so glad other people think this way. If one person doesn't like your music the way it is, don't try to cater to them to seek their approval. Take the approval you get from everyone else, even if it's only a handfull of fans, and enjoy it. If you're trying to express yourself through your music, then do that. Don't express someone elses agenda.

    I once saw something on a myspace page that really caught my attention. It read something to the extent of: "If you like my music, then tell your friends. If you don't like my music, tell everyone you hate." That sort of spiteful attitude gives your music a backbone.

  • I'm not even a musician, but this is still important advice for me. I spend way too much time intently focused on improving relations with the people who don't like me, or who have some problem with who I am, even if there are 100 other people that week giving me support and love–all I hear is the one accusing voice. What is up with that?? What kind of self-respecting heretic sweats this stuff?