A question I get a lot from up and coming artists pertains to the issue of preferred Genre of music. In particular, artists tend to ask the question, “will it help me as an artist to change my sound/genre from what I currently play to a different sound in order to be in touch with a different crowd?” This is an interesting question because one of the most important goals as an artist (or at least it should be) is to generate demand by gaining fans. This demand can be gained by becoming known for a specific sound that is known and respected by the masses.
Usually answering this question is dependent on a few key possibilities:
1) Do you currently enjoy the sound you are playing?
It’s a proven fact that it’s much easier to master something that you have passion for, so that is definitely the most important thing. If you are playing a sound which you don’t enjoy playing or producing, chances are you likely won’t become good at it, which is what sets you apart from the next act. Conversely if you are changing to a sound which you don’t have a passion for and are only changing to try and develop demand, you are better off sticking to what you have passion for as the artist will be better represented.
2) What do you wish to accomplish with the genre change?
This is a very important question because without knowing what you plan to accomplish, a change in sound can really hurt your career. There have been many instances where artist have decided to change their sound and alienated there existing fans (which knew the artist from there previous sound) while moving to a genre of music that also wasn’t popular with new targeted fans. In this case the artist literally just went backwards in their career. This is all the more reason why it is important to think things through when deciding to change music genres and for an artist to understand exactly what he or she is trying to accomplish specifically.
3) Is there a solid transition plan in place to change sounds?
This is critical if an artist intends to move forward with the change in sound. As mentioned above it’s important to understand the potential negative impacts which a change can have if one doesn’t consider there existing fan demographic. If an artist is to attempt to change a style of music they perform, without smoothly transitioning, (i.e. continuing to play some shows with the original sound while gradually performing more shows with the new style) then they are at a high risk of alienating the crowd that helped them get established in the first place.
These are a few things an artist should consider when contemplating chaining up their sound. There are several documented cases of successful artists being able to do it but there are just as many that have failed. Therefore, it is very important to think things through when trying to decide if it’s the right thing to do.
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