How to move beyond your musical niche

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When dealing with music distribution and promotion, being in a ‘niche’ can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, having a solid niche means that you’ve likely got a devoted fan base that likes your music and will keep buying it. On the other hand, if your sound is too obscure, you may limit your audience.

For many artists, finding a way to break out of their niche is the key to achieving mainstream success. Yet, it’s often disastrous to do so in a way that alienates your existing fans.

While there are exceptions, like Darius “Hootie” Rucker ditching the Blowfish and successfully going country, you’ll want to be careful when trying boost your music distribution in different markets.

Breaking Out Of Your Musical Niche

1 – Learn a new instrument.

There’s probably no more effective way of expanding your sound than by becoming a multi-instrumentalist. Even adding a harmonica to your repertoire can significantly change your sound. Plus, it’s always impressive to see a musician breaking out a full collection of instruments during a show.

2 – Listen to new musical genres.

The proliferation of streaming services isn’t only good for your music distribution – they’re good for your own music literacy too! Pick a genre, any genre, and spend a couple weeks listening to it. You’ll absorb all sorts of interesting new ideas and techniques you can work into your own tracks.

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3 – Mix & Match!

This is the era of the mashup and the remix. Often, the fastest way of revising your sound is to drop in elements from other genres. That’s why being well-versed in many genres is great for any artist – it gives you a wide range of ideas that can be applied to your own production.

4 – Pay Attention To Your Fans

Ultimately, no one is going to let you know whether they like a particular direction in your music faster than your fans. If your new experiment in genre-flipping flops, don’t push it. The world just may not be ready for your visionary new techno-medieval postrock.

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