Derek Sivers

Bad Targeting Example: progressive rocker targeting teenybopper


On CD Baby, there was a great musician who made an amazing heavy-progressive-metal record.

When we had a “search keywords” section, asking for three artists he sounds like, he just wrote the biggest-selling pop acts of that time (“britney spears, ricky martin, backstreet boys”).

What the hell was he thinking? He just wanted to turn up in people’s search engines, at any cost. But for what? And who?

Did he really want a Britney Spears fan to get tricked into finding his dark-progressive-metal record? Would that 13-year-old girl actually spend the time to listen to his ten-minute epic, “Confusing Mysteries of Hell”?

I suggested he instead have the confidence to target the real fans of his music.

He put three semi-obscure progressive artists into his search engine description instead, and guess what?

He sold more music than ever! He found his true fans.

No matter how obscure your niche, there are people searching for it. Find the passionate fans of your niche, not the casual fans of mainstream.