Why Reaching an Audience of Almost No One is Actually a Good Thing

audience_membersDispensing best practices for establishing, reaching, and growing your tribe, Seth Godin, an entrepreneur, marketer, and keynote speaker, speaks to the spirit of independent musicians and music industry professionals more than one might originally suspect.


The chances that everyone is going to applaud you, never mind even become aware you exist, are virtually nil. Most brands and organizations and individuals that fail fall into the chasm of trying to be all things in order to please everyone, and end up reaching no one.

That’s the wrong thing to focus on. Better to focus on and delight almost no one.

 -Author, entrepreneur, marketer, and speaker Seth Godin
from his post ‘Almost No One

Seth Godin is no stranger to the world of independent musicians. Seth’s books are filled with best practices for building tribes, obtaining permission to market to your tribes, engaging with your tribes, and even being indispensable within your tribes. If you are an independent musician striving to build an audience and you haven’t read Seth’s books I strongly recommend you go check them out.

Start with these 3 books which are most relevant to the independent musician:

  • Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers
  • Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
  • The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Reaching-larger-audienceRecently Seth posted an article on his blog entitled “Almost No One“. In the article Seth is making the point that rather than strive to reach a mass audience with your music, for a better chance at success…focus on almost no one. Wait! hold on. That’s a good thing. Seth reminds us that ‘almost no one‘ is significantly different and better than ‘no one‘.

This is critical to the ‘1,000 true fans‘ mindset made famous by Kevin Kelly and is right in line with what PledgeMusic founder and president Benji Rogers preaches on a daily basis, ‘Superfans: The Future of the Music Industry‘ as he travels around the globe speaking at music conferences.

Don’t spend your limited resources (time, money, and energy) on trying to broadcast your music and message to the world and be heard by no one. Dial it back. Way, way back. To almost no one. Yes, almost no one. Figure out who your target audience is, then zoom in and focus on the smallest portion of that potential audience. Speak to them. Engage with them. Delight them. Win them over as fans of your music, your message, and, most importantly, you.

Remember that while no one is really nothing, almost no one is really something.

This is a guest post by Berklee Online music business instructor Chandler Coyle. Chandler is one-half of the fan experience agency Music Geek Services and is also the publisher of the The Coyle Report, a free weekly music marketing newsletter.

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  1. These kinds of messages are never specific enough. It’s been said a thousand times, but hardly anyone really knows how to do it. The Internet (and world) is a vast place.

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