Once again, taking a look at regular listening habits can help us to understand what exactly it means to be familiar. As humans, we find a sense of comfort in familiarity, or being accustomed to something. This seamlessly transfers over to music, where one might pause in the middle of their daily mix and think, “Is this Logic?” and continue to listen solely on the premise that the voice and track sounds similar to their favorite rapper.
Most of the time it is encouraged to have a different sound, or to have some sort of defining factor that sets one apart from the rest. Rappers in particular can be seen as intriguing based off of an accent alone, or with a signature similar to Cardi B or Lil Jon that can land you a deal with Pepsi. Another example of a “different” sound was the country and rap collab with Lil Nas and Billy Ray Cyrus. In contrast, listeners can get bored or almost offended when an artist always sounds the same in every song or feature. So how do you find the balance between boring and recognizable?
In our opinion, it takes someone about 30 clicks to give an artist a chance. This might mean seeing your Instagram post, or hearing your music on their Release Radar. While that number can vary on either end, it is a good place to start when considering how and when your audience will grow. We have seen this time and time again with our De Novo clients, and is why playlist promotion is so important – to get your music in front of as many people as possible. To build something identifiable that can get your listeners past the 30 second mark. This even applies to that song you heard a month ago that was terrible, but now that you have heard it on the radio and in commercials a few dozen times, you admit it is one of your favorite songs.
It is important to note that you have to stay genuine in your work. Listeners, and especially potential new fans, will be able to tell if something is not true to you. If you pick an artist name because it sounds cool, or because it has a current trend, you might come to regret the name in a few years when you realize it really does not hold up to who you are as an artist. Becoming familiar or recognizable does not mean changing who you are as an artist, but rather getting your music out in front of people who can turn into fans.