The online marketing agency Media Junction Digital has a four step marketing plan they use when putting together a campaign for an artist that makes total sense.
1) Understand who your audience is.
2) Create content that appeals to them.
3) Place the content where they will discover it.
4) Provide the audience/ consumer with easy links to buy.
Contrast that plan with music marketing company TopSpin’s recently published four step plan:
1) Don’t suck.
2) Get others to introduce you to their audiences.
3) Make those audiences an offer they can’t refuse.
Topspin gets all the press these days for being on the forefront of digital music marketing, but if you're an artist just finding out, you'll find Media Junction Digital's advice a little more helpful, but I don't really agree with many of the points above.
If you're good enough to gain an audience of any size, it really helps to understand just who that audience is so that you can more easily communicate and interact with them. But if you're an artist, you can't craft content for your audience. That's not why they like you. They like you because you create content that you like. Crafting music for a particular audience has gotten us into the morose state of music that we're in now. And advice like "Don't suck" make no sense at all. What sucks to one group of people are the songs of angels to another.
An artist must be true to himself and take the results as it comes. If an audience is found, then it's time to interact with them, but not before. As I've said many times before in previous posts and in my books - "Art is something you do for yourself. A craft is something you do for someone else."