TPS #023: Becoming a Niche of One

Author: Andre Mullen - 5 min Read

Read Time: 5 minutes (it’s a special edition!)

A big thank you to our sponsors who keep this newsletter free to the reader:   

Today’s issue is sponsored by beatBread. Need an advance for your next project? Check out the music funding platform giving you access to capital without giving up ownership of your music. Sign up today!

I wanted to write a slightly longer edition of The Paradigm Shift to talk about why, in today’s music climate, you should become a “niche of one” and the steps to do so. 

In many of my conversations with artist managers and artists, their biggest pain point is how to grow their audience.

The internet and within it, social media, is expansive.

Here are some stats:

• The internet has 4.9 billion daily active users – 62% of the global population
• Facebook has 3 BILLION daily active users
• TikTok has 50 MILLION daily active users in the US ALONE

You only need a small percentage of these users to be successful and sustainable as an artist.

This is why becoming a “niche of one” is much more feasible for artists than ever before.

Unfortunately, many artists and artist managers are still focused on making a hit record and selling out arenas than sustainability.

"The most successful artists will embrace becoming a “niche of one.”

So what exactly is a niche of one?

A niche centered around you. It’s a unique concoction of your skills and interests in the only way you could possibly monetize it.

When you do this well, you become the category creator.

And you can deliver products and services people will pay for.

There are 6 steps in creating a niche of one:

1. Choose what you’re best at
2. Choose what you’re interested in
3. Combine them
4. Create a distribution system
5. Allow the audience to form
6. Ask them what they need

Like you craft a song, a niche of one will give you clear direction in presenting yourself and your value proposition to your audience who will become your fans.

Here’s how, step by step:

Step 1: Choose what you’re best at = Skills

A skill is not unique.

It is easy to write, sing, and in some cases – because of the easy use of technology – produce a song.

Too often, people make the mistake of choosing a skill when deciding to get into the music industry. They write poetry and a few “songs”, so they’ll be a songwriter. They sang in their school choir, so they’ll be a singer. They put together some beats, so they’ll produce.

However, the difficulty arises when the inevitable question comes up:

“What do I write today?”
“What can I sing today?”
“What do I produce today?”
“What do I post today?”

You will face a creative block and you will do one of two things:

1. Quit
2. Create something subpar

That’s when you introduce interests into the equation.

Step 2: Choose what you’re interested in = Interests

“Interests” does not refer to literally looking for something that may keep your interest.

You’re a creative. What you do IS what interests you.

Maybe you’re a producer and you love how music is used in advertising. Maybe you’re a singer-songwriter and you write exceptional song hooks.

You may look at those two sentences above and there’s nothing really compelling or unique about them.

So now what?

Let’s put them together to formulate an interesting idea.

Step 3: Combine Skills + Interest = Idea

The idea step in creating a niche of one is where most people get it wrong. They believe a lack of creativity is what stops them from building something unique.

As creatives, we have tons of ideas. However, many of them end up unfinished because we’re always starting at zero.

The creation must be forced. Every single day, you’re starting from a blank canvas asking yourself those same questions:

“What do I write today?”
“What can I sing today?”
“What do I produce today?”
“What do I post today?”

In a niche of one, you create one idea, and then learn how to say it, do it, or package it in 1,000+ different ways.

Let’s use our producer example from above.

Example #1: You’re a producer and your interest is in how music is used in advertising.

Unique idea: Use your production knowledge and skill to talk about how music is used in advertising campaigns.

Example #2: You’re a singer-songwriter and your interest is writing hooks.

Unique idea: Write and show how to write hooks using instrumentals.

One could argue that these ideas are not interesting, but there’s a larger point I want you to get here.

They are one single idea that can be produced and reproduced 1000x over.

We’ve just ended the game of “What do I do today?”

When these ideas are shared through proper distribution, you will attract a natural audience of interested people.

Step 4: Create a Distribution System = Distribution

In order for people to discover your unique and interesting idea, they have to be able to find it. This is where distribution becomes critical to the equation.

It is often said that your audience is an outcome of good distribution. This is entirely true.

Having a niche of one gives you an advantage because you’ve increased the number of places you can distribute.

For example, if you’re a singer-songwriter/hook writer, you can distribute on sites centered around music licensing, YouTube (”how-to”), etc.

I would recommend you focus on the following:

• Newsletter: a place where you can get subscribers
• Website: a place where your content can live forever
• Social media: pick one channel and master it
• Discord: join an artist community

Step 5: Allow the audience to form = Audience

By distributing consistently, a natural audience will emerge and grow.

You don’t pick your audience – they pick you. Your objective is to set up a system where people are likely to find you.

If you’re the producer from the example above, you will naturally attract an audience of producers who have an interest in advertising.

But you may also attract people who have an interest in production, marketing, and so on.

Step 6: Ask the audience what they need = Need

Now comes the easiest part. Asking and listening.

With an audience built around a specific, unique idea, you can simply start to ask them what would be most helpful and listen to their answers.

Don’t skip this step. It’s critical in continuing to build with your audience.

You can do this in a number of ways: ask on social media or send out a survey via email.

Ask questions such as “What would you like to learn?” or “What would you be happy to spend money on?”

For example, some might enjoy a digital course teaching them a step-by-step method for constructing a good hook for a song.

Others might want a 1:1 Zoom call where you apply your method to a song they’re currently writing, while some may just want to purchase an analysis of hooks already written, without a video call.

All of this can be placed on a value ladder that people can move up over time:

The internet is getting crowded.

Picking your passion and then writing or recording from scratch day in, day out is draining.

The most compelling online creators have a system. No one is winging it out here.

The 6 steps to becoming a niche of one:
1. Pick what you’re best at
2. Choose what you’re interested in
3. Combine skills + interests into an idea
4. Create a distribution system
5. Allow the audience to form
6. Ask the audience what they need

Hope this helps.

See you next week.

✋🏾When you’re ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

1. Schedule a 1:1 Growth Strategy Call with me on growth, strategy, content, and monetization.

2. Promote your business to 400+ artists, artist managers, and founders by sponsoring this newsletter.

3. Here on my website, I have resources that can help. Check out The Playbook for more information.

Subscribe To The Newsletter