SirLogan

Advertising myself as a Mormon musician. Good? Bad?

Recommended Posts

My wife and I have had a fair share of missionary acquaintances over the last 3 years (my wife is investigating). Every new pair of elders or sisters falls in love with my music, and a couple other members have mentioned to me that I should really try and tap into the Mormon audience around the country, that it would be a good way to gain a following as an indie rock / theme music artist. I have two albums distributed online and anybody can access them.

My question: do you think that advertising myself as a Mormon artist would gain favor in the Mormon community and help me build a bigger audience? Or is this idea simply a fantasy? Would people be more likely to listen to my music and follow me because they know I'm Mormon? Or are they so jaded by the enormous amount of musical artists they have to choose from nowadays that it wouldn't even matter?

Part of me says, "Well why don't you try it and find out?" But it's something to look further into before committing. Thanks for your thoughts!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First, welcome to the forum SirLogan!

Second, I would ask you first, what is it you want to do ultimately with your music? Career/full time job? Make millions/modest income? Billboard #1/spread the gospel? Would you consider yourself fully active in the church? I think with a little more insight, I would be happy to give my opinion. I have one, and honestly have thought about this before though I'm not a musician. As I have watched other LDS musicians from the outside, I have tried to watch with an eye towards business.

Edited by NeedleinA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Mormon population in the US is actually pretty small for a sales target. Total numbers are probably no much over seven million people. Of those, how many are people who will be influenced by the fact that you are LDS? A third, maybe? Fewer? Active Saints will probably have more of a tendency to care than inactive. (Maybe. That's my supposition.) Let's say, I don't know, 3 million care. Of those, how many are in the target demographic that will appreciate your music? Possibly a tenth? So 300,000. Of those, how many will have heard of you? Half, maybe? So 150,000. Of those, how many would actually buy something? If a third of them actually buy an album from you, then you might sell 50,000 albums. Hey, it's a start, 50,000 more albums than I have ever sold.

I think a better approach might be to ask yourself in strict honestly what you want to accomplish with your music. Are you seeking to influence people to adopt certain attitudes or beliefs? Are you primarily looking to make money? Consider Amy Lee and her band Evanescence, sort of a Goth metalish/hardish rock band with pop overtones and with a vocally superb lead singer (Lee). They initially marketed themselves as a "Christian" band, and their initial market penetration was in that demographic. But Lee was frustrated by the band's description as a "Christian" band; she thought their music had a much wider appeal (it did), and IMO she didn't like the "Christian" label for other reasons. So they removed themselves from the "Christian" sector and sold a lot more albums. It's probably always a good thing to take a very clear-eyed, sober view of how appealing your music really is to people. It's easy to appeal to a narrow slice of people -- heck, there are folks who like my writing -- but it's a different thing to appeal to a wide swath.

Just some ideas to bounce around. Best of luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well let me just say thank you for the replies! To NeedleinA, I'd like to make a modest living. I'm not looking to strike it totally rich or get famous, but I'd like to earn enough to quit the day job and be my own boss. I'd primarily like to write music for film, and I already have a couple things going for me in that direction. But it's important that I do whatever possible to get my name out there, which also means selling myself as a songwriter/producer and marketing my albums. My music is good for movies along with being good album material. The larger audience I gain, the more chance of success I will have. I'm definitely not spreading the gospel with my music. But many of the songs have a good down-to-earth message about admitting faults and overcoming weaknesses. I have lots of middle aged and older people from church that are in love with my music.

To Vort, that's a good insight. Thank you. But heck, 50,000 albums would be absolutely incredible! And actually that's still an extremely high number. People stream more nowadays than buy albums. It's the reality I have to face. So I have to play the whole streaming game. So going by what you said, perhaps advertising myself as a Mormon is kind of a win/lose? I'd be going for the niche, which is often successful, but I'd be leaving less room for much growth. That's definitely a good point to think about.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/12/2016 at 2:19 AM, SirLogan said:

My question: do you think that advertising myself as a Mormon artist would gain favor in the Mormon community and help me build a bigger audience?

 

On 2/13/2016 at 1:31 PM, SirLogan said:

I'm definitely not spreading the gospel with my music.

First, let me say up front, I have zero music industry background, z-e-r-o. So here goes... I see Mormon musicians in two categories:

1. I'm first a successful musician, and after the fact, "Oh, by the way, I bet you didn't know I was Mormon did you?".

OR

2. I'm a successful "Mormon" musician in niche Mormon market who "spreads the gospel" with my music. 

As I think of others, it sounds to me like you should go after #1. #1 seems to me like the musicians figured things/music industry first, found success and then gave their careers a secondary boost by letting Mormons know they were Mormon too.

FYI: for fun, my kids and I enjoy Electronic / Dubstep music and one of our favorite DJ's is Kascade. Only later on did I find out he is Mormon. Last I knew he was one of the highest paid DJs in the world. Here is more

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a musician, may goal of making a living at it has long since dissipated. I still desire to reach a wide audience. I'm shooting for an LDS audience primarily because that's the direction my style of music and writing has gone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest MormonGator

If the answers seem harsh-it's because we don't want you to waste your time or not see the challenge it is. For those of us that have tried-the music industry is hard enough, much less focusing on a small part of it. Can it be done? You bet. Is it a long, difficult road filled with mega challenges? Oh yes. 

You read about the bands that succeed, not the guys who got didn't. 

 

Edited by MormonGator

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind the answers. They're fine. Here's the thing: I've released two albums since the Spring of 2014. I'm on Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp and more. I've been played on public radio stations, college radio, and other internet radio stations. But my fan base is growing very slowly because I don't perform. I used to think I could get around this, but sadly, people need to feel connected to an artist in order to care about listening to his/her music. And seeing him/her perform live or having a friend that really enjoys the music is the best way to achieve that. But I have wondered if being a "Mormon musician" would create any deeper of a connection for members who come across my music, enough to create a permanent fan. I have also wondered if that's a cheap and tacky way of promoting myself. But I wanted to pose the question because a few people have said things along the lines of "tapping into the Mormon audience..."  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now, one of the most famous Mormon musicians in the world is Brendan Flowers of The Killers. 

Rather than sell himself as a Mormon musician, he initially sold himself as a musician who just happened to be Mormon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, SirLogan said:

I don't mind the answers. They're fine.

Sounds like you have kind of already made up your mind. Where you hoping to hear more of a positive "Go for it!"? You are having an issue/concern, yet you already seem to know the answer to it: " fan base is growing very slowly because I don't perform. " Why not strap on the boots and go perform then?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest MormonGator
7 hours ago, SirLogan said:

I don't mind the answers. They're fine. Here's the thing: I've released two albums since the Spring of 2014. I'm on Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp and more. I've been played on public radio stations, college radio, and other internet radio stations. But my fan base is growing very slowly because I don't perform. I used to think I could get around this, but sadly, people need to feel connected to an artist in order to care about listening to his/her music. And seeing him/her perform live or having a friend that really enjoys the music is the best way to achieve that. But I have wondered if being a "Mormon musician" would create any deeper of a connection for members who come across my music, enough to create a permanent fan. I have also wondered if that's a cheap and tacky way of promoting myself. But I wanted to pose the question because a few people have said things along the lines of "tapping into the Mormon audience..."  

 

 

Yeah, you need to preform. Take every gig possible and promote yourself. If you can't do that, find a different job. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

Sounds like you have kind of already made up your mind. Where you hoping to hear more of a positive "Go for it!"? You are having an issue/concern, yet you already seem to know the answer to it: " fan base is growing very slowly because I don't perform. " Why not strap on the boots and go perform then?

I was just responding to what MormonGator said before that: "If the answers seem harsh-it's because we don't want you to waste your time or not see the challenge it is." I was just saying the harshness of the answers weren't all that bad. I know the reality of my situation, and the last thing I want is unrealistic optimism ;)

But I hadn't already made up my mind about anything. I just wanted some insight into the connection (or lack thereof) a Mormon might have to a complete stranger musician they know is also Mormon. I'm a full-time cook with a newborn son, and I'm completely happy (and busy) pumping out new tunes that I enjoy, and just having them as pieces of art I'm proud of. Whether or not I perform is a whole other topic. Just looking for thoughts that may give me insight to the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of "tapping into the Mormon audience" (probably online) as a few of my listeners have suggested. 

Edited by SirLogan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, SirLogan said:

I was just responding to what MoronGator said before that:

You might consider a quick edit of your post before someone quotes you!

All love for my MormonGator Brother!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I understand (which isn't much), playing to/catering to/writing songs for a specific audience can be very important in getting a start.  There are different ways to do that, but yeah, the less you're out there working your trade, the less attention you'll get.  Unless you manage to do something that goes viral (which is possible, but nobody seems to know how to go about doing it intentionally).  

Since my daughter was getting into making youtube videos, I decided to make my own, to keep up with her and learn what she was learning.  Figuring out how to do it was sort of easy, finding something to make was a bit harder.  Actually getting anyone to watch the thing was the hardest part.  I managed 100 views after a month of pushing it out to 5-6 different Facebook groups and forums and whatnot.  Didn't get a single subscriber, or even a thumbs up on YouTube, but I did get some likes on Facebook.  I can't imagine trying to actually produce regular content and try to attract subscribers, much less make money.  But if you've got something folks want, you can do it - just takes lots of work and skill.

Is this your channel?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

52 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

Is this your channel?

Heavens no. Haha. But I appreciate the effort! I use a channel my wife started called Loganna Anderson. My name is actually Logan Anderson and Youtube isn't currently my main hub for promotion, though I'd like to try to change that if I could get around the exact issue you just described. I do have many videos up, however, and boy do I feel your pain. 

I funnel most of my content through Facebook, with the goal of pointing people towards Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, or Bandcamp. All while trying to avoid confusion with another Logan Anderson from New Zealand. Ha! 

I appreciate everyone's thoughts so far! Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest MormonGator
7 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

You might consider a quick edit of your post before someone quotes you!

All love for my MormonGator Brother!

Very mutual bro. :-) 

Edited by MormonGator

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If your music is not about Mormon doctrine, I can't see the benefit of advertising yourself or your music as Mormon.

In your place, I'd be advertising  the goodness of the songs, in avenues that appreciate the cleaness and joy of the lyrics.   I'd be promoting it at Christian Rock if that is what it is.

And I'd be granting interviews at LDS Living, and Meridian Mag, and sending free clips to prominent lds bloggers in case they wanted to plug your music.  If you are writing your music, I'd be singing offering to sing anything that was appropriate in firesides or  other venues.

I do not like the idea of trading on your faith in the pursuit of your financial means.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

My older siblings had a record contract with Embryo Records (now Shadow Mountain I think?) back in the 90's. They were popular/recognized for a short time and sold a decent number of CD's and did some concerts around the west, but it never went farther than that. They didn't make money to speak of. I think it was a fun experience for them, though, and if they hadn't had small children to raise they probably would have pursued it further.  Others they performed with were Kenneth Cope, Randy Thorderson, Clive Romney, etc... so it can be done, just not very easily with a young family.

What do you have to lose?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest MormonGator
1 hour ago, thoughts said:

 

And I'd be granting interviews at LDS Living,

OP-If LDS living wants to do an interview with a hip, cool blogger-give them my name, will ya? You scratch my back...;-) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/17/2016 at 6:36 AM, NeedleinA said:

Sounds like you have kind of already made up your mind. Where you hoping to hear more of a positive "Go for it!"? You are having an issue/concern, yet you already seem to know the answer to it: " fan base is growing very slowly because I don't perform. " Why not strap on the boots and go perform then?

Right there it is. 

Like the Colonel used to say to Elvis:  "Evis, boy, git out there'n sing!"

As an aside, how are things in Ashland?  I used to go up there every year for the Shakespeare.  It's sure a nice town.

dc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/12/2016 at 1:19 AM, SirLogan said:

My wife and I have had a fair share of missionary acquaintances over the last 3 years (my wife is investigating). Every new pair of elders or sisters falls in love with my music, and a couple other members have mentioned to me that I should really try and tap into the Mormon audience around the country, that it would be a good way to gain a following as an indie rock / theme music artist. I have two albums distributed online and anybody can access them.

My question: do you think that advertising myself as a Mormon artist would gain favor in the Mormon community and help me build a bigger audience? Or is this idea simply a fantasy? Would people be more likely to listen to my music and follow me because they know I'm Mormon? Or are they so jaded by the enormous amount of musical artists they have to choose from nowadays that it wouldn't even matter?

Part of me says, "Well why don't you try it and find out?" But it's something to look further into before committing. Thanks for your thoughts!

Go for it. altho it will likely act as filter of sorts overall those who have bias against LDS will likely avoid it, those who are biased towards LDS will likely gravitate towards it.
You never know till you do try it tho. If you are desiring missionary experiences then I'd vote for it.

Edited by Blackmarch

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading through all of the posts and the responses, I would offer up this: Do what the successful people do. Prime example is Lindsay Sterling. She is a musician that is wildly successful. This is in part because she is just a little bit different from the pack and she promotes the crap out of herself on every possible front imagineable. She also  just happens to be LDS. She isn't afraid to state that and has on numerous occacions but this is not why she performs and is not the totality of the market she is trying to reach. In the music world, you can't allow yourself to be labeled if you plan to have wide reaching influence. If you go out now with the "Mormon" title, you will forever be that. Besides, I have listened to a lot of LDS artists and little of that content is indie rock. You need to sell your craft like you want it to be purchased and as you have already experienced, it won't fly off the shelves unless you are willing to get out there and PUSH it off the shelves. That is really a good rule for just about anything you want in life. Nothing comes free that is worth having or will last for long.

BTW... I don't play an instrument all that well but I play a MEAN iPod!!! Sounds great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/19/2016 at 9:54 PM, David13 said:

As an aside, how are things in Ashland?  I used to go up there every year for the Shakespeare.  It's sure a nice town.

dc

Ashland is great. I've been here 3 years. My wife and I moved here (having never visited), expecting to stay for 6 months to a year. Ha! It hooked us quick. The festival starts up next week. Things will start perking up a bit.

Thanks to the other recent posts for your insights. The vibe I'm kind of getting is that the whole "Mormon" label may benefit me down the road AFTER I have established a decent following, where the "By the way, he's Mormon" may be the extent to which my religion plays a part.

On 2/19/2016 at 5:41 PM, thoughts said:

If your music is not about Mormon doctrine, I can't see the benefit of advertising yourself or your music as Mormon.

In your place, I'd be advertising  the goodness of the songs, in avenues that appreciate the cleaness and joy of the lyrics.   I'd be promoting it at Christian Rock if that is what it is.

And this is a great point. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now