Reach your hand into your Backpack (Step 2) and pull out your Map (Step 3). It’s massive. At this moment it contains the entire music industry, and we need to narrow it down to where your Music World's people live. Your audience, your "Target Market", waits for you to spend time with them somewhere. Find this place, and then can you can "decide your route" to get there. We like this Map metaphor.
"Deciding your Route" on your Map is a concept that should give you solace because most people have no direction on their route: they randomly guess at their music career strategies, waiting for a vague, amorphous “break” in their music career. That really messes with most peoples’ heads. It’s Expectation Management at its worst because not setting clear, attainable expectations immediately sets you up to be disappointed; we're saying that you need to keep dreaming big, but reverse-engineer that dream and break it down into achievable steps, not vague ones.
So instead of throwing darts with a blindfold on, you’re going to build a strategy that gives you direction, and peace of mind through trusting The Mountain's process. Step 3 is where you'll start to gather the info you'll need to later create the usually-elusive, data-driven pitches for some Lift opportunities in PR, Playlisting, and Sync (and if your Definition of Success includes it, the holy grail of signing with Publishers & Labels & similar industry-connected partners). You're getting closer to Step 4 and 5 where all of this is explained in detail - hang tight!
Three more important things before we begin:
∆ There is a chance you’re going to end up wanting to live in Step 4 (Doing the Thing) and if so, then you’ll only need a minimal amount of Step 3 (probably Landscapes mostly, with very little Analysis Tools) as compared to those who pursue Step 5's data-heavy industry competition. Keep this in mind as you read, while remembering that we’re going to make data fun and accessible, so it can't hurt to dabble in it for the sake of understanding our industry at the very least, even if you don't want to dive in completely.
∆ You’re going to come back to Step 3 many, many times as you learn more along the way. This isn't a one-and-done Step. Complete your first run of it now, and prepare to return as you & the world change.
∆ Step 3 is not chronological, it’s decision-making based on data balanced with your personal preferences & vision. You’ll use 2 Analysis Tools (Target Market Analysis & Sim-to Analysis) to determine where your music belongs within 3 Landscapes (Industry [Competitive Arena], Digital Landscape [Internet], Physical Landscape [Earth]). Unlike Step 2, it’s not chronological, you’ll jump around these 5 components as you uncover more data and personal realizations.
Here are the 5 components, and we're going to emphasize what we just said because it's so important: you will jump around between them because they inform each other, and you’ll return here many times across your career.
CLick the following HEADINGS TO OPEN/CLOSE the SECTIONS:
Now that you're done, know that these two Analysis Tools were included in The Mountain out of a wide array of possible business analysis tools, because we believe them to be the most helpful ones, in a Critical Few way. Less is more.
What's the whole point here? You're mining for gold nugget takeaways (like that list at the beginning of this Step) that will tell you more about your Target Market (like common interests, demographics), and inform your decision-making while climbing in Steps 4 & 5. It will also help you more clearly define your Music World. For example, if these Analysis Tools helped you realize that your Target Market watches a significant amount of TV shows and movies, then you'll be better off spending more hours in a day on pursuing Sync Licensing placements than posting on social media. On the flip side, if your market is heavy into social media, then you should budget more of your time on that. The list of potential takeaways is endless - make Step 3 actionable & helpful for you, not simply a check off the todo list. This is not a hustle culture game of ego and bragging rights - no one will see this kind of behind-the-scenes work you do. Don't worry about completing it perfectly. We know this isn't easy - mentally or sometimes emotionally - so try not to take it too seriously. Have fun if you can, we promise it's possible. If these tools ever frustrate you, come back another day. Sift for the pieces that serve you, leaving behind what doesn't apply to your Music World.
Then when you're ready, start to climb in Step 4.