It is tempting to ask; who is the typical New Age music fan? It is impossible to give an accurate answer to this question. But in this article I will try to share my thoughts on the matter and look at some statistics from online radio that might give us a part of the answer.
When creating music it is important to define your audience early on. If you don’t know your audience, how can you market the finished product? The hard part any artist has to face is to make music for future fans. You have to guess that this is actually something he or she will enjoy. Based on the below information artists can actually limit their efforts to certain markets and demographics.
A global genre? New Age music is an international genre, but it is not truly a global genre. It has had little success in South America, Africa, and only limited success in big parts of Asia (except Japan) and Russia. Of course, there are many New Age music fans in these countries too. Enya and Yanni have fans everywhere. But the main market is the US and Europe. A rough estimate is that the US has 60 % of the market, while Europe has 30 % and the rest has 10 %.
Here are some statistics for an average month on my web radio channel New Age Stars. Almost all countries in the world are represented on the list of listeners. A stream is one listening session and TLH is Total Listening Hours. The top countries are:
The minor countries are:
This radio statistic is only an overlook of who is actually listening to this radio channel. Still, it is an indication of where the fans of our genre are – and are not. In order to get high quality statistics we would have to conduct a full scale survey.
The average It is safe to assume that the average New Age music fan is American. What kind of background does this person have? Here I have no data to show for, but after years of talking with New Age music fans I have a feeling that they have:
* Above average income * An interest in meditation and mental health * General positive state of mind (note; this is only my impression after talking with fans for 5 years. Take it for what it is.)
It the typical New Age music fan male or female? Again I have no numbers to back up my conclusions. But it would be safe to assume that the typical buyer of a New Age music album is female. Perhaps it is the “Enya fan cliche”, or the genre’s light mood and positive outlook, that give me this impression. But for any New Age music artist it would be a good idea to create and promote music for a female audience – and, in the process, try not to fall into a “stereotype trap”.
Here I could say a few words about ethnic aspects as well – but I think I’ll pass on that.
Do we have her now, the fan? Ok; so the typical New Age music fan is a American female with above average income, a positive outlook on life and an interest in meditation? Yes. But that is just the average. The world is always more complicated than the most typical of anything.
The good news for any New Age music artist is that our audience is likely to use quite a lot of money on their hobbies. That is why artists who combine music and meditation seminars, workshops ect. tend to be successful.
Other aspects that define the average listener. She:
* Enjoys instrumental music * Enjoys synths/electronic music * Uses music to create a positive atmosphere (enjoys melodic and harmonic music)
And two more “political”/”religious” standpoints (that I absolutely has no statistical data to back up): She (the fan):
* Has a general awareness of environmental issues (very likely) * Is into New Age religion (Less likely, but not unlikely) * Is a liberal (Perhaps)
It is impossible to make music with such an average listener in mind. But artists who focus on target audiences will have a much easier job promoting music. When we look at the top charts, it is obvious that the successful artists have a much better grasp on the above mentioned average listener. Just look at the titles from the recent France/Germany and Austria Itunes New Age music top charts:
I’m not saying that artists should make spa and meditation albums. We got enough of those already. But my point is that hidden behind these titles is an understanding of what product the average listener wants to buy. It is simple business logic; give the customer what she wants.
When we look at the most average of anything we never get the complete picture. In music an artist can get success from something that initially looked impossible to sell to the average music buyer. An example is Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells, as seen in the above top chart among all the meditation albums too. No record company thought it could be sold – and the rest is, as they say, history. But success is hard to predict. It is much easier to go for an established market. In this context that is the above described average fan. The good news is that she seems to be an OK person.
Above picture copyright BigStockPhoto – Domen Colja