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<title>Aim for the edges. </title>
<p>
An amazing shift has happened in the last 10 years, as an artist.
</p><p>
<strong>You now have a better chance of being successful by being remarkably unusual</strong>, than by being normal and mainstream.
</p><p>
Songwriters constantly search for that universal theme, aiming to write the next “Yesterday” that will resonate with millions of people for decades to come.
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But what good is the next “Yesterday” if nobody hears it because your music is too normal?
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(See my article called “<a href="http://sivers.org/well-rounded">Well-Rounded Doesn't Cut</a>”.)
</p><p>
You already know we're moving to a niche-driven culture, probably permanently. In 1948, Milton Berle's TV show had 80% of all viewers, because it was one of only three choices! When the Beatles played on Ed Sullivan, they had 60% of all viewers. The biggest American Idol episode gets 30% now. There won't be another Michael Jackson Thriller or Fleetwood Mac Rumours.
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With unlimited options online, music fans don't wait for mainstream media to tell them what to do - they explore, click, follow links, and can immediately listen to absolutely anything they've heard people talk about. Because of this, tastes are more spread-out than ever.
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Your goal should be to <strong>attract and excite the people who have headed to the edges</strong>. They're the ones who are looking for something new, and more likely to rave about it if you impress them.
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<strong>I think of this like an archery range metaphor:</strong>
</p><p>
In the old music business (before 1997) it felt like hit-single-or-nothing. The only way you could be successful was to hit a tiny 1-inch target on the other side of a field. If you missed by an inch, you get nothing.
<br /><img src="http://sivers.org/images/archer-hard.jpg" width="350" height="250" alt="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davepearson/537677681/" />
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Now it's like the target is huge, and you can aim for the edges, and hit something pretty easily - BUT - there's a catch : someone cut out the middle.
<br /><img src="http://sivers.org/images/archer-easy.jpg" width="350" height="250" alt="http://www.flickr.com/photos/davepearson/537677681/" />
</p><p>
If you're still aiming for the middle of the target, there's nothing there. They're all out exploring niches.
</p><p>
Aim for the edges.
</p>