The museum test for artists: How to get fans to stop at your art
You're walking through a bright hallway at an art museum. There are hundreds of paintings hung on spotlit white walls. As you walk by, something catches your attention. You stop and take a look to analyze this colorful piece of art. You stare at it and study it. You spend signicantly longer with this painting than many of the other paintings that you just passed by with nothing more than a glance. Then you continue on your journey through the museum until another painting grabs your attention in the same way.
This is the museum test. What about this painting grabbed your attention? What made you stop and spend more time with it?
Your music is the same. When someone is listening to streaming radio, it is like they are walking down that hallway. After each song that comes on, they're either going to stick with it or press the skip button before the 2 second mark. Just like the painting in the museum that grabs our attention, you want people to stop and stay at your piece of art.
So what are some things to focus on with your songs that will get someone to check it out without hitting skip?
1. A grabbing intro
A gripping painting is going to get someone's attention right when they walk by it. There are of course beautiful paintings that may not be so enticing at first glance, but the ones that stand out will get those first time viewers.
If someone's never heard your song before and it suddenly pops into the rotation for them, you'll need a great, grabbing intro that pulls them in. Pay attention to songs that seem to just keep you tuned in from the very first note.
In the museum, someone might pass by a painting that seems familiar to them either because they've seen it before, it's by an artist they like, or it looks like something by an artist they like.
People react the same to music. If it's a song they've heard before, they recognize it's by an artist they like, or it sounds like an artist they like, they are more likely to keep listening to the song. Get your music out there to as many people as possible and pay attention to artists that are similar to you.
Art is emotional. A painting that touches someone right at their heart is going to definitely grab them in. The fact that someone can create a piece of art that meaningfully touches someone's emotions who the artist has never met is one of the most intriguing characteristics of art.
Your music works the same way. If your songs are meaningful and emotional to you, chances are they will resonate with someone else who can identify.