Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
A true audiophile isn’t just someone who likes live music. They are obsessed with hearing music reproduced in the most perfect way possible.
Who are audiophiles?
According to Wikipedia:
An audiophile is a person who is enthusiastic about high-fidelity sound reproduction. A true audiophile seeks to reproduce the sound of a live musical performance, typically in a room with good acoustics. It is widely agreed that reaching this goal is very difficult and that even the best-regarded recording and playback systems rarely, if ever, achieve it.
Audiophiles are often critiqued for liking the sound of music more than the music itself, but that’s unfair. If audiophiles didn’t also love the actual music, they wouldn’t pursue perfect sound quality to the extent that they do.
Why market your music to audiophiles?
I’ve come up with three reasons to market your recorded music to audiophiles. For one thing, they are passionate about music — especially music that takes full advantage of their gear.
It’s always a good idea to target your marketing to fanatics, and audiophiles are definitely fanatical — in a good way! — because audiophiles don’t just listen to music, they obsess over the tiniest details. They train their ears to recognize the subtlest difference in audio equipment and all the nuances within the recordings.
The second reason to target audiophiles is that they, in their quest for audio perfection, love physical media — especially vinyl records. Streaming, with its highly compressed sound, is not something that appeals to audiophiles. This means you’ll be targeting buyers who are likely to spend more money on your music, and that’s always a good use of your marketing dollars.
And the last reason to market to audiophiles may be a bit cynical, but it’s true: Audiophiles tend to have a lot of money. After all, it costs a ton to invest in the top-shelf gear necessary to produce the highest fidelity sounds. They’ll think nothing of dropping several thousands of dollars on systems that include three-way powered speakers, noise-canceling headphones, amplifiers, a premium stereo receiver, 31-band equalizer, and a belt-driven record player with a glass platter and an acrylic plinth. (If you don’t know what half of that means, congrats, you just saved yourself thousands of dollars.)
Can every musician market their music to audiophiles?
It would be great if you had infinite resources so you could market your music to everyone, but the simple fact is: you only have so much money, time, and energy to spend marketing your music, so you’d better spend it wisely.
Having said that, music that perks up the ears of audiophiles has little to do with genre. This list by whathifi.com, offers up the top 50 albums for audiophiles. The range of musical genres is enormous. There’s jazz, classic rock, electronic, fusion, hip-hop, blues, industrial, classical, soul, world music, experimental, metal, reggae, shoegazer, big band, acoustic, alt-rock, and even the seemingly audiophile-unfriendly genres of punk and garage rock.
So the kind of music you play isn’t an issue. What matters more is the quality of your recordings. Is your album self-produced and recorded in your basement using cheap gear? Your music may be amazing, but it’s unlikely to have a special appeal for audiophiles.
If, on the other hand, you are paying as much attention to the sound quality of your recording as you are the performances and songwriting — and willing to pay for the gear and personnel to take your recording to the next level, then yes, you should absolutely market your music to audiophiles.
How does audio mastering and disc duplication impact audiophiles?
Part of ensuring your music sounds as amazing as it possibly can is to hire professional audio mastering engineers. Mastering is the final stage of high-quality audio production, coming on the heels of recording and mixing. Mastering engineers use EQ and compression to optimize your music. To do this, the best mastering engineers use a lot of the same gear as audiophiles do to listen to music.
Engineers will also master your music differently depending on what medium you are producing. For example, a mastering engineer preparing a recording for vinyl will have to deal with bass and sibilant sounds differently than if they are mastering for CD. Not to mention, the playing length of each side needs to be pretty even for side A and B of a vinyl LP, so playing time needs to be balanced. Even the order of your tracks can matter, as vinyl has an inner groove distortion, which affects how the tracks closest to the center label sound.
Once your album is mastered, it’s ready for vinyl and CD replication, and even here, the manufacturing process and quality of the materials can affect your sound quality. If you are making vinyl albums, for example, you want your manufacturer to use direct metal mastering (instead of using a lacquer stamper). This saves a step in the manufacturing process, resulting in a “truer” vinyl product.
And of course, the kind of vinyl used for the actual records affects the sound quality. You want to use a manufacturer that uses 180-gram vinyl for the best, audiophile-friendly sound. (For the record, Disc Makers uses 180-gram vinyl and direct metal mastering when manufacturing its vinyl records.)
Tips for marketing your album to audiophiles
Curious about how to promote your music to audiophiles? If you think your music will appeal to audiophiles, then you want to spend your time and money putting your message where audiophiles will see it. Take out ads in audiophile-centric magazines like Stereophile, Audiophile Magazine, Home Theater Review, The Absolute Sound, Audiophile Review, and more. A quick Google search will give you plenty of leads. But also try to frequent audiophile pages on social media platforms like Reddit.
More than that, if making audiophile-friendly music is important to you, be sure to make that part of your branding. Mention the factors that went into making your recorded music in your EPK, for example.
Have fun, and best of luck in creating the very best sounds!
Philip Kinsher is a writer, editor, and musician with a predilection for YA Sci-fi Fantasy books and rock and roll. And golf and pickleball.