If you want to make a career out of your music, you should learn more about musician branding to market yourself effectively.
And in order to market yourself well, you should treat your band as a brand. I know some artists turn red reading my first two sentences- for them, music should be from the heart and people should love their music for itself. And that it’s art and shouldn’t be sold like Avon products or vacuum cleaners. That’s fine and I completely understand their sentiments but selling your music doesn’t make it less of an art. It’s simply a must if you want a bigger audience. It’s simply a must if you want to keep doing what you’re doing. Unless, of course, you’re born with a silver spoon and you can make music while your daddy pays for everything.
Certainly, branding and promoting your band is not like selling Avon products or vacuum cleaners. Here is a list of things a band should have if you want to brand your band and make a career out of your craft.
A remarkable Logo
This is the first requirement if you’re planning to promote your band. You need this for your website, social sites, merchandise, for your stage during gigs…everything! You may start promoting yourself without it but it’s a big plus if you already have a logo. It separates you from the newbies and people will have an impression that you are a big fish. Learn what makes a logo remarkable.
Your website layout should reflect your music and your personality as a band and, more importantly, it should help build your brand online. Try to be unique and remarkable with the fonts, copy, icons, and the overall look. Try to challenge the stereotypes of your genre without leaving it.
KISS, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson- These guys are aware that they should use their bodies to promote their music. You cannot just wear whatever you want if you want to be known for your fashion but you do not have to be over the top like Lady Gaga either. A simple accessory like a big hat can make a big difference. Read why creating a fashion statement is good for your career.
Cool Band Photos
All bands that aspire to become big need conceptual band photos for posters, merch, website, social networks, press kits, and a lot more. This is as important as the logo- you need this in order to start any kind of promotion. Let’s try the most basic- Facebook. Have you ever seen a Facebook page without any band photos?
Creative CD Packaging
If you’re planning to release an album soon, then you better start thinking about the CD packaging because it’s a big factor when it comes to musician branding. Your CD will likely be displayed in record stores, in your website, in online stores so your packaging better be impressive. You do not have to spend big bucks to have a catchy CD packaging because there are so many ways to make a catchy CD packaging that cost little money.
If you want to go one step higher and if you think you have fans who are willing to spend, then release a limited edition vinyl. This will make your band look more handsome. Besides, you don’t have to be so scared of your sales because more people are now buying vinyl records.
Give your fans cool stuff that do not cost a lot during your gigs. Some bands give their fans cards and giveaways during the holidays. Here are some unique band giveaways to inspire you.
The best way to captivate your audience, aside from your music, is thru stories. Tell them stuff about your day and your opinions about the latest issues. Show your human side and not just the “music machine” side. It will make them like you more. Make sure you know how to blog effectively to maximize your blog’s marketing potential and not turn off fans.
Your music video should have personality if you want to create a brand. Try to aim for viral success by getting extra creative. Do not just make music videos that are forgettable. There are millions of ways to make your video unique so explore. Read this article if you wanna know what makes a music video share-worthy.
Graphic Tees and Merch
If your logo is not yet that popular, go for really cool-looking graphic shirts then just put your name and a small logo somewhere. Make sure your designs match your personality and make sure they’re the kinds that your fans would love to have. Same goes with your merch and stickers.
What other musician branding tips can you add to this list?
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.