So you’ve put the finishing touches on your tracks, and now you want people beyond your friends and family to hear it. Well, the world first needs to know who you are.
For that to happen, you’ll need to work on your artist brand. Think of this as your artistic persona, a character that you’re designing and then projecting to fans. Even though you may release music under your actual name, this brand is distinct – but not necessarily dissimilar – from your real self. It’s The Weeknd versus Abel Tesfaye, Madonna versus Madonna Louise Ciccone, Sam Smith the musician versus Sam Smith the human being.
With that in mind, here are some essential things to do to help you create a successful brand image.
Style and genre
What does your music sound like? What genre or style are you adopting? If you have trouble identifying this, think of your musical influences and the genres they fall under.
If you consider yourself a more mainstream artist, go with a more general and direct genre, such as country or jazz. However, if your fan base has more obscure tastes, be more specific with subgenres – psychedelic rock might better describe your type of guitar-driven music, while lo-fi hip hop makes for a more accurate tag if you’re in the same hazy realm as Nujabes or Powfu.
Subgenres make a difference in cueing potential fans on what they should expect. For instance, alt-R&B versus R&B. The Weeknd and Mariah Carey have strikingly different target audiences, don’t they?
You can hit Explore on BandLab to check out a kaleidoscope of new music. Channels let you browse through music from different genres, Featured Artists and Creator Connect open up a trove of global creators, and Featured Music highlights noteworthy releases, all handpicked by the BandLab team. Venture into the creative universe and discover the genre that resonates with you.
Once you’ve decided on a genre (or many!), think of the big goals that you want to achieve as a musician. Some want to hit the road on tour, others would rather rack up digital streams. Maybe all you want is for your song to be played in your favorite coffeehouse, and many other coffeehouses – and that’s great, too.
These goals will guide the way you publicise your music as well as narrow down your target audience. For instance, if your objective is performing at a music festival, you’ll need to capture the attention of booking agents. But if you really, really want to hit a million streams on Spotify, you’ll need to pitch your songs to playlists or even try to make it go viral on TikTok.
Create brand elements
Pick a name for your brand/artist persona. You can go by your own name or if you prefer, a moniker. Your brand name should be unique internationally, and it should be easy to write and pronounce. One way to check if a name is unique is to look it up on social media. If it hasn’t been taken yet on the many platforms, you’re good to go.
Be sure to factor in how people will find you and share your music. A name like The The (English post-punk band) might wind up being lost on Google search, while something like Deadmau5 (Canadian DJ) can be confusing to pronounce.
Also, keep in mind that using the same handle across all social media platforms is ideal – it makes your brand that much easier to find. And while special characters do make your brand name unique, it will be hard to incorporate them on websites that don’t allow special characters.
Next, choose a visual style that best encapsulates your brand. This is especially important for anyone who isn’t a soloist, as there’s more than one person representing the group. There are bound to be conflicting styles, so take the time to discuss the kinds of fonts, color palettes, tone and artwork that you want to use.
Visual elements, like a logo, work as memes do – they’re easily shareable and say a lot with very little. Take The Rolling Stones logo for example. It’s, quite simply, a tongue stuck out, but it has become not only a symbol of the band but of rock ’n’ roll. Some groups like The Beatles use a text-based logo (also called a “logotype”). While it may feel more generic, that didn’t stop them from becoming arguably the most famous band in the world.
All these decisions will make it easier for your audience to recognise your brand, and it will also help in creating posters, album art and even gig outfits.
On BandLab, you can add a profile picture, write a description, pick your talents and favorite genres. Spice up your page so that anyone who lands on it can instantly catch a vibe of what you’re all about.
Actively promote your brand
Have a personality – and make it true to yourself and your artist brand. Famous artists are never cookie-cutters. They earned their place in stardom by being unique and making that known to their fans.
Update your social media regularly
Post regularly to your BandLab and other social media feeds so your audience doesn’t forget you exist. How frequently you post is up to you. Us The Duo, for instance, post short covers as little tidbits for their fans almost every day. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez posts updates on her life about once a week. Do what is comfortable for you and what best fits your target audience.
Artists are now publishers in their own right, so you can curate a catalog of content to draw from – and share more than your music. As an example, Lana Del Rey announced the title of her forthcoming 2020 album via Instagram TV.
You could engage your audience with Q&As, fun facts and teasers for what you’re planning for the future. Put memes up, share your favorite tracks or art, or, remember those visual elements mentioned previously? Adapt them into images to post on your socials.
Videos are huge on social media, and you can easily create a short clip with BandLab’s Video Mix feature. It allows you to shoot a video with your phone’s camera while playing back a BandLab project in the background. Use Video Mix to share exclusive content with your fans, such as behind-the-scenes footage of your music production.
Connect with your audience
Interact with your audience as well. Their feedback can help you understand what kind of content works and what doesn’t. G Flip (Australian pop artist) regularly looks at her direct messages, comments, video views and repeat video views as guides to decide what to release next. Try to respond to comments, send direct messages to fans and engage in a conversation so you can ask them what they’d like to see – and hear – more of.
Make your music easily accessible
Lastly, make sure that your music is easy to find. BandLab allows you to export your mixdown for convenient sharing. Upload it onto as many platforms as you can so that the chances of someone stumbling upon your tracks and your BandLab profile are higher. Once you’re trending on BandLab, you won’t look back.
Now get out there and make some music.
Read More: How To Live Stream Music From Home