Without doubt, the biggest challenge any new band or artist faces is getting their music heard. So it’s important you give yourself the very best chance of cutting through. Sadly, just having great music is not enough. Bands frequently spend months writing and recording new material and then rush it out before considering the importance of presentation or brand.
You might not think of yourself as a brand, but the moment you put yourself or your music online you are projecting an image and people will start forming opinions about what this image represents.
No band wants to be perceived as unprofessional or amateur. So the next time you upload an out of focus photo to Facebook, write a blog littered with typos, upload a ‘mobile phone’ filmed video to YouTube, or a home-recorded track to SoundCloud, take a moment to think what this says about you.
So how do you ensure your brand is doing you justice? If you have never considered your brand before, start by ‘Googling’ your band name and visiting your online pages like a fan. Critically review what you see, considering:
- What is the forward slash address?
- What is the first image you see?
- What is the first thing you read?
- When was the last update?
- Write words that describe what you see.
- How do these words compare to the words you want people to think?
- Then ask friends to do the same, asking for honest feedback!
You are aiming for a consistent look and feel across all of your online profiles and pages. This is often very easy to fix and could just mean customizing your URL, updating information, or adding new photos. With a consistent brand identity in place, next consider how you can continue to communicate this consistency across the basic assets you need to support your next release.
1. Recorded music - Ensure the quality is sufficiently high to have a chance of radio airplay.
2. Press pictures – Do you have a high quality image or images to support this release? Will people want to publish this image? Do these images communicate your style and support the sound of your music?
3. Artwork – Do you have high quality artwork to accompany your single, EP or album? If people judge the music by the cover, what will they conclude?
4. Biography or Press Release – What is the story of this release? Why should people be interested? Who produced or mixed the track? Do you have any quotes from music journalists or DJs supporting the track? Avoid hyperbole – sadly, apart from your mum, nobody is likely to really believe you are greatest band in the world!
5. Video – Do you have a HD quality music video to support your release? It doesn’t have to cost a fortune or be professionally made, but it does have to look great. So be creative! Ensure you add tags to help people find it and provide links to your key online sites and profiles.
Finally, before you send or share your music with anyone including managers, labels, agents, publishers of fans…run one final sense check. What do you want to happen when people hear or watch your music? Is this piece of content capable of delivering?
- Would it make you feel compelled to write a positive review or provide an enthusiastic quote?
- Would you want this video clip on your profile or website?
- Would you be sufficiently intrigued and interested by the biog or design to listen to this artist?
- Would you recommend this artist to your friends?
If the answer is no to any of these questions, you still have work to do and you shouldn’t be sending your music to anyone just yet. Remember you may only get one chance to impress, so take some time to get your brand exactly right.
Mark Knight runs Right Chord Music (RCM), a music management and consultancy business that works with unsigned bands and independent artists. Alongside a new music blog, RCM offers a range of resources to help independent artists; including music marketing seminars, one to one sessions and best practice guides. RCM aims to bring the discipline of brand marketing to music marketing, helping artists promote their music in a more effective way.