Personal Branding In The Music Industry
Personal Branding in the Music Industry means a lot of different things to different people, but one thing’s for sure, your Brand is THE most important thing besides the work that you do/create.
If you’re an Artist or Music Producer, YOU are your brand.
Your branding is what sets you apart from the millions of other people doing the exact same thing as you.
Personal branding is the effort to communicate and present your value to the world.
Your brand is an emotional connection and encompasses everything from visual artwork to the topics you choose to discuss. It is an impression that people gain from you based on the information and content available online.
It is ideal that your brand/branding is consistent across all of your social platforms. You can achieve this by ensuring that when you update a Spotify banner, that you also update the banner across all of your socials with the same artwork/image.
In pre-internet days, your personal brand would be your business card, it was something you proudly handed out whilst networking.
Now it’s a combination of all of your social media profiles and whatever content is available that someone can find when they google your name, so it’s important to keep it updated and relevant!
So how do you brand yourself like the legend you are?
Identify your unique point of difference (everyone has one!)
If you’re unsure of what yours might be, find 5-10 people you know or who you’ve worked with in the past and ask them to list something unique or interesting about you, it could literally be anything!
The key is to identify something small and build on it. Your point of difference will be something that your fans can only experience with you, and it could be anything from a distinct sound, a particular fashion style, your hairstyle or your persona, etc.
To bio or no bio?
Usually, a compelling biography is at the top of the list. This is something that will also be in your EPK (Electronic Press Kit) and used to market yourself to labels, agents, venues, etc. However, I’ve noticed a trend over the past few years that more and more artists are choosing to leave out a bio on most social platforms, including Spotify, and from my point of view, it tends to evoke two different emotions from me.
My first emotion is frustration as I’m on the artist’s Spotify, and I’m unable to find any information, which means I will need to jump on google and do some searching. My second emotion is that I feel compelled to find out more about this artist, so I end up clicking through to their socials.
So from my point of view, I think it can work in your favor to not include a bio on some social platforms to (hopefully) spark curiosity in the listener and direct them off Spotify and to another platform to find out more about you.
What’s your image? How do you look?
Your image is not only the way you look and dress but the way you present yourself in interviews and the way you engage with fans.
Are you warm and talkative? Or are you distant and mysterious?
Your persona gives off a certain image or perception, and there are many artists who have perfected their persona/image and even gone as far as to create an alter ego!
The artists that come to mind for having created their own “Alter Ego’s” are: David Bowie/Ziggy Stardust, Eminem/Slim Shady, Beyoncé/Sasha Fierce.
Then there are plenty of artists who are just insanely unique all around, such as Björk and FKA Twigs.
If you’re feeling uninspired, just google some of these artists and do a little bit of research and see if anything triggers some creative ideas for yourself. Remember that you are unique, even if you don’t think so. You may need to “step outside” and look at yourself from the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. What impression would they get? What impression do you want them to have? And you can build from there.
Logos & Fonts
Never underestimate the power of a professionally designed logo or font by a Graphic Designer.
Time and time again, people release music with poor artwork and wonder why people seem uninterested in taking a listen. Unless you were told by word of mouth to read a particular book or read a great review, most people will judge a book by its cover (artwork) so make it your priority to give your music the artwork it deserves in order to give it the shot it deserves to grab people’s attention.
This was a very costly mistake I’ve made many times over as I wanted full creative control of my work. Now I look back at all my inconsistent and messy artwork covers and cringe. If I could start over, I would remove them all and replace them, but unfortunately, once they’re uploaded to a distributor and distributed to stores, it’s near impossible to change your artwork. This is why branding is SO important.
Is it too late to rebrand if I’ve already established my branding?
If you’ve already established your brand and feel like rebranding, it’s definitely not too late, and it’s a great idea to update your branding to something more aligned with who you are now.
As we progress through our stages in life and in our music careers, it’s easy to outgrow your brand, come to realizations, or to become transformed in some way, and so you would want your image to reflect how you’re feeling today and not four years ago.
Rebranding is not as difficult as it might seem.
Here are some suggestions to make the transition to your new brand easier:
Create a mood board, budget, + make a plan
Pinterest is my go-to to create Mood Boards to communicate my ideas to my Graphic Designer. It’s much easier than trying to explain in words or to send screenshots of images via email. I simply create a board, pin some ideas and then send the link to my board to whoever needs to see it.
Once I’ve created a Mood Board, I work out what budget I have to work with. This is very important as photoshoots, and graphic design work can be super expensive, and it’s not always easy to find good quality work for cheap prices. You can always trade services and reach out to people in groups and see what people have to offer, you can always ask friends to help out, and a lot of the time, you can use a tripod and take your own photos if you’re on a really tight budget.
Once you have established your budget, it’s much easier to make a plan.
Write down what needs to be updated, for example: FB page, Spotify, Shazam, Twitter, and Soundcloud need a new updated banner and profile image. I will also need at least four new images to share across socials over then next couple of months (1 image upload per week)
Then you will write down possible shoot locations and what type of clothing you’ll want to wear for the shoot. Will you need a Make-Up artist or stylist?
Using your Pinterest Mood Board for ideas, making a plan should be fun and easy!
Once you have your new images, it’s time to contact a graphic designer for your new logo/fonts to suit your new images, usually you will email your images to them, and they will play with different fonts and logos over your image.
Once you’ve done your photoshoots and you have your banners ready to go from your graphic designer, you should start to update all of your banners and profile images across your socials.
A good graphic designer will present to you a folder of deliverables which will include different banner sizes for each social platform, so it’s important that you communicate to your graphic designer beforehand exactly which social platforms you need banners for.
Once you’ve updated your banners and profile pictures, you can then upload your first image, you can accompany your image with a quote or story about your new brand, or you can choose to not make such a big deal of it and simply post images and await the response from your fans.
I hope these tips will help you discover your brand and communicate it to the world!
About the Author
Noella Nix is a Music Producer, Songwriter & Artist from Australia. She teaches Sound Production, Music Business & Social Media Marketing at University and has written 4 Music Industry eBooks. Connect on Instagram
Audio Business, Social Media