INDUSTRY TIPS - Your Music as a Brand : The first step to becoming a one-person marketing team for your music
As we navigate our lives during the peak of the pandemic, I believe this is the perfect opportunity to work on ourselves and our careers. As artists, it’s imperative to think of your music as a business, thusly, a brand. You might be wondering how to create profit from passion, and that’s what I’m set out to teach you. This post will be part of an ongoing series on becoming a one-person marketing team as you navigate the early stages of your career.
For many, when developing a brand comes to mind, they immediately think of the visuals. The outfits, the color schemes and so forth. While those are elements to a brand, there is a deeper aspect of developing a brand that needs to be thought out. Seth Godin, a renowned marketer defines a brand as the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. That’s a lot to unpack, and you’re probably thinking Rasha, I’m an artist, not some corporation! Yes, 100%! But allow me to break it down for you so that you can see what I’m getting at here.
Let’s start by dissecting Godin’s definition of a brand. The keywords from his definition include expectations, memories, stories and relationships. Putting these terms within the context of music, think of it this way:
Expectations - What should your fans get out of your music? Think of what you’re offering your fans in exchange for their loyalty.
Memories - Think about the artists that you looked up to. Can you remember an important time in your life that included a song playing in the background?
Stories - This includes your lyrics, the concept of an album or even the story of you becoming an artist.
Relationships - The dynamic between the artist and their fans. Street teams, fan clubs, etc.
All of these factors put together, helps make the decision for someone from starting out as someone discovering your music to becoming a fan. What is it about your music that helped make that decision against the millions of other artists that person could have chosen? This is why developing a brand behind your music is so important.
When I think of an artist that has created an iconic brand, Beyoncé comes up no question. She has built an empire around not just her music, but the principles that she values. She’s the Queen of the Beyhive. She has brands that are an extension of her brand (#BEYGOOD, Ivy Park, Black Parade). Keywords that I would use to describe her brand would include regal, activism, proud, unapologetically black, among others that I could go on and on.
Here’s my assignment to you : get out a notebook and jot down the keywords you want people to associate with your music. Think of those artists that stood out to you growing up, what keywords would you associate with them? Next, reflect on those keywords and build out the definition of your brand. What are the expectations, memories, stories, and relationships do you want people to have with your music?
It’s a lot to consider, I know, but I promise you once you’ve laid out the foundation of your brand, you’ll find that it will be much easier to market yourself and begin growing the fandom you need to propel your career.
Written by Rasha Shaker
With extensive background marketing artists and brands in the entertainment industry Rasha Shaker aims to offer her expertise to those looking to up their marketing game. She will be launching a weekly newsletter that will feature topics such as advertising, marketing strategy, tour marketing, and much more! If you're interested in learning the best ways to market your music head over to Rasha's blog and sign up for the newsletter.
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