The music industry can be a rough world on your own as a musician. Without a team of branding and marketing specialists getting the word out about you and your, assuming awesome, band, it can be one of the most difficult hurdles to jump. However, below is a step-by-step process of how an independent band can brand and market themselves, including tips on brand vision, audience, assets, and the necessary evil, social media. The music industry has changed dramatically in the past few years, and now more than ever has it become a great time for independent musicians to find success in today’s music industry. Read below to learn how you can give you and you’re a band a chance to stand out from the crowd.
Create A Personal Brand Vision for You Or Your Band
Some of the most successful bands in history have a very distinct image that they have created as their vision. The Beatles with their matching haircuts and Boy Band appearance. The Spice Girls with their multiple yet cohesive personas. Beyoncé with her general awesomeness -- enough said. This vision is the first step to creating your personal brand and should help organize your thoughts. Like the artists above, this brand vision should reflect how you want yourself to be perceived by others, specifically your target audience. Here are some questions to consider for help with this step...
· What are the themes of your work?
· What values are most important to you as an artist?
· What inspires you?
· How would you describe your personal style?
· How do you want your audience to describe your live show?
Connect With Fans
If you’re a people person, this is the fun part. Building a bridge between you and your fans is important for success as an independent artist. This is where social media -- Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. -- come in handy. It allows constant access between you and your fans at all times and free publicity on your upcoming shows, albums, meet and greets, etc. It also allows a chance for you to interact with your fans. In other words, if a fan compliments your track or album or show, thank them!
But also, the old school approach of playing live as often as possible takes the cake. A killer live show is a great way to gain new fans and keep the ones you have happy. It’s all about first impressions with this one, so hit the pavement and busk in cities you have never been to and put yourself out there...
...which brings me to my next point. Many young musicians have been discovered on YouTube -- Justin Bieber, Jasmine Thompson, Shawn Mendes, to name a few -- so if you have a little stage fright or are just starting out, YouTube is a great option to dip your toe in the water. But even if you’re fully submerged in your music career, a popular YouTube channel can be a great -- and cheap -- platform to launch yourself on. All you need is the internet and a camera and you can dazzle everyone with your talent.
Streaming sites is a huge controversy in the music industry today. Some artists have reservations about putting their work on streaming platforms, but it's a huge tool that can help raise your profile and reach new fans. Getting your songs on a playlist with some well-known artists on Spotify or Apple Music is an extremely useful, and free, way to get your music out there. Did I mention it was free?
Connect With Mentors
Consistent learning and growth is one key to success. Mentors are great assets when building your personal brand and are also just great for advice in general for when you need that little extra push. You can learn the tricks of the trade so to speak from someone who has experience in the field. Also, connections are everything in the music industry. It’s a community and you never know what doors may open with a new friend and mentor. Plus, it’s always nice to have a new jam-sesh buddy who gives you advice on music too.
I know, as cheesy as it sounds, it is true. You or your band are unique, so don’t build your brand trying to be the next Beyoncé because, let’s face it, there is only one Queen B. Figure out what your strengths are and what makes your brand particularly unique. That is what will set you apart from the rest.
This has been a guest post written by Charlotte Kohlberg, a recent graduate of Art History from New York University. After working at a publishing company, she realized her affinity for writing when she had to write weekly newsletters on authors and podcasts. She started her journalism career contributing for online media and entertainment source, The Knockturnal. Currently living in New York City, Charlotte enjoys going to concerts and art museums and mixing cocktails for her friends.
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