The music industry has been transformed into a multimedia and branding business where the music, the videos and artists are the drivers. You are in the business of “YOU”. You are a brand and how you manage your brand is important. Strategic branding plus positioning equals increased sales and greater market share! In terms of branding, you must articulate the following: Whom you are? What you Do? And What is your distinct Identity?
What is Your Brand?
Brand identity is the coalescence of your music, your image, your style, your videos, your social networks, your merchandise and your movement. Your brand involves your vision and your philosophy. Your brand is what sets you apart. It is what your company stands for and what it is known for. Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. If you can not define your brand, then your potential fans will not be able to either. In the music biz, do not let anyone try to mold you into something that you are not. Your fans must either want to be you or believe you. Be original.
Nowadays it is no longer just about selling CD’s; It is about brand development and providing “Content” and conveying the mission of your movement. It is important that aspiring artists and producers become avid CONTENT PROVIDERS. The content should be a direct representation of their brand and should include music videos, remixes, video logs, interviews,behind the scene footage, live performance videos, photos, etc.
The first step in developing a solid brand is to determine what type of artist you are. You should be able to describe your sound, style and mode in just a few sentences. It’s critical that you be able to explain and convey the meaning and truth behind your music.
For instance, when 50 cent emerged on the scene, his philosophy was “Get Rich Or Die Trying.” That ideology was embedded within his hardcore, relentless, “take no prisoners” gangster image. Everything permeated his “Get Rich Or Die Trying” mindset such as his attire, his music, his videos, his merchandise and his movement. Likewise, your brand should reflect the philosophy and essence of your world and your journey. Everything has to flow and make sense across the board. There should be no confusion as to what you stand for.
Your Image is Crucial
Additionally, in the music biz, IMAGE is very important. Your image is a crucial component of your brand. It should be reflective of your music. For example, if you are a R&B/pop singer, then it would make no sense for you to dress and act like a hardcore rapper. This would be confusing to your fanbase. You must be consistent with your presentation.
Create a powerful image by being unique. Being edgy will always create momentum and make you stand out from the rest! Sometimes, it helps to have a symbol or signature moniker whereby people can remember you. As an illustration, 5 years ago all I had to do is show a picture of blinked out walking stick, and you will know right away that I was referring to Don Jazzy. All I would have to do is show a picture of a sequined white glove, and you will know right away that I was referring to Michael Jackson.
As well, make sure that your image is top notch. Your photos, gear, and presentation must be able to compete on the level of major artists or producers in the marketplace. You need to get professional, high resolution photos completed, before embarking on a public relations/media campaign. Find a good photographer. Photos taken of you in the bathroom mirror with your IPhone will not cut it. Artists and producers should get new photos completed every quarter for branding and marketing purposes. Professional graphics and art work representing your brand are key to a successful presentation.
Your Music Video
According to Quayshaun Carter, CEO of Que Records/EMI “You need to deliver a conceptualization of whom you are and what you are, and there must be a visual component that defines that concept.” Now more than ever a visual presentation is important for the growth and survival of a business and for the development of a music artist.
Making a music video depicting you standing in front of a rented luxury car, holding a bottle of champagne with 20 video vixens behind you in a club scene, is becoming cliché’ and played out. Recently, I saw a music video for a R&B/Rap love song by an unsigned artist, and it had dudes mean mugging the camera holding Pitbulls. It just did not make sense! Your music video should be imaginative and creative; it should capture the essence of your song.
A major extension of your brand is your website. Make sure your website is alluring, attractive and easy to navigate. The website should feature a professional well written biography that tells your story. The bio should be intriguing and exciting. Additionally, the website should feature your music, videos, show information, merchandise, online store, widgets, fan club, etc. More importantly, there should be an integration of your social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on your website. Ideally, your stage name, domain name and social media name should be the same across the board. That is effective branding.
By the same token, it is important to build trust in your brand. You have to be consistent and reliable. For instance, Coke Cola has built a trustworthy brand. Their consumers trust that Coke Cola will deliver positive results each and every time. Similarly, you have to be dedicated to your fans and listen to their feedback. The goal is to expand your brand by building loyal customers. Build your buzz and make your brand the talk of industry circles.
Thanks for joining us! Next week we talk about “How to make money as an upcoming artist!”
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