Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken the time here on the Muze blog to discuss effective ways to get your music (and your story) in front of the masses. We coached you up on the components that should go into your Electronic Press Kit (EPK). Then, we covered what to do with it next – that is, how to identify the right opportunities for your music, and best practices for using your EPK to pitch your art to tastemakers.
With all of that said, there is an important part of this whole process that deserves a deeper dive – and it’s making sure that you have your story straight.
Indeed, any independent musician – any “singer-songwriter from Anywhere, USA” – can put together an EPK and send it out to media, talent buyers, and other music industry tastemakers. However, it takes a truly unique individual to stand out and endear themselves among the pack. It takes a compelling story – dare we say, a personal brand – that connects you to your potential audience.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- The two harsh, yet simple truths that artists must accept to stand out.
- How to define your artist brand beyond the music.
- Why an artist’s beliefs and values are an important piece of the branding puzzle.
- The reason many artists hold themselves back from developing a brand.
Two Harsh, Yet Simple Truths
As you look to develop your artist brand, the first step is coming to terms with a couple of certainties that may not seem obvious at first, but which hold a lot of artists back from reaching their true potential.
- Being a good musician is not enough.
Don’t get us wrong: we love musicians who can bring it onstage and in the studio. Muze so happens to be full of them, and you can start meeting them as soon as you sign up. However, the fact remains that talented musicians are everywhere.
They’re in every corner of your city. They’re in every corner of other cities, as well. All told, there are probably millions of people on Earth who, if they truly applied themselves, could make a run at making a decent living from their musical talents.
So, what’s going to set you apart? Well…
- You have to make people care.
Again, there are a lot of people making music out there, and the vast majority of them are active on social media. There’s a lot of noise out there – however, you have a real opportunity to stand out by putting the work in, and using the platforms at your disposal to let people know how you and your artistry stands out among the pack. But how?
So, What’s Your Artist Brand?
A lot of artists I’ve encountered over the years – especially those starting out – have taken exception to the notion that “your band is your brand.” To many, that very sentence sends chills up their spines, as it sounds like a recipe for “selling out.”
It doesn’t have to be. In fact, it shouldn’t be. That’s because your artist brand should remain authentic to who you are.
Your brand is you, amplified.
Of course, that stretches beyond your influences and the music you like to make. There’s a whole human being behind those notes, chords, and lyrics. Not only should the human element be celebrated in your art, but it’s kind of the whole reason art exists in the first place. And, as a bonus, showing your humanity through art is what will ultimately create true connection between you, your fans, and even your fellow artists.
(Not to mention, maintaining a level of transparency about this stuff will do wonders for finding the right personality fit in your collaborators, which will make the connections you find here on Muze that much more beneficial.)
Use Your Values To Shape Your Art
Technology has made it so we are living in an age of increasing transparency. Artists have more opportunity than ever – and some would argue, responsibility – to communicate their truths to the world. That includes life experiences, as well as the beliefs and values that inform who we are.
If you’re not sure where to begin, don’t worry. We have some journal prompts that will help you determine how to best communicate your truth through your artistry. Get out your pen and paper and answer these questions. We’ll be here when you get back!
- What message(s) do you want to spread to the world?
- How does your life experience inform your beliefs, values, and overall message?
- What types of people would connect best with your message?
- How can you use your art as a vehicle to communicate your message?
What Holds Artists Back From Developing An Authentic Personal Brand?
The answer is simple: many artists – and people in general – choose to hide certain parts of who they are out of fear.
Fear of judgment. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of criticism from those close to us. Fear of criticism from people on the internet. Fear is the number one thing that holds great, talented, fully capable people back from achieving great things, in business and in life.
These fears operate in direct conflict with not only our wildest dreams, but our ability to have an impact. The best way to leave a mark on the world – and, in your case as musicians, to build a true artist-audience connection – is to show up as our whole selves.
Will your art be for everybody? No, and neither will your message. Your vulnerability will absolutely burn a few bridges along the way, and that’s just a part of the human experience.
However, our fears of burning those bridges – which lead to inauthentic connections – get in the way of all of the bridges that sharing our truths can help us build. Without a doubt, there are people out there who share similar values, beliefs, and experiences, who would love the opportunity to connect with an artist and human being just like you. Open them – and yourself – up to the possibility of lasting connection by showing up as you are.
(And once again, some of those people may be right here on Muze. Now that you’re feeling empowered, why not sign up, fill out your profile, and see who connects?)