Making Your Brand Bigger Than Music

Music And Branding: From Creative Artist to Creative Business

If you are trying to get involved in the music game, having a good understanding of your options would be an excellent start. Many people end up thinking, “I’ll just record some music, do some shows and sell some music and that’s it!”

That sounds like a good start, but it isn’t. It’s far from where you need to be headed. Record labels are not just waiting for demos to pop into their office. The competition has become overwhelming in a market saturated with the lust for fame. The first thing you should determine is if you are looking to do this as a music hobbyist or professional career. In the world of entertainment, there are two different platforms that have various sub-levels. These primary categories fall into Corporations and Independent.

Once you have decided you want a professional career in the music business, it’s time to understand the business the corporations want and business needed in the Independent world.

There are many artists that don’t understand that being an artist alone isn’t going to cut it. You can’t be a one-trick pony, not these days. In today’s music business everything comes down to branding, and you have to brand yourself as a business owner. When labels are looking for artists to work with or even sign, many factors come into play outside the music. In this new digital age, record execs have the tools to be social scientists. When an artist is being reviewed they are under a microscope with their social media activity, analytics, video views, celebrity interaction, music feature collaborations, independent sales and much more. Record execs can look from their home computer at graphs, charts, and numbers that give them a forecast projection of your future sales before signing you. If the numbers lean in their favor they may find you worthy to work with. At the end of the day is this the only way you would want your music viewed?

Most artists do not make much money on their music this way, hence there are major disadvantages of some 360 deals. When the music is picked apart and analyzed like in a science lab for its mathematical influence on people, the labels’ main concern becomes what it can earn from artist profits and royalties.

So if you were to decide to follow the itch of music and move towards the Independent route, the power of business would still need to be devised.

The road has become very competitive and a lot more work is involved. Everyone has to go down this road to start out, but the key is if you want to remain independent or go with a corporation. This decision is what influences the direction of your career. No matter what you want to work on yourself and have the powerful effect of branding. This is true whether you stay independent or you sign with a major label. When you familiarize your brand with people they will become more receptive to your product.

What do you have to brand? Musicians: it’s important to look at yourself as a business. Why?

Because becoming a music artist is a costly investment. Once you are able to finance yourself it’s easier to get capital from other sources. Music artists want to focus on their creativity which is understandable but creating a business first is how you will invest in your career. Find a job or a hustle that you can use to help build your business financially. Being an independent artist requires many hats to be worn that a major label has access to provide.

Independent musicians have the ability to set their own rules and to collect a majority of their royalty as well. What I have seen create success for many artists (independent and industry) is having a business to brand for themselves.

Creating something that offers a service or product to people is a good way to develop supporters and an additional income to support your career. Having a business that supports your brand as a music artist is important when becoming a successful independent artist. Your representation as a business for music and a business that you are separately branding should roll together.

To be a professional independent artist everything you do needs to look professional. This is how you brand your name and business. Keeping a consistent professional look at everything you do. Your company and your artistry need to be thoroughly put together, emulating a great presence.

Your music, logos, clothing, website, and photos all need to be professional.

I hear many music artists describe music as their life, but will use lackluster photos or the worst graphics and sounds to portray their music. If music is your life and I think you take your life seriously, would you go to an unlicensed surgeon or doctor for medical treatment? If it’s “your life” you need to treat your music with the same concern you would put on your life. Musicians need to understand the importance of emulating the look of a professional music artist along with a professional business. Musicians have no excuse to not create great sounding material with the amount of equipment that is readily available on the market.

If manifesting the capital is the problem then use your business or save until you can finance projects and get it done correctly. Half-assing any piece of work just shows that you do not find value in doing it correctly. Save yourself the time and money by getting things done properly the first time. Invest in yourself and your brand and you will see new doors open for you. In a world over-flowed by entertainment and so many doing the same thing, what do you have that separates you from the rest? It’s about being more than an artist but developing yourself as an icon. I hope this has given some insight for many of you looking for direction. Start planning not just your music, but your business. How you will affect people and gain their support is important.


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