Updated: Aug 29
Hey everyone - it's Joseph here, welcoming you to our new series on artist branding! In today's saturated marketplace, the image you present for your music is crucial to getting heard. Our new series on branding is here to help, and we're kicking things off with the fundamentals - so... what is artist branding?
Cutting through the music landscape as we now know it
In the last decade alone, the landscape of the music industry has totally changed. For decades since your grandparents were children, people had to buy physical copies of the music they love to listen to it on demand. But now… when was the last time you saw a new car, computer, or home stereo system even coming with a CD player?
In some ways, that's good news for independent artists. The barriers to getting your music “out there” for the world to hear have never been lower. However, that also increases the competition; some sources estimate 60,000 new songs are released on Spotify every single day. Talent alone is no longer enough to guarantee success. And that's where artist branding comes in.
In this article, we'll start to explore the importance of artist branding - and how it’s no longer a desirable bonus, but an essential element of success in your musical journey.
The power of artist branding
When done well, artist branding can be extremely powerful in progressing your career and getting recognised as an interesting artist who takes their work seriously. It separates you from those thousands of musicians in the Spotify crowd and marks you out as a fully-fledged artist.
Google will tell you the concept of a brand, which originated in cattle farming, is an “identifying mark burned on livestock with a branding iron”. So, as soon as someone sees a cow, they immediately know who it belongs to, as opposed to all the others. Now, you certainly aren't cattle - but the principle is the same! Everything you put out to the world as an artist - your music and every other piece of content - should be easily recognisable as yours.
This is a fun process - you can enjoy creating, moulding, and curating a unique identity for yourself as a musician that resonates with your target audience. And it encompasses a wide range of elements: imagery and visuals, personality, values, and storytelling all work together to create a cohesive and memorable identity for your artistry.
How do you go about creating an artist brand?
Your branding approach is completely up to you - it summarises who you are as an artist. That may reflect who you are as a person, or the alter ego/stage persona you want your fans to recognise.
Whatever it is though, it needs to be:
Memorable - with a strong image that sticks in people’s heads
Immediately identifiable - so that people see your new content and know it’s yours
Consistent - across all platforms
Cohesive with your music - complementing your stylistic qualities and characteristics
Tailored to the fans you want to connect with
So… now you know what artist branding is, your homework is to start figuring out what kind of identity you want to sculpt for yourself. Your ideal audience is out there in the world - you just have to find them. And when you do find them, it's not just your music that will win them over, or even get you noticed by them in the first place... your artist branding will show them you're the artist they’ve been waiting for!