music brand strategy

“Branding” and “artist image” aren’t new concepts at all. Since the beginning of music artists have been defined by genre and personality attributes. Beethoven’s music and personality can be described as moody, and Liszt was the showy star of the 1800’s. What makes you unique? Especially today, there are so many people out there trying to make it as a musician that you really need to consider why people would buy your album or go to your show instead of someone else’s.

Defining Your Brand Strategy as a Musician

There are two common approaches when it comes to defining a brand strategy. Some musicians like to list every single genre they draw influence from. This just confuses the audience.

You end up with something like “We are a psychedelic reggae metal band. We also look to funk, bluegrass, and classic rock for influence and you can really hear it in our sound.”

What does that even mean? It may make sense to you, but no fan is going to be able to picture what your music sounds like or if they’ll like it or not from that description.

Ultimately, you want to be able to tell people what your music sounds like in just 1 or two sentences. Concise, easy to understand, and intriguing.

On the other end of the spectrum, some artists are afraid to even approach the task of labeling themselves. Either they feel their music cannot be defined in a sentence or they are uncomfortable waving their own flag and would rather just play music.

No brand strategy is just as bad as a confusing one.

Download my most popular ebook, Hack the Music Business, for free and get more indie musician strategies and case studies.

Your Brand Strategy isn’t Just About Genre

You don’t have to confine your brand to just musical style. Your brand is how your present yourself to the world. That includes your genre, your image, how you perform on stage, how you interact with your audience, your passions, and your personality.

In fact, the more personal you can make your brand the better! Weave in elements of your personality, your beliefs, and your attitudes. If you are passionate about something, chances are other people share in that passion. Use it as a connector!

Let’s look at a fairly well known band, Sum 41. Before they made it big, they had a hard time getting a record deal because many labels thought they were just another Blink 182 imitation band. The labels only heard one dimension of the band – their sound. It was their image, personality and attitude that really set them apart and got them the deal in the end. The band took camcorder footage of them goofing around and edited it into an audio-visual EPK. The resulting seven-minute hilarious video showed the labels that they were more than just punk music. They were characters and they were very good at projecting their character through media.

Want to know the other 9 musician mistakes?

  1. You Don’t Have a Plan
  2. You Aren’t Leveraging Copyright
  3. You Skip Time Management
  4. You Don’t Have a Team
  5. You’re Not Out There Networking
  6. You Don’t Focus on a Niche
  7. You Don’t Let Your Fans Market
  8. You Overuse Free Music
  9. You Don’t React to Opportunity


Everyone’s brand strategy is unique, and every musician has a unique journey to discover their brand. In the New Artist Model  online course you’ll go through this process with founder and former CEO of Berkleemusic, Dave Kusek. You’ll take a look at more examples like Sum 41, define your own brand, and learn how to really harness that image to connect with fans.


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