Music Branding 101

With any marketing initiative, you always start with the WHO’s, WHAT’s and WHERE’s. So if you want to brand yourself online as an ARTIST, MUSICIAN or BAND, you need to start with the following steps.

Whoooo RRRR uuuu? Today the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland would just Google your name… and most likely consider you a no-one if you can’t be found in the first 10 search results. So go ahead and google your name, your artist or band name and see what comes up. Depending on your results you will get a pretty good idea if the “name” your using has a good reputation online or not. No matter what the results are, you need do the following three things:
– Pick a name that is unique but says in the name what you are! Getting too creative with your name will only confuse people in the spelling. Even if you go by one name, make all your social networks have something like musicby______ or _______musiconline.
– Be consistent with the name and open up every social network (under the sun) with that name…don’t forget to edit your current social networks to reflect your “consistent” name.
– Every time you upload a picture of your or your band, always always always name the image file the name of the artist or band. You will be surprised how well Google Images show image results, and they are all based on the image file name.

Ok so your more then just a kick ass player on Rock Band…prove it. Once you have all your social networks up with a consistent definable hot artist/band name and hot perfectly labeled images you need to give your audience the WHAT which is your music. Today there are numerous amounts of online sites that allow you to upload your music and create apps/widgets that you can put on all your social networks. The three top ones are
– Bandcamp Here you have your own web page where you can stream your music, give away free tracks and set up downloads for your fans. You can also sell your music and Bandcamp charges 15% of your sales
– Rootmusic Similar to Bandcamp but they focus completely on making a music page on your Facebook page.
– Soundcloud Again same as above but in this their embeddable music players they also have a feature that allows your fans to comment not only on the song but IN the song, meaning any part of the song someone can say “wow that was great”

You got your name and you got your music online, time to take it to the next level and thats where the WHERE comes in. WHERE is twitter, amazon, pandora and itunes (in order from easy to complicated).
– Twitter. More then just updating everyone on what your eating for breakfast you can use Twitter to distribute your music like a virus. Tweet For A Track helps you send a link out to your fans on Twitter and Facebook which will only allow them to download the song if they send it out on one of their social networks…making it go viral!
– Amazon. Selling on amazon might not sound like your next step but it is before you can even touch pandora. Its gets trickier because you can’t go to them directly but if you are an artist or label currently without digital distribution CDbaby.com and Tunecore.com will get you to Amazon…for a fee of course. They have setup fees, they take a percentage of your sale and charge for UPCs/EANs/JANs, so do your research before picking one.
Pandora with it’s free streaming internet radio that uses an algorithm to make custom stations, is a great place for exposure to over 100 million people. Its free but they are selective and you HAVE TO already be selling on Amazon (read above)
iTunes, the current bible of music and they know it. That is why their requirements are, at least 20 albums in your catalog, UPCs/EANs/JANs for all products you intend to distribute and ISRCs for all tracks you intend to distribute. If this all seems like too much, don’t worry. CDbaby.com and Tunecore.com also helps you get on itunes…but for a fee… ofcourse.

Don’t forget you WHO’s, WHAT’s and WHERE’s. Ten years ago none of the above recommendations were even possible. The internet has leveled the playing field for everyone so take advantage of all these new ways to get your music out their, cuz YOU A ROCKSTAR BABY!