As a musician, you might not feel like you have a brand, at least not in the same way that a mega-corporation has a brand. But aside from obvious considerations like logos and mission statements, you certainly do have some kind of image to uphold, and if you want any hope of being successful you’re going to have to market yourself. Of course, this is done mainly through your music, but however you present yourself to the public, including the type of music you play, the way you dress, and how you act, you’re working to build a brand, whether you realize it or not. And being aware of what you’re doing and the impact it has is an important part of turning your pipe dream into an actual career. So here are just a few tips that will help you to build a brand that appeals to people as both music lovers and consumers.

  1. Consider your image. A closet full of shredded jeans and old concert tees does not an image make. While being disaffected is certainly a classic attitude for artists and musicians, you really need to treat your music like the professional undertaking you want it to become. An uncaring attitude may appeal to some audience members, but you need to remember that it’s all an act. If you really don’t care you’ll get nowhere. So think about what, exactly, you want to portray publicly, how your image fits with your music, and how the entire package will get you to your professional goals. This awareness can help you to plan the steps that will lead to a successful career in the music industry.
  2. Establish yourself locally. Everyone has to start somewhere, and entry level positions in the music biz leave you performing at local dives. However, gaining some recognition and following at neighborhood bars could lead to gigs at classier (and better publicized) joints, which could in turn allow you to extend your reach, perhaps even playing in nearby towns or booking road tours. The point of all of this is to expand your target audience and get heard by more people. So don’t hesitate to start where you have to, move up as quickly as possible, and hand out plenty of demos (or free downloads) along the way.
  3. Build a website. You need to create an online portal to interact with your fans, and a website is a great hub for your virtual efforts. You can use it to post songs, tour dates, and extras like pics and videos, but you could also use it to sell tracks, albums, tickets, and swag. Plus, in will serve as an anchor for your other online efforts, such as…
  4. Start a YouTube channel. Some bands are great on tape (so to speak), but even better live. If this describes you to a tee then it’s important to show fans of your musical library what they’re missing out on if they don’t come to your shows. A YouTube channel is a great way to show viewers what you’re made of and potentially go viral.
  5. Social networking. Thanks to the transformation and relaunch of MySpace you can now share a virtual platform with acts like Rihanna and Justin Bieber. You can use different social networking sites in a variety of ways, but since the new MySpace is devoted to connecting fans and musicians, as well as introducing music lovers of every stripe to new sounds, it should definitely be at the top of your list when it comes to building your musical brand.