Here are my 7 easy steps to building yourself an authentic brand that represents your music and you as an artist (or band)!
1. Define your musical style and audience
Make sure you're happy with your sound and that it feels authentic. Don't try too hard to sound a certain way or to be commercial, do what comes naturally and feels like your truth. It's also important to understand your audience; these are the people who will be listening to your music and investing in you as a music artist.
Hello and hi and this is going to be a slightly different kind of blog post, but hopefully still useful all the same.
I feel I've got a really good lille setup for making my youtube videos and as a result, I've got stuck into a solid routine of filming and uploading helpful content.
Peek it here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZjnMpfPinZiGwbH9SKghNA?view_as=subscriber
I thought I'd share what I use with you in case anyone is interested. I feel like indie labels who want to up their content and SoMe game without investing LOADS into equipment would really benefit from this. Or music artists who want a step up from using their phone camera ✌🏼 (No disrespect to phone cameras, they've gotten super good! But you know what I mean).
It's FINAL time, whoop! I think this was one of the strongest finals there has been and for the Champions, I suppose that's what you'd expect. Well let's delve right in then, shall we?
When I initially scoured Google for some hints about what was happening to the X Factor this year, I stumbled upon the supposed replacement, which was Britain's Got Talent - The Champions.
I was very very sceptical. I thought it was going to be a 'poundland' re-run full of acts who hadn't quite had the desired success the first time round and now were coming together with no new surprises and mediocre performances.
After the first episode, omg was I wrong. Now, I love BGT and X Factor, I've grown up with Ant & Dec and Simon Cowell, they're like my surrogate parents. However, I don't like everything and anything that appears on these shows; I'm quite particular about the acts and who I think could have a career in the big wide world.
I like to watch and think about what I would have done differently and how I would have gone about implementing it. Plus, the one mistake I think the critics make is to lump it all together as a whole. You can't scour the country and end up with 100% of the acts being this or that. Judge the shows as you will but at least give the individual acts some kinda constructive, well thought out comments.
Enter me. Pahahha.
I'm going to do just that; share my thoughts on the show concept as a whole and each of the finalists individually.
After researching and visiting many indie labels within Copenhagen, I found that most of them don't have an in-house creative! I was surprised but also pleased (mwahaha). The music industry in Denmark is small and most things involve a very small budget but I still think there's a way to get everything one needs, for an affordable price.
Obviously bigger labels (Hi Sony, Warner and Universal) have giganta budgets and most probably specialist people for each aspect of the creative process, but they also use outside agencies for videos and the like. I think this is kinda sad. I know if it was MY label and MY artists, I'd want to know that whoever was making their videos was completely invested in them; knew them inside out, knew their audience, knew their hardcore fans and what they like/ don't like.
I think something really special can come from one person (or team) working with an artist continually (not always on every single thing but you get the idea). Assisting in their initial development and branding, helping to shape their social media following and coming up with kick ass concepts for their photo shoots and videos.
I had a think about everything I'd like to be involved in with an artist and/or label and so I decided to compile this handy list of 12 reasons why every label (big or small) needs an in-house creative.
I had an absolute blast working on this one! For this I did it all; concept development, styling, location scouting, shooting and editing. It was great to be able to get stuck right in.
Whether you're signed to an indie label or completely solo, it's always helpful to have a good grasp on your social media strategy. Building an online audience is crucial these days, for businesses, freelancers, bands and anyone who's success relies on having a brand of some kind.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of downsides to the social media world but the positive points do raise a pretty good argument. It allows you to connect with people all over the world (duh), communicate with your audience, see what your people want; what they like, what they wish you would stop doing and most importantly it allows them to get to know you and in turn, listen to your music/ buy your product.
First of all, a little disclaimer, I love X Factor. Sorry not sorry to everyone who hates it but I LOVE the fact that anyone, anywhere can apply and has the chance to get to the live shows. I think it provides a fabulous opportunity for people from small towns with no music industry contacts and is a great platform for artists who are at the start of their career to get some publicity.
However, there are some substantial changes that I've love to make to the show.
I've been working on an Artist Branding document recently; one that I can send out to labels to see if any of their artists are interested in having my help, yay!
SO. It sparked the idea for this blog post and I thought it might be fun to explain the process I go through when an artist or band comes to me and wants help or direction with their visual identity.
FOR THE LABEL AS A BUSINESS
Ok, let's start with the actual label. It's as important to have a consistent aesthetic throughout your online presence and marketing materials as it is for a business. There can be some more creative freedom here and if a festival poster and a press release are needed, for example, obviously these will differ greatly in terms of style but there should be some kind of consistency, even if it's a font, colour and/or logo.
This is firstly for the label's presence; in order to attract ambitious and promising artists, labels need to appear professional and understand each aspect of what makes an artist successful; one of those being branding and visuals.
Secondly, you want to be easily found. A simple (yet beautiful and easy to navigate) website is a must, along with at the very least a facebook page and instagram account. Social media should have maximum effort put in; this is your free marketing tool!
My tips for using social media would be:
- upload content regularly: once a day on Insta stories, 2 or 3 times a week on Facebook and Instagram
- showcase your artists and their achievements or latest releases
- share some behind the scenes sneak peeks
- share introductions to your team so future artists and fans can get to know you
- share things that relate to your values (environmental, ethical etc)
- share your achievements/statistics/successes as a label
- post content at optimum times
- use suitable hashtags to maximize reach
The good thing with social media is that having a catalogue of artists means ready made content - it just needs to be constantly shared with the world!
Similarly to businesses, having a brand visual and online presence builds trust and lets the customer/audience know what they're getting and what you have to offer.
It allows them to get to know the artists, your team and this creates memories and builds loyalty. It's a constant reminder that you're here and so are your artists.
Documenting everything and sharing it can be time consuming but social media is the audience's window into all the amazing stuff you're doing and it's such a crucial marketing tool in this day and age.
a couple of months ago, myself and some fellow creative friends decided to take on a little monthly challenge.
we pick a prompt and then all draw something based on said prompt, in our own style. the idea was that it would be fun, keep us creative and it could encourage other creatives to get on board and come join us.
for me, it's a chance to practice my illustration as well; I see myself as a creative director/graphic designer so it's always good to be out your comfort zone and to improve the skills you're slightly less confident with.
we use predominantly instagram to share our shenanigans, but they're also spread about on facebook and twitter. if you'd like to come join us, then head on over to insta and follow the hashtag #wedrawmoretogether.
so far we've had CACTUS:
For transparency I don't have Danish TV so I sat for many hours scouring all the performances on YouTube which I think is actually a good thing because it means I know none of the judges comments or what the public opinion was for each act.
I also noted some main differences between X Factor DK and UK, you lucky potatoes:
1. Denmark XF uses a live band! As far as I know UK have backing tracks which is never as magical.
2. The Danish budget is LOW compared to UK, which is kinda obvious but it really slaps you in the face when you see the contestants getting the bus home after rehearsals.
3. There is no judges houses in DK. Sad face.
4. Denmark has ABSOLUTELY NO CENSORED SWEARING. Anything goes, even for kids.
5. The DK winner doesn't win a record deal but a tour of the shopping malls.
Right, on to the meaty stuff; I've only covered Kristian, Live and Echo because those are most likely to have a future career as an artist, in my humble yet kinda professional opinion. I've linked each performance so you can go check them out for yourselves.
Right, first of all, this is (kinda) my opinion and also focuses on commercial pop artists so don't @ me!
I have been fascinated with this topic for a LONG time and had many arguments/discussions with various musician friends about it. I've heard the standard points; 'X factor is shit', 'go to watch local bands who are GOOD', 'people who write their own songs are BETTER'.
In reality, I think these points are completely subjective and very generalised.
To me, there are five factors that make an artist successful:
4. musical ability
if you haven't yet seen, some branding packages have arrived and settled themselves nicely onto my home page.
they're super cute and are here to help you give your new business a dashing new brand identity!
after gaining some clients last year and zooming straight ahead into this creative freelance business, this month I decided to take some time to write me a thorough business plan, set myself some goals and decide what sort of projects I want to take on, going forward.
one of my main 3 goals (the other two are hushed for now) was to start a sustainable apparel brand. I wanted to have some kinda webshop from the offset, but for a while I was unsure of what direction I wanted to take it in.
so, Kind Maple was born.
Kind Maple is ever so kind.
I needed a new creative challenge for this little blog and one cold oktober evening, a brain wave struck. I could brand one music artist as another and vice versa...
my OBVIOUS choices were Melanie Martinez and London Grammar - I love them both equally but boy are they different.
I've been using Pinterest a lot lately, for researching and working on creative concepts. I've always had a minimalism board for all things 'less' and beautiful and I wanted to create a very little series of minimalism pieces, because yanno, I can do what I want.
as much as I love taking on challenges and creating stuff in all different styles, my own style seems to be forming (in regards to illustration more than anything else) so I decided to rebrand Zebrahead in my own style.
it's very different to their current style, which was kinda the point I suppose haaa.
and here are the results!
it was only a matter of time before this one surfaced, amiright?
for me, movie posters are one of the most predictable and easy to recognise forms of advertising media (whether that's a good or bad thing I'll leave it up to you to decide), so i figured it's about time I took on a new challenge and mixed it all up a bit.
what is this?
see posts from