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Music is awesome, right?

I know it might sound a bit dumb, but in the end it’s the reason we’re all doing this — whether this involves writing, producing, distributing, marketing or simply enjoying. We’re here for the music, but there’s another aspect to this discussion that in our opinion often gets overlooked — the artistry.

In this era of saturated markets, diluted streaming income and social media — being something bigger than your latest release is more important than ever before. That’s why we see artists like Billie Eilish stay relevant without pumping out singles every week, or Frank Ocean who retained and grew his fanbase despite years of absence between his first major project channel ORANGE (2012) and the follow-up Blonde (2016).

People don’t just listen to these artists because their music is that good, but because they’re conveying something bigger than just a catchy melody and clever lyrics — they’re selling an identity of what you (as in the listener) are. So how can you convey something bigger than just music?

It starts with a simple question: Why are you an artist?

There’s a difference between music creator and artist. While a music creator or songwriter only focuses on the creation of the music, the artist wants their creative vision to be involved in all aspects of the creation, release & marketing of the music. Think of it like this:

  • Music Creator — A person creating music, like a farmer creating milk or a designer creating clothing. You’re making and selling music as your product, simple as that.
  • Artist — The brand of the music, like Arla distributing and selling milk or a Louie Vuitton distributing and selling clothing, you’re not just selling the music — you’re selling a vision, a story, an identity. The music is just the vessel in which you convey this vision. The true value of your creativity lies in the vision, the story & identity — not just the music.

So what we’re asking here is:

  • Why do you want to be an Artist instead of just a Music Creator
  • What vision, identity & story are you trying to convey?

In what ways are you similar and not similar to other artists?

Nobody is completely unique, here we’re looking for both which artists you might be compared to, and in what ways you differ from them. Usually best explained as “I’m like ARTIST but not / without ADJECTIVE” or “I’m like ARTIST if they did/didn’t do THING/GENRE” For instance:

  • I’m like Kanye West but without rapping.
  • I’m like Katy Perry if she did punk rock.

Brand Identity, Archetype & Potential Actions

This is the boring part, where we take everything and boil and boil it down into a few factors. We’ve found the best way to structure these otherwise highly abstract ideas into more concrete guidelines by creating a Brand Identity as well as a Brand Archetype. You can read more about Brand Identity here, and more about Brand Archetypes here.

When that’s all done, write down potential actions you end up deciding you should do — such as take new press photos, or shoot music videos for all your releases, create a Tik-Tok, create an Instagram Strategy etc. These ideas always appear when diving into the brand, so make sure to write them down and follow up with yourself to make sure you actually do them.


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