Hello and welcome to the middle of the work week! It’s kind of crazy to think about how fast time seems to be flying this month, but regardless we are thrilled to learn that you’ve chosen to spend a few of your minutes with us. The column you are about to enjoy was crafted based on the input of multiple journalists and record label professionals, but that does not mean there is no room for expansion. If you know something we missed, or if you feel there is a better way for bands to sell themselves, please comment at the end of this post and share your input.
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Speaking from the perspective of a seasoned music blogger, one of the most frustrating aspects of working with up and coming bands is learning anything worthwhile about the people behind the music. It’s as if artists focus so fervently on crafting the best song they possible can that they give no thought to how they will present themselves and their music once it’s time to launch whatever marketing efforts they have half-heartedly planned. I’m not here to say you should divert any attention from your songwriting, but you do need to make a conscious effort to develop one, two, or even three band bios that can be shared with any label, promoter, blogger, or licensing agent that may stumble across your work. Presentation is key in these matters, and to an extent every artist’s bio should be unique like snowflakes, but today I’m going to share just enough insight to get you started towards bettering the way you present yourself to others online.
Start with the basics:
Before you think about your current efforts and the bands who have influenced your sound, make sure the beginning of your bio tells the reader everything they could possibly need to know about who you are and where you come from. Think of the questions every journalist is told to ask:
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- How do define your sound?
- Who influenced your sound?
- Why should people care – aka – What sets you apart?
Start with this information and be as specific as you can possibly be. If people are still asking the above questions after the first few sentences of your bio then you need to scrap whatever you’re using and start over. Don’t make people hunt for basic information on your band. Everyone’s time is limited.
Be sure to clearly explain your sound, and do not be afraid to draw fitting comparisons.
In 2014, there is not a band on the planet who should be defining their sound as ‘rock.’ Hell, even ‘hard rock’ is far too vague. We live in a digital age where classification is key to organization. Find the proper sub genre for your sound and use it, as well as any reasonable comparisons you’re able to draw, in order to better express what you sound like to those who may have never encountered your music before.
Understanding how to explain your sound in a way anyone can understand is important not just for press, but for promoters as well. Having a clearly defined sound allows people booking shows to better understand who you would pair well with on bills, as well as what kind of audience exists in their area for your sound. Your metal band might not have much of an audience in rural Alabama, but unless you clearly define your sound there is a chance you’ll end up playing an empty VFW hall wondering how you’re going to scrape together enough cash to make it to the next city. Remember: It’s always better to give everyone the things they need to do their job well up front. Don’t make them come to you for information that should be readily available online.
If descriptive writing is not your strong suit, do not be afraid to embrace phrases like “If Band A and Band B had a baby…” If it helps express who you are better than anything else you’ve come up with, use it. Some may scoff, but it’s still better than leaving those you’re pitching in the dark.
Create short and long bios
Afraid you’ve said too much in your bio? That’s okay. Somewhere in the world there are people who will want to know every bit of information you’re willing to share. These people may be writers, label professionals, or diehard fans hoping to get a bit closer to their favorite artist. In these cases, a long bio can do more for you than a short, one-paragraph entry would otherwise because long bios allow for you to fully express what sets you apart from the competition.
That said, it’s important to have a concise bio prepared for EPKs, social networks, and press releases alike. These bios should not be longer than a few sentences, and it should answer all the questions posed earlier in this blog. Keep it simple and to the point, as well as easy to locate. Journalists will want this info to flesh out their news posts, and they do not want to be bothered with sifting through your 500-word bio just to learn what town you call home.
As you evolve, so should your bio
You should write a new bio every single year, if not twice a year. As you grow and develop your bio should follow suit, and that goes double for the long form version. Explain when your various releases came out, as well as what tours you have done, and never shy away from talking about plans you have for the future (as long as you are certain they will actually happen).
The most important thing to remember when crafting your bio is that it will be used as a tool to sell you and your music to anyone with a curiosity about your work. Be professional and concise. Don’t add unnecessary flourishes and do not try to bend the truth. Lies may open a few doors, but they will shut far more once you’re deception is discovered (and it will be discovered). Just be you and you will be fine.