It’s football season, especially college football season.  One of the things that makes the games fun for everyone is the ever-present marching band. They keep fans engaged and heighten the game-day experience by mixing it up with music.  

They are colorful, have a blast and play great tunes.  And they fire up the fans for their respective teams.

You may not be a marching band, but you certainly need to ‘toot your own horn’  in this day of crowded playlists.  Did you know there are about about 2 million artists on Spotify, but the top 75k artists generate 95%+ of the streams?  You can eventually be one of those people, with great music.

Sound daunting?  Well, those folks had to start somewhere too and they figured it out. The vast majority of those people are indie artists you’ve never heard of but they’re attracting listeners and fans because of their music.

Figure out what makes you unique 

This is the hardest thing any songwriter or musician has to wrestle with. But the good news is once you have it figured out, it makes everything else so much easier.

Until people are familiar with you and your tunes, you need to be able to give them a reference point. For example “I’m a bluesy songwriter like Gary Clark Jr. with  a bit of swamp rock’n’roll thrown in.  You’ll continually fine tune this as you move forward but you have to figure out which ballpark you’re playing in to be able to talk about your music.

Don’t be Cheesy

There’s nothing worse than cheesy promo, or bragadocchio. We all know those people who go around with an arrogant attitude about how great they are,  telling people their music is the next big thing.  Really? It’s not. The only thing worse is those poor souls who have bought into bad ideas of extreme marketing that makes them look like used car salesmen.  I won’t even go there. 

Just be real, be who you are.  If you’re real and honest, people will get it from the start. Then they’re open to hearing you and your music, instead of making a negative judgement on the front end due to bad messaging. Speaking of which…..

Keep Your Branding and Messaging Consistent

This takes solid thought on the front end.  Even when you’re starting out. No one expects beginners or people with baby careers to have award winning, Billboard cover ready branding.  But since we live in a digital age, you must remember everything lives forever. Be thoughtful and intentional before you upload ANYTHING and NO VIDEOS at this time. 

Come up with a good image and a good description of your music.  You also need a BRIEF bio, a story about who you are, why you are creating music and people should listen.  Big stars pays hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to keep their story and image fresh and in line with the music they are creating.

Obviously most of us can’t afford that.  But we can create a simple message and tell a  compelling story about ourselves that makes us stand out a bit. And no, not some sensational sob story.  Read the bios of some artists and songwriters you admire and pay attention to the details that stand out.  You’ll get it.  Also ask others what they think makes you different and unique.  

Start Simple and Keep Going

Just start somewhere.  You are a story, so write it and ask yourself what you would think if you were hearing it/reading it for the first time. Does it sound honest, are there colorful details about something? What about your music.  Does the description fit the sound and style? Try writing it several different ways to see which one comes across the best.

It takes time, but you will get there.  Chunk it like little kids do.  One paragraph at a time if that makes it easier. Put it aside, read it again and edit it.  Several times.  Keep it to one page.  Then have someone else read it and comment.  Rinse, repeat until you get something you are reasonably happy with.  Don’t worry it will change many times.

You got this kiddo, no worries.