Thursday, August 3, 2017

This is the hardest to learn as an artist

3) Your Branding and Story Is More Important Than Your Music 

This is a hard pill to swallow for every artist. But the ones who not only accept this reality, but approach it head on are the ones who jump leaps and bounds past their counterparts. People judge you based on your aesthetic, story and image long before they hit play on one of your songs – if they even make it that far. Your branding (which includes your image, your story (!!), and really your overall aesthetic) are what non-musicians (bloggers) talk about. They ain’t talking about your drum tones, syncopated rhythms, plugins or mix techniques.

The red part is from an article in Digital music news, here is a link to the whole article.

I was lecturing one time and was talking about brand your self and of course, some of the artists in the class took that to be a "sellout" or like they said being "commercial". First of all, you are commercial if you try to sell something and I guess you want to get paid for doing your shows and you like the money that comes from the PRO:s and Spotify. So starting to state that if you require money you are commercial, even if it is money you need to pay your bills etc.

When you are commercial then you are a brand. If I go to a Bruce Springsteen concert I would be kind of disappointed if he just played cheesy country songs. If the poster and the commercial around the event told me that it would be only cheesy country songs it's different. If it was market as a normal Bruce concert I would have been really mad.

Why? Well, Bruce brand is that he will play rock songs and including in that should "Dancing in the dark", "Born in the USA" and "Hungry Heart" be on there.

The artist started to understand, then one guy raised his hand and said,
- Do you need to be successful? Are you not allowed to write songs that no one wants to hear?

It was funny, but there is a point in it. I started to see artists that are a bit of afraid to be professional and take the big leap, actually doing songs that are really hard for an audience to get and in that way, they can always blame that people are not smart enough to understand their music. In reality is more a fear of making a great song and then get refused.

This is not actually new. It has been done for the past 30 years to get an artist into media. Right now it becomes more of it though because of the bloggers and small media outlets. The story has to be more clear and kind of straight forward, the band has to be understood in just a couple of seconds.

I also get a lot of artists almost getting angry at bloggers and media not asking about how they recorded or the drum loops and mix techniques. I even have seen them rehearse the smart answers they would tell when they get these questions. A big part of my job is to actually clean out all that mambo jambo from the bios they send in. It's not unusual they write in the names of the person who mixed and master it, and in severe cases, they even name dropped name of equipment. Of course, for a normal reader, it's damn boring to read about. A little light in the tunnel is though there are special magazines where these type of questions are held, it will take you a long journey until you get there.

Look on it today. I actually had heard more about Ed Sheeran in writing and about his personal life before I heard a song from him. The story that took me was when he got all 12 songs on the top chart. Then I had to get into and listen to one of them, and I was like...okay not that blown away. Right now though I have been exposed to "Shape of your body" so many times that I really like it. Still, I have known about Ed Sheeran in over five years.

Everybody has a story just pick the one up and stick to it.

When we have worked with The Magnettes we have applied this quite much. They have a couple of stories that they use depends on the situation. The three biggest are these ones.

Coming from an exotic place! The Magnettes is from Pajala a small village above the arctic circle. On the summer is daylight the whole day. And in the winter just an hour of sunshine. they also have their small minority language. To have grown up there and still have that is their headquarters is a great story and appeal to a lot of people that have been brought up in small villages all over the world.

The music is fuck pop! What the hell is fuck pop? That is the point, the expression was actually invented by Jay Frank head of their record label. People would read it and say - what the hell is fuck pop and listen to the songs. And if you look around you will see that a lot of the press use the term and do spins on it, for example, Metro Uk wrote like this
- In taking a message that once upon a time was more synonymous with alternative and emo bands like My Chemical Romance and placing it in a pop application as anti-heroes of pop music, The Magnettes are doing pretty f*cking well.

Earmilk wrote - Each song on "Ugly Youth" is well thought out and meant for lovers of pop.
Fuck-pop group The Magnettes release "Ugly Youth" album

The fuck pop term works well since the band curses quite much in their songs.

The last one is the feminist approach. This is the broadest so it's not that unique still it opens certain doors. The members in interviews give their view how women of today are portrayed, the song Bones is even about that theme.Look at this picture from a photo session and see the tattoo on the finger.

Like you write your songs about certain things you decide the branding. We get it that you are more complex than just these topics. Still to be complex in a tweet will be almost impossible. And that what the media looks like today, short texts and pictures. But yes you are a brand but you decide what that brand is about.

And here is some fuck pop from Pajala.

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