“Selling Out” — The Importance of an Artist’s Brand

So I was reading some stuff on the internet today, and I came across the topic of “selling out.” And by selling out, I don’t mean packing a theater with fans to the point that it becomes a fire hazard — because that’s awesome. I am talking about the attitude a fan expresses towards an artist/band that has done something to propel them into the “mainstream” or “pop” music realms.

“Aw man, I used to like ________ until they totally sold out last month! Lame!”

Being in a band myself, this statement always gets me thinking.

When fans say this, they believe that the artist/band did something contradictory to their musical values in order to make some cash. For example, making music more simplistic & accessible to a broader audience in order to sell more records.

However, how can these “fans,” many of which do not get the opportunity to meet the artist/band in question, possibly know what their musical values are? Well, they don’t.

An artist/band considered to be “sell-outs” is living proof of poor band branding. This quote from Pilot Marketing Strategy says it all:

“If your band doesn’t define its brand, your audience will define it for you…and probably get it wrong.”

As an artist/band, you need to make sure you convey your core beliefs to your fans. And by core beliefs, I mean WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU STAND FOR. If you or your band doesn’t have answers to these questions, you should definitely sit down one day and figure them out.

It’s simple, just come to agreement on what kind of music you play, what kind of venues you’d like to play at, and what are your musical priorities. After answering these questions, you’re well on your way to establishing a brand for yourself/your band.

There are no right answers to these questions, just make sure they encompass your core beliefs. And stick to those beliefs. If you do, people will understand you, and will not have to make assumptions.

_chris

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