Can you describe your music?

Can You Describe Your Music?

If you want to get people excited about your music, you should be able to describe it! You want to do this in a few catchy phrases or sentences that both arouse people’s curiosity and make it clear what your style is to attract people in your niche market.  This will become the basis for your “elevator pitch;” you’ll post it on your website and you’ll use it in conversations to get bookings and reviews, sell your CDs and get fans to come to your shows.  So it’s worth spending a little extra time on it to get it right!

Here are some do’s and don’ts in describing your music:

Do – Aim for a couple of catchy phrases.  Use descriptive words (wild, ethereal, moody), cite specific genres (Country-Goth!), and/or artists for comparison.  (Ella Fitzgerald with a touch of Adele).

Don’t – Use superlatives like wonderful, talented, unique, etc…unless they are quotes from reviewers.  (Jazz-influenced folk-rock singer, who the New York Times calls “a unique talent.”) Coming from you, superlatives are meaningless, and people won’t trust you if you use hype.

Do – Use words that people can understand, not music terms that only other music geeks will relate to.  Wonderful prosody in her songs and great use of melisma. 

Don’t – Be vague.  Avoid phrases like crosses all genres; covers all styles, etc.  (Do you really? Do you rap and sing Brazilian Forró?)

Don’t – Try to be all things to all people.  Be willing to stand out and alienate some groups with your description.  After all, if you’re a jazz crooner you’re not going to appeal to a punk-rock crowd, and vice-versa.  You might as well make that clear at the get-go.

Do – Emphasize anything that’s unique or different about you and/or your band.  Do you tap dance while you sing? Recite poetry? Sing in Mandarin? Play an antique accordion? Write songs about rainbows?

Do – Google artists you think are similar to you and get inspiration from their descriptions.

Do – Get feedback from friends and fans who have heard you, and be creative!

Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby, has written about this extensively.  Scroll down to the bottom of his site for blogs on the subject.  You might also try browsing through the CD Baby site and reading descriptions to get ideas of what to do – or not to do.

Armed with a good description of your music, you’re on your way to creating powerful marketing materials and reaching your potential fans!





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