What is my Image?

To have a music career means more than just making good music. Fans want more than just songs. They want a figure that is the human representation of the songs that mean so much to them. You need to be the whole package to attract listeners, who want to undergo a genuine, authentic, and all-encompassing music experience.

An artist’s image is comprised of their public behavior, performance style, musical style, social media activity, dressing style, public statements, etc. As an entertainer, you are living under constant inspection from fans and potential fans. Thus, in the public sphere, it is important that you live under the guidelines you dictate as integral parts of your image. That’s why it’s necessary for your image to accurately represent yourself, or at least a prominent facet of yourself. To be genuine and comfortable in your artist persona, you must walk the fine line of being yourself and being a consistent and accurate representation of the music you create.

Your image should have roots in your personality and character. You must be authentic. Fans will be able to tell fake from genuine. If you have the choice between being yourself and assuming a larger-than-life persona that does not accurately represent you, always choose to be yourself. Defining your image does not mean deviating from who you are. It means identifying powerful aspects of your music and self and portraying these aspects to fans who want to see your music brought to life. Your look, style, and mannerisms will be associated with your music–this is inevitable. The image that you develop will reflect how you want your music to be portrayed.

Your image should reflect your sound. You should be the living, breathing, walking representation of your music, the complete encapsulation of your lyrics. What you show to the world should be indicative of your music. Your image and behavior should parallel your target market and your vision as an artist.

Your image should reflect where you are in your career and in your life.

Your image as an artist will define people’s perception of you. If you think about the world’s most beloved and popular artists, you’ll realize that you can easily identify their image, which evolves with their careers. Taylor Swift is America’s sweetheart, who is associated with relationships and breakups, but who has also evolved into a feminist icon. With time, as her music evolved with her own personality, her image also evolved to reflect that.

Your image is your brand. Your brand must be properly marketed to the right audience. Having an organized, well thought out image makes it easier to market your brand which means it makes it easier to market your music to potential fans. Understanding and performing in accordance with your image is the key to approaching marketing with intentionality and purpose.

Certain names will always come to mind when we say teenage superstar, hippie peace-loving crew, diva queen, or rebellious, controversial rocker. Every region and musical era are known for producing artists of certain images, as well. However, If we look carefully at the people we associate with these labels, we’ll notice that their images are not set in stone. They can identify with the labels, but the intricacies of their character and personality are what draw fans to their personas and their music.

There is a misconception that having an image is putting up a front or being unauthentic, but the truth is that fans need to see a consistent picture that parallels the music that they so admire. When deciding on your image, remember not to think in terms of block characters, but to think in terms of yourself, your music, your passion, and your vision. What person do you want your fans to associate your music with? Be that person while still being yourself. This is one of the most challenging and important aspects of creating your music career and presence, but once you figure it out, it will be the key to whether or not you experience industry success.

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How To Get A Record Deal

If you’re considering a record deal, you are dedicated to your music career. This is not a hobby or a side job, but your life’s passion. You find yourself spending every hour practicing until you develop the perfect sound structure and chord progression. You hit the right notes. You find the missing lyric. If you’re at this point, you’re ready to start finding the best labels and managers.

When preparing to physically or digitally send your music to an A&R representative, it’s very important to understand that if you send your music to a major label or a major independent label, then it will compete against tens if not hundreds of thousands of artists that are at the same stage as you.

In order to ensure the best reception from an A&R team, consider preparing a press kit of bios and links to your social media accounts. This kit is a necessary supplement to your music submission that gives your music some context and background while revealing to A&R reps what your music doesn’t show.

Social media:

A strong presence on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube accounts, etc. is essential. A&R reps want to see that you’re raising awareness and creating interest among fans. They also want to gauge your organic following on social media. How interactive and supportive are your followers? More importantly, how interactive are YOU with your followers? Being as socially interactive as possible with your followers will not guarantee you precedence over other artists, but it proves you’re aware of digital trends and that you’re willing to dedicate time and energy into creating and developing a digital footprint. A&R reps want to see that you’ve made the commitment to connect and expand your fanbase.

Biographies:

Include individual bios and a bio of the band/group, if applicable. Bios should be very current and should contain quotes from newspaper articles that have mentioned you, links to music reviews, etc. A&R representatives want to know the important details about you. Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your sound? When did your group form? Have you had record deals in the past? Do you have an agent? A manager? A publicist? Are you currently on tour? Have you ever been on tour? Do you generate many downloads or streams? Have you won or been nominated for any serious awards?  Have you opened for any major musicians? Have you been quoted or discussed in any publications? A&R reps want to know this. They don’t, however, want to know how you formed or what your motivation to write and perform music is. Keep it simple; the passion will show in your music. Include a recent, high quality photo that reflects your/your group’s image. Do not be disheartened if you don’t have the answers to some of these questions, especially regarding newspaper articles or music reviews. People of many varying degrees of experience will be submitting their music. Everyone has to start somewhere.

MUSIC–THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE SUBMISSION:

Different labels expect different types of music submissions. Some labels require SoundCloud submissions or links, others want email submissions through the inclusion of a digital mp3 attachment, and others want a physical CD. The important thing to remember, whether your music submission is streamable, an mp3 file or a physical CD, is that the recording quality of the music is not the most essential aspect. Of course, the music must be audible and be of as good quality as possible. You want to give the the label the best representation of your sound. However, A&R representatives will understand if you don’t have a professionally produced album. They expect to hear a rough cut or a good representation of what the final product could be, not the necessarily the final track. It’s called a demo for a reason. With that being said, continuity is important. All of the songs you submit should be of similar recording quality, unless the label specifically asks for a different version.

Different labels ask for different numbers of songs. Some ask for your entire repertoire. Some ask for two or three songs. Either way, it’s important that these are your BEST songs and that you’re not just sending them to bulk up your submission. Quality takes precedence over quantity and you need to ensure that every second of your submitted songs serve as the best possible representation of your potential.

Most artists just submit music and a few sentences describing themselves. However, consolidating all of the information discussed above, characteristics frequently forgotten or ignored, makes the A&R rep’s job easier and gives them more time to focus on reviewing your profile and music rather than searching around for your personal details.

Backtrack takes all your information and consolidates it into one comprehensive digital platform. Your profile becomes an evolving submission and representation of you. The service allows you to add and remove songs, constantly update your status and biography, and document your progress in achieving your career goals. Backtrack bundles this information into a concise, accessible format for the label you’re interested in submitting your music to. In essence, the service is one fluid submission platform as labels can discover you even without a formal submission on your end. With Backtrack you have access to labels and managers of all different styles and visions that could best represent you throughout the world. Submitting your music to labels and managers has never been easier. Simply send them a message on our service and your profile is highlighted on their page, allowing for increased efficiency in terms of reviewing the profiles of unsigned artists. Our goal is to provide new opportunities for serious artists looking for the perfect label and manager. Discover and organize your future on Backtrack, where the music industry has never been as accessible and full of new possibility.

Visit Backtrack at http://www.btrackmusic.com