The music industry is packed with content and exploring musical branding is a fun way to see how this creative industry makes use of content and its various forms.
In the music industry there are bands and solo artists that span a wide range of genres creating content that appeals to different audiences. Often these audiences overlap creating a mishmash community of fans and music enthusiasts.
These audiences are absorbing musical content in a variety of forms such as videos, lyrics, visuals, and merchandise. This post looks at content rather than the music itself but the two are definitely interdependent of one another. Let’s take a look!
1. Music videos and their speculations
What would a song be without a music video?
These days it’s hard to imagine a song not having a music video.
Often these videos can be incredibly expensive to create but audiences love to consume them and even analyse them to the extent that even you begin questioning what you saw.
Take Panic! At The Disco for example, their music video “Hey Look Ma, I Made It” has over sixty thousand views with thirty five thousand comments. Many of these comments are analyses about the music video and what it could mean.
The puppet represents more than just being a puppet of the record company; I think it’s about people’s delusion around the entire music industry and what it means to be famous. Brendon is a puppet before he even leaves home, because he’s leaving with the intention of becoming famous so by then he’s already given up part of himself. Signing the contract, partying, drugs: it’s all part of chasing that fame high. Notice when normal Brendon smacks puppet out of the slump, puppet immediately returns to the important stuff: the music. At the end, the audience is still all puppets because they’re still being played by industry expectations of popularity. But Brendon is real. And the manager tosses out the puppet because it’s easy to trash a hollow fame chaser dependent on company promo—but a full autonomous musician like Brendon the human is much harder to throw out.The top-rated comment on the video written by MiseryStory from YouTube.
The fact that the above comment speaks about Brendon Urie himself shows how videos can form part of an artist’s brand and what they communicate to their audience. This further demonstrates the high level of engagement fans have with an artist’s music and, in particular, their video content.
2. Memorable, quotable lyrics
Lyrics. Every single person has at least one song that they identify with and relate to. Even if it’s just one line that they think about from time to time.
Fans quote them in artworks, post them on social media and even articulate them in everyday life if such an occasion should arise.
Bob Dylan even won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016 due to his lyrics. Say what you want about his music, that’s a pretty good indication of the impact lyrics have. They’re a short form of literature and a punchy way to tell a story.
Lyrics form part of a musical brand as artists position themselves as a specific kind of storyteller. Lizzo is another artist who has lyrics that resonate with a crowd of young people that tell stories of independence, empowerment and positivity.
Honestly, who hasn’t felt like a bad bitch?
3. Thematic visuals easy on the eye
Often an artist will have a theme that surrounds their album. This theme is then incorporated into their social media content. This could be in the form of press photographs and the above mentioned music videos.
Taylor Swift is the perfect example of an artist that has visual range as each of her albums have had a different theme.
From the shade thrown in Reputation…
…to the more serene style of Lover.
She and her team create incredible content that her fans engage with and enjoy. Swift has turned herself into an example of a strong personal (and of course musical) brand.
Eye catching visuals with a distinctive aesthetic is the ideal type of content to consume in today’s world of short attention spans and over saturation of media content.
4. Merchandise AKA take-home memorabilia
Merchandise is my favourite. Who doesn’t like a musically branded hoodie to keep them warm on cool days and stifling hot on warmer days?
Every artist capitalises on merchandise as fans are always keen to have something tangible from their favourite artists. There’s tour merchandise, there’s new album merchandise, there’s old album merchandise, there’s overall quite a lot of merchandise.
An example of such merchandise would be Fall Out Boy’s From Under The Cork Tree 15 year anniversary drop.
With merchandise, artists have active fans wearing their brand. It’s an effective way for musicians, as a brand, to generate brand awareness among their fans’ friends, family and simply wearing the merchandise in public. Another form of advertising in a more…organic sense.
The music industry is huge with what feels like unlimited pieces of content being shared daily by a wide range of different artists.
I’ve touched on 4 of the different types of content that form part of an artist’s branding and the large impact that these types of content have on their fans. It’s important for musicians to know their audience and in turn the kind of content that would resonate with them and gather engagement.
I’d love to know if you have any other forms of content that you can add to my list.
Feature Image: Pixabay