What Your Band’s Bio Needs to Include
Every musician, whether new or old, just starting out or running the business, needs a bio. It’s an integral part of how to promote your music and should be part of every music marketing plan. Aside from the music itself, it’s the thing that tells people who you are, where you came from, what you’ve done, and where you want to go. A fantastic bio should be well-written, succinct and to the point, and contain almost everything that a person might want to know about you and your career. Keep in mind that while it might seem like nothing more than a simple blurb, this is a piece of work that will be shared left and right, and how good it is and what it contains (or fails to include) may get or lose you paying work at some point.
Fitting everything into a bio in a manner which still keeps the document readable and flowing is incredibly difficult, but there are ways to make it work. Whether it’s you, your Manager, your Publicist, or someone else putting pen to paper (figuratively, of course), make sure the following pieces of information are included in whatever you share with the world.
Members Names And Roles
This may seem like the simplest and most obvious piece of information to include, and it is! Just because something is simple, that doesn’t mean it isn’t still important and valuable, though. The most helpful way to show the reader who is who and what they do in the group is by captioning a photo with the names, what instrument they play, and perhaps most crucially, their position in the photo. It’s extremely annoying to both musicians and writers when someone is labeled incorrectly in a photo posted on a write-up, as it then requires a correction, and that’s always a pain.
This might seem like another fairly simple addition, and it is…but it can be easy to ignore. Throwing in the hometown of both the band and each individual member can be a great, easy way to form an instantaneous connection with Bloggers from that region. It costs nothing, takes up essentially no space, and while you never know if anything will come of it, you should include where your bandmates are from. It is subtle, but reminding everyone where you originate from is a fantastic way to immediately connect with people who also call that place home. Any opportunity that can help you become slightly more endearing to a person in power in the music industry should be seized, and this one requires nothing but a sentence.
When And How You Started
Most bands have a fun story about how everyone met and how and why they started creating music together. It’s great to have one, and at this point, it’s basically a necessity of being in a band, right alongside struggling to make ends meet and, you know, actually making music. Share just a piece of that tale in your bio, but don’t give it all away. Telling the person reading the how, when, and why is helpful, as your history helps put into context everything you’ve done since then. Having said that, you’ll want to save funny tidbits or particularly interesting details for later, because you want to have something extra to give people when you meet them, or when you’re doing interviews. Regurgitating your bio or a press release is never ideal, but it’s almost just as bad when a band has nothing fun or exciting to say beyond what someone was given ahead of time.
Feel free to again use this as an opportunity to compare your music with that of someone who has been hugely successful. “If Ed Sheeran had a more upbeat brother” or “OutKast, but even weirder” are fun examples, and they instantly get the point across in just a few words.
What You’ve Done
It’s a good idea to show how much music you’ve created and properly released in some way, be it through quick descriptions or a list, if that’s necessary. Showing your back catalog is easy if you only have an album or two, but it becomes a little less interesting if you’re moving on to album nine reading-wise, so keep that in mind when you’re writing. There’s nothing wrong with a bulleted tally at the end of your bio with the simplest of details: name of release, date it dropped, and so on. Don’t describe every piece of music you’ve ever written and shared with the world, but also don’t leave people in the dark about how prolific you are!
That term is fairly vague, and that’s on purpose. Numbers don’t have to be massive to be important, they just have to be, well, important. It’s up to you and your team to decide which figures to showcase in your bio, but be smart when choosing. Has your first album sold 10,000 copies? Did you hit one million clicks on YouTube with a particularly fun to watch music video? Maybe your streaming figures are increasing by 100% every year (which would be in line with the industry’s growth pattern, keep in mind). All of these numbers catch the eye and will help bolster your profile as a successful musician (or at least make you seem like one). Figures like these are perfect for bios, as long as they are significant.
Tours And Big Shows
Everybody making music and everybody writing about music these days knows that touring and playing live is where the real money’s at and that this part of the business is more important than ever. It would be extremely tedious to discuss or even list every show you’ve ever been a part of, but since playing live is such an enormous part of what you do, you should highlight some of the bigger moments of your career that have taken place on a stage. Perhaps you’ve sold out a well-known venue in your hometown, or maybe you were on the bill for a successful fundraiser. If you’ve opened for any bands that have widespread appeal, that’s the first thing you should lead with, as attaching your name to theirs is a proven method of impressing someone else.
Regurgitating your bio or a press release is never ideal, but it’s almost just as bad when a band has nothing fun or exciting to say beyond what someone was given ahead of time.
What People Say
Comparisons And Descriptions
Many artists hate describing their music, and comparing their work to that of others is particularly onerous for some. While it’s understandable why someone who works incredibly hard at their art wouldn’t want to immediately lump it in with someone else’s intensely personal creations, failing to do so can only hurt you in the end. People, especially those reading your bio, such as Booking Managers and Music Journalists, are very busy, and they get inundated with information from bands and artists every day. Including just a line or two of description about your music—“heartbreaking acoustic folk” or “unabashedly in-your-face Atlanta classic hip-hop” are just fine—immediately prepares the person reading for what they’re about to hear. If they don’t work in your genre, it tells them to move on, and you’ve saved their time. That won’t be lost on many important figures, but they’ll take note if they’re forced to stream something and then it ends up having been all for naught. That’s no way how to get your songs heard.
Also, feel free to again use this as an opportunity to compare your music with that of someone who has been hugely successful. “If Ed Sheeran had a more upbeat brother” or “OutKast, but even weirder” are fun examples, and they instantly get the point across in just a few words.
Just as with “important numbers,” this is somewhat purposefully vague. What one musician might consider a huge accomplishment, another might not really care about. What you end up including is up to you and what you think will be met with interest. Accomplishments can start small, such as selling out a venue or tour, and grow right along with your career. If you’ve managed to win any kind of award, placed an album on any notable charts (Billboard, Hypebot, Spotify trending, etc.), or maybe you and your bandmates were named Artist of the Day by a publication, don’t leave that out! All of these things should make you proud, and including them is a great idea.
Anybody can say great things about themselves and their own work, but when someone else puts their stamp of approval on a piece of music, especially if that someone else writes for a well-known blog or is a fellow musician in a band with fans of their own, that endorsement becomes incredibly valuable. If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have many reviews of any kind, but if you can rustle something up, it’s a great idea to insert a quote or two. Make sure you don’t copy and paste an entire blog post and do attach the name of the reviewer or outlet name, as it will show who stands behind you.
Keep It Current
Your biography should be a document that can be sent out at any time, and most of the information won’t change. The band only formed once, and past tours and releases aren’t going to be altered, but the focus of your bio should. You’ll want to update the slant and what’s highlighted when entering a new era of your career. If you’re gearing up to release a new album, there should obviously be more information provided about that, rather than older pieces of work. Include names and successes of singles, a bit about the writing and recording, and even talk of what’s coming up next, such as a tour around the new record. Your bio still needs to have plenty of backstory but it’s a living document, and it should change with time.
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