The importance of developing a standout brand in the music business
Promoted by Tunedly: The music production and publishing company’s co-founder offers some helpful tips for musicians to develop their brand
Mylène Besançon is more than just the co-founder of the music production and publishing company, Tunedly. The French-born, now North American resident, is also a marketing practitioner who has used her skills to help boost the image of her company, as well as individuals. There is no doubt that she knows a thing or two about branding and has shared her knowledge on the topic with readers for agencies such as Thrive Global and Symphonic Distribution.
In this interview, she explains her role as a brand mentor and answers questions relating to the importance of branding to musicians. Here goes…
As a brand mentor, what’s your role like in helping your company and people around you with their branding efforts?
“My role is to improve the brand image, first and foremost. The overall idea is to help the brand image represent well the company, its culture, values, and offerings to our audience. At its core, branding is supposed to give life and soul to your company. For artists, the goal is to ensure that the brand represents well, to listeners, the individual’s personality or persona, their creativity, style, and potential. The artist’s brand, at least for some, is simply the story of a group of people heading in a particular direction and inviting you along. Or, in the case of some songwriters, a story of his or her overall journey as a music creator.
“I offer my skills in a number of ways. It can be assisting with updates on pertinent touchpoints to maintain relevance and boost profitability, or to be in consonance with new developments, or readjusting the brand image if the overall goal shifts…to reach additional demographics, for example. It is definitely an interesting, dynamic and passionate field to be in, in my opinion. Things change every day, and sometimes calling up other experts becomes vital as new trends come on stream.”
How important would you say it is for songwriters and other music creators to develop a strong personal brand?
“Extremely important. The music business is quite crowded and highly competitive. A strong personal brand will help you stand out among your peers, help your audience to have an understanding of your creative work and what you are trying to achieve, and also makes it easier for your songs to get noticed.
“Your personal brand tells the world how to perceive you and what to expect. At the same time, one has to understand that it is not possible to reach a level of perfection because your music evolves in the same way that you are evolving, and we are all subjected to biases. It’s about doing the best one can do. As your brand grows and becomes more defined, your fans and followers will be more inclined to support you.
“Many music professionals (at record labels, for instance) will be more interested in working with a songwriter who already has a strong personal brand, instead of one who doesn’t. That’s because it will be more cost-effective to market someone who already has a following. Again, I say ‘many’ and not ‘all’.
“Developing a strong brand is an extensive exercise to undertake. It involves honing your specific talents, style, message, actions, and image to better align with the people you want to identify with.”
What would you say are the main components of a strong brand as a songwriter or artist?
“The quality of the music and who you choose to associate yourself with. Of course, it doesn’t come without mistakes along the way…”
In terms of social media, what are some of the dos and don’ts for music creators in creating and maintaining a strong brand online?
“If you decide to be active on a social platform, at least for a period of time, be consistent with sharing your music, lyrics, or activities. Don’t be disrespectful. Don’t let negative comments get to you because you will receive some on your way.”
On the other hand, what are some of the mistakes you think music creators make in trying to create a compelling brand?
“Wanting to do it all, to be it all right now… It may look confusing for an outsider.”
From the music creators you come in contact with, in your current position, would you say many of them pay enough attention to their image?
“For the ones who are not signed, I would say no. They only spend their time, or most of it, focusing on what they love most…the sound and their craft.”
In your opinion, what is the basic minimum of branding strategies that songwriters should be indulging in to improve or establish their brand?
“Sharing your music and communicating.”
And would you say the creative process, including the type of music and quality of songs, ought to reflect on the songwriter’s branding image?
“Yes, even if this is a persona.”
For music creators who are new to the business and probably not earning much from their efforts, would you say it is worth making the sacrifice to spend on developing their image?
“Not at the very beginning when you are figuring things out. It depends on whether you want to be the face of your music or not (if your image will be essential to the audience and/or to music executives).”
Your company, Tunedly, has on its roster a number of session musicians and singers. Would you say the individual images of these professionals impact your company’s overall success?
“Yes, most of our clients want to connect with a musician because they can identify with his or her genre and career path and can feel a sense of trustworthiness working together as a result.”
What’s one bit of branding advice you could give music creators that you think applies to all professionals, across industries?
“Hire experts if you do realize the importance but do not wish to do it yourself. Focus your time on something else, such as your craft.”
Through the Tunedly publishing arm, songwriters can now submit songs for possible placements with major publishers and artists. Would you say the strength of a songwriter’s brand is taken into consideration by music professionals who choose songs for plugging?
“It depends on what the individual music professional is actually looking for at the time. But at the very least, your song should be of good quality. If the song plugger has to choose between two songs, he will likely go for the one that has the edge in terms of quality rather than which songwriter has a stronger brand.”
For anyone reading this who probably has never heard of or tried Tunedly, what can you tell them as a good reason to trust their music to your company?
“We succeed if you succeed.”
What is your highest hope in regards to your personal brand?
“My biggest hope, to nail it, is to feel good about who I am, and who I want to become – and try to represent it well online and in what I undertake in life, while being aware that my journey may be the inspiration of someone else’s journey. I guess, in keeping with the topic, I want to be seen as an inspirational yet authentic brand.”
How do people reading this get in touch with you for advice on branding, or for possible brand ambassador partnerships, and anything else music-related?