Today we’re going to look at how to write a bio for musicians and other music industry figures.
If you want to write a bio, you have to get into the minds of your readers.
Most musicians tend to think that their biography is about them. However, the reality of the situation is that your bio needs to cater to:
- The press,
- Venue owners, and
- Your fans.
What Is A Music Bio?
Now, when many hear the word bio, they automatically thing of a biography or autobiography. The key difference with the kind of bio we’re talking about here now, is it doesn’t look at your whole life story. Instead, it focuses on key achievements in your music career so far.
A musician’s bio should be short and sharp, making it easy to consume by the above mentioned people.
A bio can be a powerful promotional tool when it takes these target readers into account. If it doesn’t, it won’t be nearly as effective.
Now you know what a music bio is, here are several tips for creating a bio that really resonates with your audience.
When You Write It, Have Your Music Bio Tell A Story Of Your Band
I’ve read my fair share of artist biographies. This is because – in addition to planning my own gigs – I also have experience planning events for other musicians and bands. If you ever have the chance to do the same, I would recommend it, because you will learn a lot.
I noticed that some musicians basically just listed off their credentials in their bio. Impressive as they may have been, accomplishments does not make a good music biography.
A bio needs to say something substantive about you and your music. You need to make it easy for a promoter to distill your story down into a two-to-three sentence pitch that they can use to promote you on social media, event websites, press releases, and so on.
That pitch might include the phrase “award-winning”, but more often than not, that’s not the draw. The pitch has to offer a compelling description of an artist’s music, whether it’s entertaining, engaging, attention-grabbing, weird, or otherwise.
People remember stories. Stories are easy to summarize. Facts are just icing on the cake.
A Musician’s Biography Should Clarify & Identify
Fans and media people alike read an artist’s bio because they either have unanswered questions, or because they are so in love with the artist that they are eager to find out more.
If you don’t take the time to clarify vital details about you and your music, your bio is not helping your marketing.
You need to share the otherwise mundane but important details of where you reside, who your band mates are, what they play, what artists you were influenced by, and what musicians you sound like.
Musicians don’t like to be pigeonholed, but providing these details could mean the difference between getting ______ and not (fill in the blank with: shows, interview requests, publicity, press coverage, etc.).
Don’t leave your readers scratching their heads. Get back to the basics of who, what, when, where, why. And you don’t need software to do this.
When You Write A Music Bio, Include Quotes & Noteworthy Accomplishments
I know I said earlier that your bio shouldn’t just be a long list of credentials, and I still stand by that. However, when writing a bio as a musician, it is a good idea to feature some of your most noteworthy moments.
In addition, quotes can be used to flesh out your story and add credibility to your music-related endeavors.
The best quotes are those coming from outside the band, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use quotes from band members as well. If it serves the story, it’s fair game.
Use these elements for a little bit of topping. The meat of your bio still needs to cover the five Ws. The story is the central piece; everything else is just spice!
Edit Your Bio Mercilessly
Are you familiar with copywriting? It’s not the same as copyrighting (with an R), which is associated with intellectual property.
Copywriting is the practice of writing text for advertising purposes. This text is meant to compel the reader to action.
When you’re writing copy, it’s considered best practice to strip your content of all unnecessary words. You want the message to come across using the least number of words possible.
Your bio is the same. You need to make sure that every word serves a purpose. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be in there.
This means cutting out superlatives (adjectives or adverbs that overstate your importance). This means purging unimportant details (stories no one cares about). This means getting to the core of the matter as soon as possible.
Bios can sometimes be too long. At other times, they can be too short. Finding that perfect balance can be challenging, but having several versions of your bio is not a bad thing. Just make sure the one on your website is medium length at about three paragraphs (four at most).
Use High Quality Photography In Your Bio
Once your bio is copy-and-paste ready (it should be good enough to run in the papers), you should also make sure to include a high quality photo of your band. These should be print quality; 300dpi at least.
Make your bio page a one-stop-shop for promoters and media people. Make it so they can pull your bio as well as your photo and immediately run them in a magazine or a newsletter.
There’s only one other detail you need to pay attention to with band photography; make sure no cropping or editing is required. Every band member should be standing close together in the photo. Save your artistic sunset band-on-a-skyscraper photo for the gallery.
Finally, Create A Call To Action
Many musicians are missing a valuable opportunity with their bio:
They’re forgetting to add a call to action at the end!
I’ve always said that you should include your contact information at the end of your bio; that’s the logical thing to do, because event planners or venue owners might be reading and want to know immediately how they can get in touch with you.
Why not indulge their impulses?
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have other options. You can ask people to sign up for your email list, vote for your song in a contest, buy your latest single, and more.
You can’t get something if you don’t ask for it. Put yourself out there, and see if your website visitors are interested in taking the relationship to the next level.
Now you know how to create a killer bio.
Don’t forget; a bio can either add to or take away from your music career. If you’re going to bother having one at all, you might as well make it so that it propels you towards your dreams.