How to be more concise when describing your music

(Image credit: Getty/The Sydney Morning Herald / Contributor)

It's the first question that anyone asks you about your music: What kind of music do you make? Your answer to that question is the most important thing. It’s even more important than your story. So don’t wing it. 

You should prepare it ahead of time and have it at the tip of your tongue when interviewers, the media, and people you meet ask. Don't try to make a perfect and complete description: the goal is to get them curious enough to ask to want to hear your music. That's how you'll know if you've created the right description.

Here are some simple ideas to help you describe your music effectively:

1. Make it 6 words or less

If you need a paragraph you'll lose them. If it's a complicated description they won't want to find out more. It needs to be short and intriguing.

2. Use well-known concepts mix them together

To get a quick understanding, put it in context of something they're familiar with already, such as genres and styles, and merge it with concepts that are active and vibrant. One great example: cajun slamgrass.

3. Use artists you sound like

Until you have established your name so that people are using your name to describe a style, let famous artist's marketing work for you. The band Dread Zeppelin is a band that sounds like reggae Led Zeppelin sung by Elvis.

4. Rule people out

The best marketing does just as good of a job of weeding people out as it does targeting your audience. If you have music that makes people's ears bleed, don't worry about ruling out people looking for meditation music. Music descriptions that could appeal to anyone ends up appealing to no one.

5. Keep tweaking it

It's easy to try out your music description on a lot of people, and tweak it as you go. We eventually came up with horn-powered geek rock for our band. Also, over 20 albums, we experimented often and would change our description depending on the music. For example, our award-winning Sham Rock album was "Irish Drinking songs cranked to 11" sometimes adding: "With a horn section" if we thought it would help.

If you don't have a concise description yet, come up with one now and try it out on friends until you feel comfortable. As you adjust it, to test if it's working, see if they ask for your music.

Challenge: Come up with a 6-word or less description of your music.

Electronic Musician

Electronic Musician magazine is the ultimate resource for musicians who want to make better music, in the studio or onstage. In each and every issue it surveys all aspects of music production - performance, recording, and technology, from studio to stage and offers product news and reviews on the latest equipment and services. Plus, get in-depth tips & techniques, gear reviews, and insights from today’s top artists!