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Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
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Going Beyond Music: How to Expand Into Other Creative Industries and Get True Fans Out of It

Image via caliconscious.com; used with permission

For the most part, musicians tend to stick to just selling music, merch, and tickets. But a few manage to branch off and make it in other related industries like book writing, apparel, podcasting, cosmetics, art, theater, acting, and even activism.

For many artists, just “making it” in music is hard enough, let alone trying to get traction in and manage a career in another industry as well. The key is to use your brand as the link that bridges you to these new opportunities. It’s not about forcing yourself into a new industry; between getting the new connections you need and finding an audience, it would be a lot of extra work and probably wouldn’t be worth it in the end. Instead, focus on industries that naturally fit with the brand you already have in place.

Ask a Publicist: 5 Tips to Brand Yourself Like a Superstar (Even if You're Just Starting Out)

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Michael Jackson was known as the King of Pop. Beyonce is a great entertainer who stands for "girl power." While both of these artists have immense talent, it's their brands that have allowed them to acquire millions of loyal fans and earn millions of dollars from music sales, touring, merchandise, endorsements, and more.

As an emerging artist, you may think that you don't need to be concerned about branding yet, but you absolutely should be. You must create your own unique brand to have a long, successful career. Fans don't only buy your music; they also buy your persona. Branding helps you create your persona and stand out from the countless other artists trying to get their music heard. Having a strong brand is key for building a loyal fanbase and making consistent income from your music.

Not sure where to begin? Start with these five branding tips the pros use, and you'll be well on your way.

What Your Onstage Look Says About You

Perception is reality, right? That's usually the case, but we're not going to get into a discussion about why that may be right or wrong. We're solely going to view that concept through a music and imaging lens.

When you're an artist, your look and style are essential enhancements to your sound. They're part of an overall package. Your style is another aspect of your presentation. It can help a listener and potential fan develop an idea of what you're about before he or she even hears a note of music. The visual should have some aesthetic connection to the music in a fully realized scenario.

As an experiment, I looked at the EPK photos of several randomly selected Sonicbids artists and paid attention solely to their clothing and general style. Then, I offered my instant, initial reaction to them without listening to a note of the music. I let the visual be the driving force that informed my opinion in order to show you how someone else looking at your band might react.

4 Easy Fixes That'll Make Your Band Look Way Better Onstage

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Seeing is believing. When you tour, existing and potential fans watch you perform live, onstage, and in the flesh. It's an audiovisual presentation. It's also a full sensory experience for everyone involved, and it's an exchange of energy. So you better look good.

How to Improve Your Band's Online Image for 2016

Having great-looking band pics is half the battle. (Image via coolhunting.com)

Your band's overall image is projected through a variety of things, including the music, your official band photos, magazine features, reviews, and your online presence. Now more than ever, the latter is of critical importance. You must cater to, curate, and edit your online image, since fans and industry people have more (and super fast) access to you than ever before.

Nothing ever dies on the internet, so you have to be careful with your band's digital footprint. It can be your first impression, and we all know that you don't get a second chance to make one of those. Here are three effective ways to improve and craft your online image. It's a key element of how you're perceived. And you know what they say about perception, right? It's reality.