Saturday, April 10, 2010

Promoting Live Music - a Good Band Bio

How to Write a Good Band Bio

First and foremost, every band (no matter how small you are, no matter if your biggest gig was playing for your Mom in the garage) MUST have a good bio. You never know when someone might want to write about you or when someone will want to share their excitement about your music with their friends and family.

Many bands make the mistake of thinking that they only need to reach out to their already-established fans. Not so!

This is a Web 2.0 world - meaning that most people get their news and information from their friends and family via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs and so on. You NEED to tap into Web 2.0 by making written information about your band and music easily accessible to writers and bloggers, accessible to people who DO NOT ALREADY know you!

Moreover, consider your future gigs. The venue (if they're worth their salt) will need to be able to promote you. Make it easy for them by giving them the exact words they'll need to describe you and your music to their patrons.

Actually, you need three bio's.

1. A one-sentence statement
2. A one-paragraph bio
3. A full 350- to 500-word biography

Write the full biography first, then pare it down to the smaller two.

What should go in a band biography? Essentially, you want to answer the W's and the H: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How. Answer the following questions, then rewrite ALL of it in paragraph form. More on writing styles later. And yes, just like your 3rd grade teacher warned you: spelling, grammar and punctuation count.

Name of your band.
Who's in your band - first AND last names. No serious journalist will list first names only, unless they're Sting, Oprah or Prince. You may be popular, but you're not THAT popular ... yet. No one writes about Steven, but we do write about Steven Tyler. You may also want to include who runs your website, produces your recordings, does your pr, manages and/or books your band.

What music do you play? I know that no band wants to commit themselves to a genre, but you HAVE to come up with some descriptors for your music. Just think about food writers who have to describe what they're tasting, so will you have to describe to your audience what they'll be hearing.
What instruments do you play? Also include a discography of your recordings.

Where are you from? Where are you based now?
Where have you played? We don't need an exhaustive list - but pick three or four venues of interest. That may include special one-time concerts at venues of note, or it may include your regular haunt. You may also want to include where you recorded, if its of interest.

When did your band originally form? When did the current line-up form? When did you last record or release a recording (either audio, video or both) and / or when will you?

Yes, you really should come up with a reason why you're playing out. Why have you gotten into the music business? Why do you think people should come to your shows or buy your CD's? If this last one is hard to answer, just think about some positive comments you've gotten from the audience before and report that. You should also list any accolades or awards. They very well may answer WHY someone would want to listen to your music.

This will be personal and individual for each band. You may want to say how your band formed, how well you've done, how you intend to get your music out there, how someone can buy your music or see your shows and / or how someone can find out more information.

Writing styles:
Think of newspaper and magazine articles you've read. Keep the tone mature, very newsy, informative and matter-of-fact. Yes, do use descriptive adjectives, but stay away from over-the-top language, particularly superlatives like "The Best," "The Most" or pretty much anything that ends with -est. Also stay away from euphemisms and slang. "Da Sickest Mo' Fo' Band from P-Town, Brah" just sounds STOOPID [sic] in writing.

Stay away from Jack Black-isms like "Melt Your Face" or "Searing Wicked Licks." They sound too trite, done and over. Furthermore, if you use "Off Da Hook," "Money" or "Kewl" in your bio, not only will I NOT write up your band, but I'll come find you and slap you silly, just on general principles. It is NOT 1996 anymore, folks, as much as Guy Fieri wishes it were. :-D

More advice:
Write your bio in a word processor and do both a spell-check AND a grammar check. If your computer has a reader, have it read the bio to you out loud. Then have five or six friends who know you and your band read it and give feedback, then have an English teacher read it and bleed all over it with his/her red pen. Really, you want this to be right.

Perma-link your bio in several places on the Internet. Certainly it should be on your website AND on your MySpace, but also consider posting it to Google Docs and make it available for anyone to copy and download.

By the way, when your good bio is done, you're about ready to post it to Wikipedia. Consider it.

Lastly, keep it up-to-date. Check your bio every 2 - 3 months for accuracy of information. NO writer wants to look the fool by reporting incorrect information. Save us that embarrassment, and we'll write you up again.

Always include contact information at the end of your bio, even if your contact information is listed elsewhere on the Internet. Include a contact name, phone number and email address.

See also:
How to Write a Good Press Release
Online Event Websites

Linda Alexander
a.k.a. Lana Banana for Idaho Live Music

1 comment:

Steve Brent said...

Just wanted to add that in order to get the word out about your music, a concise, effective, short bio sure helps. The trick is to emphasize all your most sellable qualities. I found my own niche with, helping professionals of every stripe get unstuck and create their perfect Bio. I hope this is helpful for you. Steve Brent

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