Testing a Tagline in the Music Business

By Loren Weisman

You’ll need a tagline if you want to succeed in the music business. Before you lock in the tagline with your logo and font, plan to take it for a spin — a test drive of sorts — on a whole bunch of different roads. The better idea you have of how others perceive it, the better you can get a pulse on what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes, you can be so close to something that it makes perfect sense to you but is completely confusing to someone else.

Ask people of different ages, tastes, and backgrounds what they think of the logo and font as well as the tagline. Ask them the following questions:

  • What do the logo and font make you think they’re about, and why?

  • Is it clear from a distance as well as up close?

  • Does that tagline make you think it’s describing a musician or band?

  • If not, what does the tagline mean to you?

  • What kind of music you think of when you read the tagline?

  • Does that tagline remind you of anyone or anything you’ve seen or heard before?

This kind of feedback is better coming from people who don’t know you or your music. Whereas some people you know may be able to help, try asking the opinions of strangers, marketing pros, or branding pros.

Again, you’re not looking for uniformity in the answer. Everyone will have different answers, views, ideas, or opinions. The idea isn’t to get everyone on the same page; the idea is to get a page of ideas and reactions from which you can make an informed decision.

As you are working to craft and try out that tagline, don’t throw out the ones that don’t work. Some of those short phrases and ideas that might not fit in to a tagline can work very well as keywords and later on in your bio. Save those not-so-good taglines for potential use later down the line.

And . . . one last way to test the tagline? Test that tagline online! Go into Yahoo!, Google, Bing, YouTube, and other search engine, and search the tagline as a whole. Make sure your potential tagline isn’t close to (or the same as) someone else’s. Even if the person or entity isn’t a musician, if the tagline is too similar, stay away from it. Similarities like this make searching for you that much harder if others use the same words, even if for a different business or product.

At that point, if you feel good about it and you’re ready to solidify it, lock it in and move along. With the logo, the font, and the tagline locked up, set, and dialed in, you’ve created a better branding base than half the bands out there. You now have the fundamental base for that many more people to find you, engage you, remember you, and become fans.