Music Business: Crafting Your Tagline and its Viability

By Loren Weisman

The first words that define your brand to most people in the music business are your tagline. This is the information that gives the initial short definition or elevator pitch about exactly who you are. Everything you want to tell people isn’t covered in a tagline, of course, but it creates the connection from your logo to your name to your sound and what you are about.

Your logo might not translate to someone thinking you’re a musician. Your name might not, either. Let’s say your band name is Kitty Likes Avocado, and the logo has a cat with an avocado. Your font clearly spells out Kitty Likes Avocado, and while it’s perfectly clear to you that it’s a band, others could think it is

  • A cat product

  • A fruit fly preventative

  • A wellness and health blog or magazine

  • A site that puts up random cat videos

  • An avocado advocacy group

  • Whole foods for cats

But when you add the tagline Fruity Funk Scratching at the Drapes of Rock and Roll, you bring the idea that this must be a band.

Crafting your tagline

Your tagline defines your brand and allows for optimal use and the best branding experience. The four parts include the following:

  1. Entice with the logo.

    Give your fans the image that captures their attention first.

  2. Engage with the font.

    Show your fans the name, clearly legible as it associates with the logo.

  3. Define with the tagline.

    Pull it all together so the person seeing it ties the logo and name in with the summarized elevator pitch that serves as your slogan too.

  4. Direct your fans with the link/URL.

    The call to action equals a trip to your website. The reader saw your logo, name/font, and tagline. Now, you let them know they can find out more by visiting your website. It’s the last piece that brings it all together.

When your fan takes the action to look you up, they’re looking specifically for you. By maintaining consistency and uniformity with your logo, your web traveler will have little doubt that they’ve found the correct page when they arrive at your site.

This uniformity also brings a better sense of security and showcases a higher level of professionalism.

Creating a tagline to entice

With all the other elements in place, your tagline has to define, encapsulate, summarize, and draw interest so people want to know more. Here are a few examples of taglines that make the reader want to know more:

  • Fruity Funk Scratching at the Drapes of Rock and Roll

  • Heart-Driven Happy Pop

  • Indie Retro Folk-Pop Duo

  • A Gentleman of Soul

  • A Rocktress Sculpted in Blues and Soul

These short taglines can only hint at the full description of what the artist or band may sound like, but that’s exactly what you want. Think a quick one-two punch to draw everyone in. In a sense, tease them with the basic elevator pitch to make them want to stay on for a couple more floors to hear more about you.

Too many artists feel like they need to encapsulate the spectrum of who they are, where they came from, how they are doing something unlike anyone else, and just how amazing they are. On the opposite end of the spectrum, as an example of bad taglines, other artists with a little less confidence almost dance around long-tailed descriptions that can turn a potential listener or fan away like, “well, we have this sound that’s kind of like someone else . . .”

The lack of confidence in the delivery of the tagline, as well as excessive arrogance, can turn away potential fans quicker than you can imagine.

If you were to go with

Rock and Roll

as your tagline, it’s not very descriptive or memorable. It doesn’t give the potential fan any reason to learn more about you.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, however,

Rock and roll that takes you on a journey through time and space as it makes you yearn for more as the groove feeds your soul

is incredibly long and ineffective. Being way too vague isn’t going to help draw in more people.

Avoid telling people how they will feel, react, or respond to your music. Let them experience that for themselves.

Asking others for help

Asking for fans to help with descriptors of your sound and your band can help you to take a step back and hear the words of how others would describe you and your songs. That fresh perspective can help to narrow down as well as find new word combinations you might not have thought about before.

Don’t try for perfection

Avoid trying to come up with the perfect elevator pitch to describe your band or sound because it’s next to impossible. Whatever you find will not hit the nail directly on the head, but a solid tagline will

  • Encapsulate the overall basics of you and your sound

  • Consolidate a few words to peak the widest array of engagement

  • Create the interest for people to learn more about you

Location, location, location

Read it out loud. Think about how it fits on a business card, sticker, letterhead, and how it works with your font and logo. Does it look good across the online spectrum as well as on t-shirts, coffee cups, buttons, posters, and so on?

Keep your tagline font different and smaller than your name font. Worry less about the font of the tagline than the font of your name. It should be legible and clean but noticeably smaller as well as clear that it is serving as the tagline and not an extension of your name. Don’t use the same font as your name. Because the tagline will be smaller, keep it a simple and very readable font.