section 2 - positioning

We are in a world of constant content. There is so much music being released today that your number one goal has to be standing out and setting yourself apart from others in your niche. Brand positioning is all about claiming a unique space in the minds of an audience.


…all about claiming your unique space in the minds of an audience.

When developing your overall positioning, there are 3 questions you must answer to establish your point of differentiation so that your brand is the ‘go-to choice’ instead of the alternative:

  1. What is the exact category that my brand is in? It’s important to understand what market are you looking to dominate, where the opportunities are, and if there are any gaps you can fill.

  2. Who is my “best” target audience? You cannot, and should not be all things to all people. That’s why you must narrow your target audience down to your ideal customer and really understand their specific needs and pain points. If you don’t know how to go about this, dont worry we have an exercise that helps you!

  3. What really sets my brand apart relative to the competition? Every brand should look to deliver a unique story in the market. What is it about your brand that makes you a star in your niche? While there may be similar artists in the marketplace – there should only be one YOU.

Once you can clearly answer these questions, then you’re much closer to setting your brand up for positional power. Your positioning and brand as a whole is not Master Music Branding 9 about how you see yourself but how other people see you. You don’t have to act on what other people say, but additional perspective can be invaluable.

setting apart w/ story

Going deeper into something mentioned in the third bullet point: story. What exactly does that mean? Well, here are a few examples.

Kendrick Lamar’s debut album Good Kid M.A.A.D. City, told the story of a kid who is by no means a thug, but grew up in a rough environment. So many kids can relate to that perspective. For so long, people acted as if rappers had to be “hard”, then backpack rappers and “nerd rap” became more popular which spoke to fans at the other extreme. Nobody on that level of exposure ever branded themselves specifically representing the “kid” who’s somewhere in the middle.

Chance The Rapper turned lemons into lemonade when recorded a mixtape during his 10 day school suspension and titled it 10 Day.

When Eminem was first introduced to the masses, he was the “white boy” next to Dr. Dre. He wasn’t a white guy who “acted black” but he was genuinely a great rapper - which added more curiosity given Dr. Dre’s storied “street” background. Then Eminem took establishing his story to another level with his movie, 8 Mile.

50 Cent got shot 9 times and leveraged this story line all the way to the top.

Kanye West did the same thing we he rapped with his mouth wired shut on Through The Wire, after the car accident that almost killed him. They made sure everybody knew! Stories can create myth.

Stories can create connection. Most importantly, they drive perception. When thinking about what your story will be, look back through these to help you come up with something compelling.

Let’s keep 100…

A lot of times, artists let fake-mature fans on the internet get into their head when they say “I don’t care if an artist is black, white, male, female, attractive or any other label”.

The truth is they do care and that is why many music business people still look at artists through these lenses. They are looking for people who can relate to specific audiences, or in business speak...they are looking for a product that will fulfill demand in certain markets. They know that only so many people can be Beyonce, Kanye, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber, but there are many opportunities to serve smaller niches with loyal fanbases.