March 10th, 2022

Copywriting in the Music Industry

Written by Anna Alger

Anna grew up in the bluegrass state, where she learned to love written and visual storytelling. She holds a BFA in painting from Indiana University and an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University. She currently resides in Louisville, KY with a cat named Louise.

You’ve mastered your songwriting skills, your rhythms are on point, and your sound causes even songbirds to stop and take a listen. 
 
As a musician, you might wonder, what else do I really need? 

If you’re passionate about your tunes, it might feel like you can survive on the sweet strumming and dulcet notes of your chosen medium alone. But for your music to thrive in this day and age, you need more than a rockin’ song. 

Consider this: nearly 68% of music revenue came from digital sources in 2020—a number that’s expected to continue growing.

That means that connecting with your listeners through digital media is more important than ever. But if you’re still growing as an artist, how can you break out of the crowd and onto the stage?

You use one of the most essential marketing tools available, one that speaks to your followers with creative, convincing words. You use copywriting.

How Copywriting Can Amp Up Your Music Marketing

Perhaps you manage your own label, with numerous up-and-coming artists in your portfolio. Or maybe you’re an uber-hands-on indie band taking on the marketing yourself. Wherever you land in this industry, you’ll need the right words to reach your audience—and we’re not just talking about lyrics.

If you want listeners to tune in, you need ways to communicate with them both on and off the stage. Here are just a few of the many ways copywriting can lead your music marketing to new crescendos:

  • Bring new listeners to your website – Your website is the central hub where your fans can find out official info and get updates. But it has the capacity to be so much more. Used effectively, any tour blogs, updates, and press releases you post can also help drive traffic to your website and potentially also increase your followers. How so? Through search engine optimization, or SEO. Effective SEO copywriting is like the pied piper of music marketing. By incorporating keywords into your content, SEO copy can draw more followers by driving your website to the top in search results.

  • Turn followers into fans – In marketing, there’s a tactic known as “nurturing the lead.” No, we’re not talking about your lead guitarist’s endless appetite—nurturing leads is a way to turn potential subscribers into your biggest fans. It’s the use of consistent communication to build relationships and stay engaged with your audience. The medium you use is up to you, but email, social media, blogs, and other outlets can be effective ways to connect with followers and turn them into fans.

  • Connect with your community of listeners – With any luck, you might have a steady stream of loyal listeners already. These listeners are your base, the ones who will tell others not to miss your latest album. If you’re only reaching out to your followers when you have a new single, however, you’re missing out on opportunities to spread the word through your network (more on that later).

In essence, copywriting can include any written medium that you use to communicate with your listeners—outside of your music, of course. It’s the medium that can turn polite applause into a community of cheering fans who tune in to your every word, song or otherwise.

Copywriting for Music As the Parts of a Song

We’ve covered what copywriting can accomplish for your music. But if you’re used to 
communicating through rhythm and melodies, the dynamics of copywriting can take a little getting used to. 

To make things a little easier, let’s break down the different forms of copywriting for music—personified as the part of a song they resemble. 

#1 The Intro: Your Artist Bio

Much like the intro of a song, the copy that lives on your website is the introduction to your voice, your theme, your sound. It’s your chance to share what music means to you—and why your listeners should press play in the first place.

Did your band have an unusual origin story? Did a song come about in an intriguing way? The story of your music and how it started is part of your persona as an artist—and with copy, you have the ability to craft the story in a way that captivates listeners.

#2 The Verse: Telling Your Story

The next part of the song, the verse, is where the story builds. It’s where any personas are introduced, where the theme grows, where the listener gets hooked. It’s where the listener gets to understand what your music is really about, apart from those oh-so-catchy beats.

As a musician, your verse is how you choose to tell your own story. It’s how you communicate with your fans that you’re more than just a sound. While you might use visual media to do so as well, copy is an essential piece of the puzzle.

Here are just a few of the different written formats for sharing your story with fans:

  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media updates
  • Q&As
  • Articles and interviews

You may be a music-making legend already, but it’s important for listeners to know you’re also human. What better way than to share your story in words?

#3 The Pre-Chorus: Building Anticipation

While surprise album drops might be effective for the Beyoncés and Taylor Swifts of the music industry, most musicians can benefit from a little bit of lead-up. 

In a song, that lead-up is known as the pre-chorus. It’s the part between the verse and the chorus, the change in rhythm or tone that signals something amazing is about to happen. Something loud, exciting, and unforgettable.

As an artist, your pre-chorus is the copy you use to build anticipation for new songs, albums, and performances. It’s a way to make the crowd go wild, before you’ve even booked the venue.

Use every written medium you have at your disposal—your website, your social media channels, your email list—to build excitement for what’s to come. You don’t necessarily have to leak the whole songlist of your upcoming album, but sharing hints and suggestions of what your fans can look forward to can spark excitement that spreads well beyond your existing fanbase.

#4 The Chorus: Connecting With Your Community

In a song, the chorus is the culmination of every part that leads up to it. It’s where all the parts of your song come together in a pinnacle of self expression, one that joins together voices and sounds like never before.

In copywriting, your chorus is about more than just your music. It’s a place where your voice can join together with your fans’ voices, celebrate the shared expression you have together, and build a community.

So, how do you build a community as a musician? You start by having conversations. No matter the format your copy takes, you can get the conversation flowing by including a call to action—something that encourages listeners to chime in with their own thoughts and ideas.

Here are some ideas to spark some discussion in your fan community: 

  • Share some music that inspired you, and ask what songs changed your listeners’ lives.
  • Talk about your favorite song on your album and ask which one your fans have on repeat.
  • Share the backstory of some lyrics—and ask listeners what the song means to them.

How much you participate in the follow-up discussion is up to you, but the most important part is making your fans know they’re heard. With any luck, they’ll be even more enticed to lend you (and your music) their own ears.

#5 The Bridge: Sharing Your Process 

The world between artist and listener can seem vast. So, how do you bridge the world between yourself and your fans as smoothly and seamlessly as the bridge of a song? You share the process.

Those balled-up pieces of paper from discarded song ideas might not seem glamorous to you, but to your listeners, they’re an insight into the magic that happens behind the scenes. They’re a look into a world usually obscured from view—the one where you make the music.

Sure, as an artist, you might sometimes want to hold onto the mystery. To maintain that your songs spring up from the spontaneous sounds of a rustic woodland forest, transforming instantly into genius melodies.

To the listener, however, glimpses of that mystical process can help your artistry feel even more real.

Use blog posts, newsletters, emails, and social media to share snippets of behind-the-scenes thoughts, insights into the craft of your music, and what it’s truly like to make magic out of melodies. In doing so, you can show your fans how much heart, soul, and effort you pour into every tune.

#6 The Outro: Getting Your Music Out to the World

Your song ends with an outro. In copywriting, however, the outro is all about how you get your music to the people who’ll love it the most.

Want to boost your music streams and downloads, announce new releases, or share your newly minted merchandise? What you need is—you guessed it—some copy. Use your creative lyrical genius to spread the word about anything and everything:

  • Concert ticket presales
  • Merchandise drops
  • Special discounts and promotions
  • Tour announcements
  • Collaborations

Email and social media can be especially effective ways to do this, as you’ll be able to directly reach the people who’ve signed up for your updates—in other words, those fans most likely to take advantage of your offer. From there, the momentum can only grow.

For Copy That Sings, Choose Copycat Copywriters

The lights flicker. The curtains rustle. The crowd breathes in with anticipation.

Then, out you step—your endless style and rockstar glow practically blinding the audience. The cheers erupt. The music swells. You’re finally the cool cat of up-and-coming music stars, and copywriting helped get you there.

With copywriting in your music marketing toolkit, that’s the future you could wake up to one day. But what if your copy ends up in the wastebasket more often than your less-inspired songs?

Well, here’s a little secret: you don’t need to do it all yourself. Want copy that inspires as many goosebumps and gasps of awe as your latest album? You can get it all with Copycat.


Sources: 
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Global Music Report 2021. https://www.ifpi.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/GMR2021_STATE_OF_THE_INDUSTRY.pdf 

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