How to describe your own music

We’ve all felt it.

That knot in the gut. The panic…

…whenever someone asks: What kind of music do you make?

Oh those poor, poor people; they’re usually just being polite (while you sit there in the barber’s chair, or next to some stranger on a plane, or across from your third-cousin at Thanksgiving).

They’re being polite. And we pay them back with ummms and ahhhhs, awkward apologies, slapdash comparisons, or worst of all: “You just gotta hear it.”

No, they DON’T just gotta hear it.

It’s literally your job (if you’re trying to pay the bills with music) to describe your sound in a way that captures their imagination.

Instead you fumble. You kick yourself. Then you promise to come up with a good descriptor so you’ll never get caught off guard again. But oh my god, here you are in the same barber’s chair, the same question comes, and still no ammo?!

We can fix that.

Below you’ll find an episode of the DIY Musician Podcast where we workshop how to create soundbites and elevator pitches for your music. But first, let me assure you there ARE some things (if you can believe it) even worse than describing your own sound.

What’s more terrifying than describing your music?

1. Being a cornered animal


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Someone is asking us to describe our OWN music.

Why does this seem to trigger a fight-or-flight response?

I’ll bet it’s much scarier to be an actual cornered animal.


2. Keeping secrets from an investigative reporter


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I’ve never been chased by a journalist, but it’s probably worse than describing your own music.

It’s not a crime to confidently describe your sound.

So why do you feel guilty?


3. Advanced maths


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Describe my OWN music?

I’d rather do math (which is ACTUALLY terrifying).


How to describe your music so people want to listen

You don’t have to feel chased, cornered, or confused.

It IS possible to have a ready-made response next time someone asks about your music.

In “The Authentic Artist Branding Bootcamp” below we lead you through a few exercises to help you describe your sound in a concise and creative way:

Try it out! It might save you from 1000 awkward moments down the line.

If you come up with some good music descriptors, I’d love to read them, so leave a comment below.