The important thing about how to brand yourself (in context to the music) is identifying your style, what makes you different and memorable.
If I step outside my perspective, I’m aware of being one of very few that has mixed the Synthpop/New Wave genre in more recent years. It was a prominent genre in the late 80s and 90s amongst a specific audience, consisting of (but not limited to) many Asians and Latinos here in Chicago. While I didn’t know starting out what kind of mixing style I would eventually develop, I knew I would stick to some rules and worked from that foundation. Improving as time went on, I built an audience (albeit a modest one) as a result. They know who I am, and that’s pretty cool. It’s this correlation, and what makes you brand yourself.
I eventually included namedrops within the mixes themselves, starting with HH5, that confirms my work. But prior to that, staying true to style, guidelines and my own expectations are the ways others know your work and associate your identity with. When I think of those DJs I look up to, it’s the same thing. What made them who they were as DJs or artists? Or what did I expect to hear from them upon a new release? Or as another example, for basketball fans: What type of play did you expect from watching Michael Jordan? Larry Bird? Magic? Kobe? Shaq? Iverson? Tim Duncan? LeBron? Stephen Curry? Westbrook? There are many more. Their style of play was their brand, and to brand yourself, you can certainly do similarly in the context of an artist.
Once you have selected your name, I highly encourage snatching a related domain online and starting a website to solidify your branding. It’s well worth the investment. If someone wants to look you up, your domain can be a huge gateway for your audience and a place for them to check out your work. Not only was “dj.WYSIWYG” a search term (or some kind of derivative) for my audience, but also “Halo-Halo” for the mix series. This all plays into getting keywords associated with your name, something that is very helpful when wanting to be discovered. It ties into Search Engine Optimization, something I will address in a future post. If you’re unfamiliar with starting a website, please leave a comment. I’m more than happy to answer questions.
Next up: Where to Upload Audio Online, Social Media, and Search Engine Optimization