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Visual branding and custom content for social media is hugely important for artists and musicians

Written by Hatti Rex

We spoke to pop artist Empara Mi, who has self-commissioned more than 10 projects including music videos and artwork through Creative Commission, on the importance of fresh content and branding for recording artists of all levels.

“I think it's extremely important,” Empara tells us, explaining how the artwork allows you to get an overall feel for the music beforehand.

“If I’m not particularly drawn in by someone's artwork and overall branding before I hear the music, I probably wouldn’t actively search for it. I find the visuals to be as important as the music for me as I’m quite film-focused as well as musically, so it's something I put a lot of thought into.”

It goes without saying that imagery is important in this way throughout all aspects of life, you wouldn’t buy an outfit without knowing what it looked like and you certainly wouldn’t go on a date with a person without Tinder pictures. The same goes for music - so if you can get a sense of the artist’s personality beforehand, you’re more likely to press play.

Control your image

For this reason, it’s often beneficial for artists to stay in control of their own image. Whilst management and PR could do all the work for you, artistic authenticity is key.

Empara tells us that this depends entirely on who is looking after it for you. “If you can work with someone who shares your vision and they are able to pull all the pieces together for you, or at least help you actualise a vision that you didn’t even know you had, it could be a great thing.” 

“I generally have a good sense of what I like and don’t like immediately and so I’m able to create a lot of stuff myself but I also enjoy bouncing ideas off other people with shared taste, or brief out to people on Creative Commission who can fill in the missing pieces!”

She admits that getting the visuals right is just as important as the sound. But what do you look for when looking to commission?

From Empara’s perspective, it starts with your initial idea before briefing out.  “Whoever sees the brief knows whether its something they think suits them. I love looking at everyone’s showreel because it might spark new ideas and ways of doing things you didn't think of.”

And thus, a creative partnership is born.

Time is money

“It takes a lot of the work off your hands,” she describes her experience with CC. When time is money and visual art isn’t your strong point, it’s better to work to your strengths and find other people to help build the brand.

“The hardest thing to do is find someone for the job, and then on top of that, you have to make sure they are available and within your budget. Creative Commission takes all that away from you.”

For independent artists looking to commission their own content and take control of their personal branding, Empara has one thing to keep in mind.

“Know what you want, be realistic about what it's going to cost you and do your research on whoever you want to work with to make sure its the right fit.” After all, you’re not going to get the iconic Nike swoosh for a fiver.