Derek Sivers

Programmer, writer, avid student of life. I make useful things, and share what I learn.

Describe your music like a non-musician

When describing your music, don’t be a musician.

Don’t say, “Wonderful harmonies and intricate arrangements. A tight rhythm section and introspective lyrics!”

Real people don’t even understand what that means. That’s musician speak.

Think what an office-worker would say to a friend about your music:

“It’s cute! I love that song with the little ‘hoop-hoop!’ at the beginning, with that baby voice. It’s kinda funky! And he’s got this sexy bedroom voice. Cool video.”

Think what one teenager down at the mall would say to another, when describing what they love about your music:

“Dude, it’s like if Kranetow hadn’t wimped out. It’s like Tweetown went metal, but they’re from Mars or somethin. It’s slammin. That chick’s voice is insane!”

Real people often compare an artist to other famous artists. Real people talk about the overall “vibe” or sound of something.

Real people don’t talk about “insightful lyrics” and “wonderful harmonies” and “tight musicianship”. That’s musician-speak.

Play your music for some non-musicians, and ask them what they’d say to a friend about it.

The way you describe your music should be almost as exciting (or touching, or sad, or shocking) as the music itself.

If you describe your music in ways that reach people’s emotion and imagination, then your music itself will be more likely to reach and touch people.