How to write about your album

Colorful viny record albumsYour album description is essentially a sales pitch, but that doesn’t mean it needs to read that way. It’s important to avoid tired phrases that mean nothing, and use specific language that really gets at the heart of what your album is about. After all, if you want people to click that “buy” button (that resides right next to your album description) you’ve got to provide some good reasons for people to do just that. But what seals the deal? What can you say that might take that teetering customer over the edge and into purchase territory?

For my money โ€“ which I’m never eager to part with โ€“ honesty and specificity are the key: Tell me what you sound like, and be detailed. Tell me WHO you sound like, and don’t be afraid to get granular โ€“ “Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan” paints me a perfect picture. Tell me about your accomplishments and any notable names that worked on the project. Give it to me straight!

Tip #1: Sometimes we are not the best judges of our own music. We think it sounds like Radiohead and our fans think it sounds like the Talking Heads. Before you compose your album description, ask some friends and fans to describe your album for you. Use this information to create a more balanced description of your music.

Tip #2: Step into the listeners shoes. How will they experience your album? How will they feel when they listen to it? What benefit will they get from the purchase? Use this to inform your writing.

How Not to Write About Your Album

What you shouldn’t do is use a bunch of cliches and vague language that ultimately lead nowhere. Want examples?

“unique” – This could be said about literally every piece of music ever made.

“genre-defying” – If someone put a gun to your head you couldn’t come up with one or two words?

“indescribable” – Try. Please just try.

“eclectic” – Nothing is eclectic anymore because this word has been overused and no longer has meaning.

“like nothing you’ve ever heard before” – This one, like “unique,” is technically absolutely true. It’s also a lazy way to describe your music and not necessarily a good thing. I have very specific tastes, and you think telling me it sounds nothing like the music I KNOW I like is going to sweeten the deal for me? I don’t have money to waste here. Give me some details.

“a wonderful addition to any music collection” – I see this one quite a bit, and I’ve gotta tell you: if you’re trying to say nothing about your music, this is about as nothing as you can get. “Do you have music at home? This is also music. You should buy it and put it with your other music.”

“the hottest new artist on the scene” – Slow down, Mr. Cool! I’m having trouble deciphering your hip lingo.

“a must-have!” – Requirements for life: oxygen, water, food, and this person’s new album.

“something for everyone” – Quick: name an album that everyone likes.

“if you love music, you’ll love this” – Casting your net a little wide there, Skipper.

Which ones am I forgetting? Let us know in the comments, or tell us your opinion on the issue. Does language like this entice you? Why?