7 Pointers for writing a good band biography

A good biography is one of the most powerful promotional tools a band has. It should tell bookers why they should book your band, it should tell potential fans why they should listen to your music and visit your gigs and it makes the job of people who write about you a lot easier.

If you start promoting your band, a good place to start is your biography. This article offers some quick and simple pointers to improve your bands biography.

1. Off to a great start

A lot of people won't read past the first few paragraphs, so make sure they contain everything you want to say. You can tell more about your band in the following paragraphs, but the first paragraph should answer the most important questions:
- What genre does the band play?
- What's your hook? What makes your band special?
- Where does the band come from?
- Did members of this band play in other notable bands? (Don't include bands nobody's ever heard of).

People are lazy: if you write a good summary about your band, it's gonna get used. It will be quoted on the websites of the venues where you play. It will be in reviews of your demos/albums. It will be quoted by journalists writing about your band.

Billy Talent

2. Spell check mandatory

Obvious, but important: make sure your biography doesn't contain any errors. A biography is your bands resume. If your biography is filled with grammar and spelling mistakes, people won't take you seriously. After writing your biography, always let someone else read it too before using it on your website or sending it to venues.

3. It ain't a band history

A biography should tell about the band, not about its history. Add a short history if you like, but don't bore people with a complete band history. People don't care about your past, they want to know about your current sound and line-up. Sure, mention when you started, mention how long your current line-up is together, but it isn't necessary to add long-winded stories about past band members.

The most important thing: if you do include the history of your band, don't start with it.

4. Keep it short, stupid

When sending out your biography it should fit on one piece of paper together with your logo, line-up and discography. People have short attention spans, so keep it short and simple. Bookers get loads of biographies and demos from bands: If yours takes forever to get to the point, it'll end up in the trash can.

On the internet the same rules apply. People don't read long texts on the internet. A few paragraphs is all they're going to read.

5. Got good quotes? Use them!

Got any reviews written about your band? Entered a band contest and got back a jury report? Search for good quotes in them and use them to spice up your biography. Don't be afraid to quote selectively, but don't lie. If the review said 'Great rhythm section, too bad the singer can't sing', you could add 'Great rhythm section...' to the quotes, but not 'Great rhythm section, great singer'. Try to pick the spiciest quotes and quotes from the best known sources.

Quotes have great marketing power, especially if they come from well known sources. Why else would advertisers use famous people for their ads? Unknown people are far cheaper!

The Chelsea Smiles

6. Tailoring the biography for your audience

The biography you send out to venues to get gigs and the biography on your website or MySpace don't have to be the same. Use a general biography for your website, but adapt your biography if you send it out.

You don't even have to send all venues the same biography. Got a band member who first lived in city A, but now in city B? To venues in city A you mention you've got members from city A, to venues in city B you say you've got members living in B. Again, don't lie, just use the truth creatively.

Try to read your biography as if you are the person you send it to: what do they want to know about a band, and what qualities do they seek in a band?

7. Keep it up to date!

Every time something big happens with your band, update your biography. Even if no big changes occurred, check it at least every other month. If your biography mostly talks about something that you achieved a year ago, people might wonder if your band is still active.


Of course there's more to writing a good biography than just these 7 pointers, but these will take you a long way. The main question to ask while writing your biography is who your audience is and what they want to read.

How did you write your biography, what did you do wrong, and what did you do right? Which pointers would you give to someone writing a band biography?

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2 comments on “7 Pointers for writing a good band biography”


August 6th, 2009 | 0:17

Thanks for the blog, those were some very helpful tips.I'm re-doing my bio at the moment and it is a lot harder than it seems at first!

Clover Jean

February 18th, 2014 | 19:27

Hi Jimmy Shelter, Many thanks for taking the time out to write this blog. I really appreciate the tips. I must admit, I find writing a biography very difficult. Just the hook line, is racking my brain. Anyway, I'll figure it out or do you have anymore advise? Take Care and keep up the blogging!

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