As a musician, you’re not just making music for yourself to listen to—you naturally want to share it with others, too. You may already have your music available to listen to on Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, and other streaming platforms, but do you have a music portfolio?
If your answer is no, then this guide is for you! We’ll take a look at what a music portfolio is, why you need one, and how to create your own, plus a few extra tips for finding success as a professional musician.
What Is a Music Portfolio?
A portfolio goes beyond simply showcasing your music. Essentially, it’s a digital resume for you to highlight your crowning achievements as an artist or band and introduce yourself to new listeners. Unlike your social media accounts, your portfolio paints the full picture of who you are as an artist or band.
The Benefits of Having a Music Portfolio
Having a portfolio is a big part of marketing yourself as a musician or band. It provides a central location where new fans, potential collaborators, and others in the industry can learn more about you than they would by simply listening to your music.
You or your band will also appear more legitimate to others when you have a professional portfolio. Imagine trying to apply for a job without a resume—it’s going to be a lot more challenging to get your foot in the door and get people to take you seriously. The same is true for musicians without a portfolio.
When you look more legitimate, you can attract more industry professionals than you would if you seemed more like a hobbyist. If being a musician is your bread and butter (or you want it to be), you need others to know you’re serious about your craft.
What To Include in Your Portfolio
There are many different components that make up a solid portfolio, but in general, here are a few things you should include.
Whether you’re a solo artist or part of a band, having a biography in your portfolio is a great way for people to form a more personal connection with you than they otherwise would if they just listened to your music. Explain where you’re from, what drove you to make music, and any other interesting tidbits about yourself or your band.
Professional Photos and Videos
Including pictures and videos, from gigs and/or photoshoots, is a great way to make an impression on anyone viewing your portfolio. Adding these will help put a face to your music—just make sure they’re high-quality!
Music and Lyrics
Of course, your portfolio should include examples of your music. This could be as simple as embedding tracks on your site that people can play without leaving the page. Including your lyrics is also a great way to showcase your artistry, if the music you write contains them.
Press Clippings and Reviews
If you’ve ever had a piece written about you or your band, no matter how big or small the publication, include it in your portfolio. Whether it’s a review of an album you released or an article about a show you played, this will add to your legitimacy as an artist.
Don’t forget to include a section in your portfolio with all of your contact information, including your social media handles. Someone impressed with your portfolio may want to reach out in order to collaborate with you, hire you, or just tell you that they love your work, so it’s crucial to have a section dedicated to telling people how to connect with you.
Let people know where they can see you next! Add a section to your portfolio with upcoming gigs or tour dates. If they can buy tickets online, be sure to include a link to the ticketing site to make purchasing easier.
You may not immediately think of merch as something to include in your portfolio, but it can be another way to come across as a serious, credible artist to anyone viewing your site. Since your portfolio is supposed to be a central source for everything relating to your music, you should include either a link to the site where you sell your merch or sell your merch directly from your portfolio site.
Where to Host Your Portfolio
Not everyone is a web designer, and luckily in today’s world there are plenty of website-hosting platforms that make it easy for anyone to create their own with customizable templates.
Another great platform for hosting your portfolio is Format, which constantly ranks high on the list of most popular website platforms for musicians. They provide a variety of templates as well as examples of other musicians and bands that have built their portfolios on this platform, such as Penguinrush and Shane Timm.
Promote Your Music Portfolio and Protect Your Business
Once you’ve made your portfolio, don’t just let it sit there! Promote it across your social media accounts to drive traffic to your site. Let people know they can learn a bit more about you there and even buy merch, if you’re offering it.
If you use a tool like Linktree to consolidate links in your social media bios, be sure to add your portfolio to that list as well.
Of course, making a portfolio is one of many important steps in growing your business as a musician. Having musician insurance is another critical step, as your line of work comes with a unique set of risks. While playing a show, someone could trip over your equipment, injure themselves, and decide to sue you for medical costs. There’s always a chance your equipment could be stolen, and the cost of replacing it can be steep.
Additionally, many venues will require that you provide proof of insurance before they allow you to play there. Insurance Canopy offers annual musician insurance starting at $16.58 per month, as well as an event policy starting at $59 for one to three-day coverage.
We also provide a proof of insurance seal that you can display on your portfolio, which could help lead to more gigs because event organizers and promoters will know that you are prepared with coverage.
Find out more about musician insurance today!