Social networking has taken over the music industry and it might not be a bad thing. Maybe it’s amazing actually. With the post-Technic apocalypse in full effect, we have lost some things as well as gained some. Two things off the top of my head that we have lost are vinyl and sound quality. Today, let me focus on the free promotion options we’ve gained.
When MySpace was in its prime, musicians jumped at the chance to have their own band page that displayed their songs, tour dates, and gave them a way to interact with their fans outside of the venue. Both professional and amateur musicians came in and forcefully set up shop with official artist pages where fanboys and fangirls could feel special by leaving messages like, “Just saw you in Cleveland. Best show ever. Heart Heart.” Not only did this give fans a way to interact with musicians but naturally evolved the beloved mailing list.
Mailing lists used to be a musician’s go to system for promoting their events and releases. Scenes, followings, and merchandise sales were dependant on the almighty mailing list and it worked. Grassroot followings were created and mad merchandise was sold using this system. It definitely required a good amount of footwork and devotion to manage it though and often musicians would use a manager, friend, or girlfriend to get addresses, names, and numbers while they rocked it out. The good thing about this was that people who signed up really cared about the music and wanted the info, unlike being friended by someone on Facebook and then bombarded with advertisements. This really created a cult following and is not used as much today. Artists take note. Don’t give up on the mailing list yet. It still works.
Facebook is the evolution of the mailing list. For musicians already with a following, creating an artist page where people can “Like” you is a godsend. Once someone likes you then everything you post will be visible to them. Then when they like you, their friends will see that and then potentially like you as well creating a snowball of easy promotion. You don’t have to have them physically present at an event and then find them to sign something. Fans all around the world gain access to you and your music quickly.
Facebook events is another huge help to musicians. Create an event and invite all of your friends. The friends of people attending get notified pressuring them to attend as well. Make someone who is popular an admin of the event and have them invite people as well. This also gives the artists a way to see how many people will be attending the event. I have seen a huge decline in online forums because of this. Back in the day, I would furiously frequent message boards to check out when events are going down. Now I don’t even need to search at all. The events are promoted to me on my phone as soon as they’re created. Nice.
Now lets talk Twitter. Instead of friends and likes, Twitter uses follows and following. Who do you follow and who follows you. instead of liking what somebody says, you can retweet it. This causes the original poster to be notified and then gets them to potentially follow you. Also including their Twitter user name in a post will notify them as well that someone is talking to them or about them. I have found that this makes me feel incredibly close to musicians. I have been known to get a little school-girly when a person of stature retweets me or favorites a post of mine. I wrote an article on this site recently about Richie Hawtin’s tour, Beyond EDM. I posted a link on Twitter about it and got retweeted by Richie Hawtin. This caused me to gain a multitude of new followers almost instantly. Thank you Mr. Hawtin.
In addition to promoting to fans via social networks, there are also networks just for musicians to connect. Souncloud and Mixcloud are wonderful resources for musicians to display their songs and get feedback from other musicians. Aspiring producers have received record deals from simply posting a new track and getting noticed by already established artists. If you are good, important people will find out about you in these networks. The most integral aspect of these musician based social network sites is the ability to embed your song or other’s songs on Facebook, Twitter, blog, or personal website. Using Souncloud or Mixcloud with Facebook and Twitter is a super combo of mass promotion that can be executed quicker than pressing down, over, punch on your game controller to release a massive fireball from Karate master Ryu. Hadouken!
These are just the main social networks used today and many more are available, and new ones will be popping up all the time. If I could sum up this article in two words, it would be “Now Content.” If you are an artist then you can get your music and products in the face of fans now. If you are a fan then you can find new music and info on your favorite musicians now. These systems bring us much closer to the musician as well. You could most likely find out what Loco Dice had for breakfast. Social networking is good for music. One could argue that this also creates a sea of sub-par artists that get a free avenue to promote their crap to you. Just unfriend them okay. It is the future now people. Get involved in your niche online and share music with others and find new stuff. Get lost in your scene. If there isn’t one yet then create it. The tools are available and they’re free.