[I write for DottedMusic.com every Wednesday on music technology, marketing, and lifestyle. The following is an article that I've written for Dotted Music, which I will republish on Musebox on a 5-7 day delay.]
Social media, social media. You’ve talked to your friends, band mates and managers and were convinced to create a Facebook, Bandcamp, Twitter and Myspace page, but you’re not quite the social media maven and have not quite deciphered the clockwork that makes social media work so important. At the same time, you’re looking to break out in the blogosphere, because in this day and age blogs equate to press. With this in mind, you’re likely pondering the strategies that bloggers employ to feature musicians on their blogs. There are the known and traditional methods to discovering musicians: bloggers read other blogs, go onto music discovery engines like 8tracks.com or Pandora.com, or use press releases. Then there are unorthodox ways; after an explanation of the latter, you will understand just why there is more to a web presence than just posting your work on the interweb.
As a blogger, I like to ‘discover’ and profile musicians on my blog, Musebox. Admittedly, a number of blogs out there will work through the aforementioned traditional methods of press releases and other blogged material, which not only makes for a world of regurgitated press and music, but sometimes you may be lucky enough to catch the eye of a blogger, or even an A&M, PR company, manager or publication, by way of a freak accident. It happens, and it happens thanks to an online presence.
I frequent bands’ Facebook pages and on occasion witness friendly banter between bands. On one occasion I noticed a witty comment from a band mate on a fellow band’s wall, which I was perusing to determine if the band was of any interest to me. The comment was distracting (in a good way) and I felt obliged to click on the commenter’s band link. Upon doing so, I eventually fell in love with their story and their music, which thereby lead to an interview request.
Moral of the story: If you’re secretly desiring to garner some visibility on another band’s wall, don’t blatantly and shamelessly ask someone else’s fans to ‘Like’ you: it’s pointless in an age when our eyes have “learned” to glaze over in an instant to spam. Instead, drum up a witty public conversation and, who knows, you and the band could become more than just Facebook friends.
You can’t help but be proud of the least expected discoveries that come via perusing social media profiles on a non-music related site like Couchsurfing.com. A band member was a couch surfing enthusiast, who dotted his profile with links to his band’s social media pages. Out of curiosity, since this particular musician and I shared a common interest, I felt obliged to listen to his music. That was undoubtedly the best thirty minutes that I’ve wasted.
Moral of the story: Have a profile on a fishing or dating site? Represent your band’s brand. You never know who will be looking at you.
I had a particular band in mind that I wanted to check out thanks to a suggestion. I typically take to Google in such instances, whereby I’ll be idling away on the band’s Myspace, Soundcloud or Bandcamp pages. Expecting the searched band’s Myspace page upon clicking one of the top links, I soon realized that the Brooklyn band that I had intended to listen to was in fact another band of the same name and from the UK and proceeded to contact the band.
Moral of the story: Your web presence and ranking are just more than just numbers and strategies taken for granted. Your ranking on search engines should be of concern to you, particularly if your band name is similar to or like that of another band. Look into SEO practices to increase your web presence and rankings.
Feed Me Information
Videos are link bait. In other words, videos are more likely to be shared as a ‘hot topic’ than a band’s Facebook page. As a blogger, I admittedly keep open Facebook and Twitter to their feed pages knowing that my peers of friends and followers are sharing the most interesting links from the web. What tends to capture my attention? Video and images. I’ve had multiple instances when I’ve found and interviewed musicians thanks to a friend’s shared videos, whether it be from a music video or an artistic video utilizing appropriate background music, aggregated onto my own news feed.
Moral of the story: Visual media will grab the audience’s attention. Share something worth sharing or worth talking about by working with an aspiring videographer or painter.
But, at the end of the day what it boils down to is good music.
At the end of the day there are hundreds of thousands of musicians out there vying for the few rungs available on the musical ladder and only so many eyes and minds available to sift through the daunting wealth of information. Unfortunately, there are innumerable underappreciated and underrepresented musicians out there, desperate for press but facing stiff obstacles. Creating a social media profile and neglecting it is not enough. Try one of the aforementioned strategies and maybe one day you will garner your lucky break. But remember, what ultimately converts an audience into fans is the quality of your music.