As you (hopefully) know by now, Twitter is one of the best online marketing tools you can have in your band’s toolbox. It’s a free and simple way to communicate directly with your fans, but you’ve got to be strategic about when and how you use it to really make it an effective platform for fostering your fanbase. Here are nine strategies to make your Tweets count:
Social media is the cornerstone of your music career. It’s what lets you stay in touch with your fans. However, it’s hard to find a balance between social and promotional – after all, you still need to sell your record or tickets to your show. Here’s 10 secrets to help you find that social media balance.
Socializing is, by nature, a two-way exchange. Try holding a conversation with someone with your ears plugged. Social media is talking with your audience! There are other tools out there for talking at an audience. Make it a habit to read comments and messages. You’d do the same on your personal accounts, wouldn’t you? By listening to your fans you could also get valuable information like what new song they are digging the most or what they liked about your show last night.
2. Leverage Online and Offline
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. While some artists have managed to build their career on one channel, most of us need to find a balance of online and offline. Maybe you leverage Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and some local shows in your area. The key is to think about how you can send fans from online to offline and visa versa. You need to create a flow.
MySpace is reporting some cautious optimism following their relaunch in June. The company says that their audience grew from 24 million prior to launch to 31 million in its first two weeks and now sees 36 million people a day visit the website.
MySpace, which initially launched in 2003 was the social media darling, and a property that sparked a bidding war between media giants such as Viacom and News Corp, eventually being won by NewsCorp for $580 million in 2005. However, the arrival of Facebook on the scene quickly eroded MySpace’s position in the market until News Corp sold the company in 2012 to a group of investors that included Justin Timberlake for just $35 million.
The company has gone through a series of efforts to rebrand themselves, shifting their focus to providing a home for music and band home pages, though previous efforts to recast the service have not met with much apparent success.
This time around though, it might be different. The company is reporting that the number of artists on MySpace has increased 340% since the relaunch, fuelled in part by artists including Pharrell Williams, El-P and Killer Mike (aka Run The Jewels), Riff Raff, and CHARLI XCX.
The company has also expanded its content offering with original programming including CRWN Presented by MySpace (Drake, Macklemore), Live At The Log Cabin Series (Run The Jewels, The 1975), and Music Video Collaborations With Artists We Like (TV On The Radio). As well, the company has also invested into high-production-quality live streams with an eye towards presenting web access to live events such as concerts, traditional television programming, live streams, such as Bud Light 50/50/1, X-Games Music, and the Jimmy Kimmel Live Stream program.
Encouraging signs to be sure, but the company still faces stiff competition in the content delivery and social media markets. Facebook reports average daily visitors of more than 125 million in the U.S. alone.
Source: Hypebot (by Bruce Houghton)
Myspace is back…and with a vengeance. Having officially launched last Wednesday, propelled by massive celebrity endorsements and a $20 million ad campaign across broadcast, cable, radio, and digital properties, Myspace looks to rebuild its dominance in social media, but this time, with its focus in music sphere.
You can watch the ad campaign here:
Not only does the new Myspace appeal to musicians, but it also seeks to dominate the creative sphere, connecting songwriters, journalists, photographers, videographers, and artists of all sorts in an interconnected social stratosphere that cleverly links existing multimedia and social media platforms. Perhaps the biggest advantage to the Myspace platform is the updated and simplified iOS app that allows easy access to write posts and “create”, even featuring a GIF maker.
Importantly, it looks as though mobile will fuel their social platform and drive the user experience and growth of the website. In order to succeed as a music service, they must first satisfy this social network need, which, at first glance, they definitely have. Importantly, while Facebook and Twitter dominate the social network sphere, the pecking order for digital music services is not set in stone, allowing a huge opportunity for Myspace.
While Myspace will likely generate a significant user-base through its ad campaign, the fact remains that Myspace is competing in a very crowded field, and may be too late to the game to lead the domain. Particularly, with MyRadio, Myspace will find itself in a highly competitive Internet-radio marketplace, where waves of new entrants (such as Apple) seek to uproot successful companies such as Pandora.
What’s more, as Myspace chief creative officer Keith Tilford acknowledged, the company does have an “existing brand issue.” They are hoping the massive ad campaign will help with this.
In order to move from the intangible to the tangible, I signed up for Myspace to see what it was all about.
After spending some time on the site, labeling myself as a “Musician,” “DJ/Producer,” “Writer,” and “Promoter” (you get to choose four), on first look, I like it. The site flows nicely, is intuitive, and allows you to easily access any creative individual you would need. It’s as easy as filling in a few search criteria. For example, if I was an electronic music producer and wanted to find a photographer for a photo-shoot, or a graphic designer to assist with album art, or a promoter to help with an upcoming show, I can easily search through the Myspace database to find what I need. Perhaps the most useful part is that you can refine the search to a specific zip code.
While only time will tell, it does appear that Myspace has a lot to offer musicians and all creative individuals alike. It surpasses the musician-to-musician connection dynamic, and sees the bigger picture, allowing any entrepreneurial artist expansive opportunities to connect with each other. However, while it does possess these benefits, it is more designed as a social stratosphere than a music promotion platform. For example it is hard to believe its service would replace that of Soundcloud and Youtube as listening platforms. Though, it will surely augment them.
Like all music social media platforms, the more artists join, the more potential to create and thus an exponential growth in activity. And if you are like every other starving artist out there, using another social media platform can only help to expand your network.
Source: SoundCtrl (by Zac Bluestone)
The pace of change in technology is mind boggling. But is that also true for music tech? Many say that licensing hurdles slows music tech innovation. Perhaps some, but the commercial mp3 is less than 20 years old; and look at all that has made possible, This infographic from Soundcontrol, atempts to chronicle the last decades of music tech.
Source: Hypebot (by Bruce Houghton)
Now that Twitter Music is finally out, we know what it is and what it isn’t.
It’s not a music streaming service, and Twitter isn’t (directly) selling music with it. It’s a music discovery service, similar in a way to Pandora, but leveraging the vast Twitter community that, as we all know, often takes to Twitter to discuss music or interact with favorite musicians.
And while it may turn out to be a useful service for users — it’s too early to tell, but I like the look and feel of it — it might turn out to be an even more important service for musicians.
The thing is, Twitter Music is practically making you follow musicians on Twitter. The more you follow, the better Twitter’s musical suggestions for you will be, and then, going through the “Suggested” section, you’ll follow some more.
I don’t follow many musicians on Twitter, but in the first hour of using the service, I followed several dozen new ones. And I reckon most people who will be flocking to the service in the coming days will do the same.
If that premise is true, and if Twitter Music turns out to be successful, we’ll see a major rise in the number of people following musicians on Twitter. Those in the “Popular” section will benefit the most (Psy is currently topping it; it’ll be interesting to see how many new followers he’ll gain over the next few days), but even less popular artists will likely get a boost from the “Emerging” section, as well as the “#NowPlaying” section, which shows songs tweeted by your followers.
Will it turn into revenue? It could. Twitter is currently offering only iTunes previews of songs, with a link to buy the song on iTunes. Alternatively, you can listen to entire songs if you have a Spotify or Rdio subscriptions, both of which could ultimately have a positive impact on music sales — though it’s been said several times that musicians don’t make much money off Spotify.
But the simple fact that Twitter buzz about music is now directly tuned into music purchases is good news for artists. Plus, artists make money of concerts, and even if those Spotify or Rdio subscriptions bring pennies, the buzz around a band will bring more people to concerts.
Most importantly, though, if Twitter Music is successful, it will turn Twitter into a place for music — similar to what MySpace once was, and what it based its plan for resurgence on in early 2013.
That’s a big IF, though. The lack of a visual component remains an issue. YouTube has long been the place for music discovery (even though its discovery engine is rudimentary at best) simply because the music is accompanied by moving images. Twitter Music doesn’t have that, and it might turn into a bore, especially for younger generations.
Source: Mashable (by Stan Schroeder)
After teasing a heavy dose of discovery and social features, Spotify is gradually rolling out its ‘Follow’ tab to users on the desktop.
We first revealed these upcoming features back in December, and now Spotify has informed us that its follow tab is already available to some, and will roll out in stages. For now, there’s still no sign of the discover tab — the other half of the company’s big announcement back in December.
As we’ve previously detailed, Spotify’s People tab will be replaced by the new Follow tab, which features basic profile details and recommendations. As far as Facebook is concerned, Spotify’s integration had previously been limited to the right sidebar, but now it’s easier than ever to connect with Facebook friends and follow them separately on Spotify.
“Separately” is key — Spotify doesn’t seem to plan on riding Facebook’s coattails forever. Facebook independence is particularly important for Spotify, as relying solely on Facebook has recently proven to be a terrible idea.
Back to the news, here’s what users will now start seeing (via our earlier look):
Here’s what Spotify’s People tab previously showed for us. Yes, it was useless:
Back to the Follow tab, as shown in the top screenshot: My Facebook friends using Spotify have been highlighted randomly, and below it, Spotify has recommended musicians as well. The service also decided to auto-follow musicians I have starred.
Here’s what my profile looks like now, followed by the original design for comparison’s sake.
Note the addition of Recent Activity and follower counts.
Friends and musicians are now integrated together and may be able to interact with each other, recreating a bit of Myspace’s old magic from its prime. Here’s what the musician profiles look like:
The above artist, Kendrick Lamar, was recommended to me in the right sidebar and features a verified check mark similar to what you’d find on Twitter. For most other artists, that mark wasn’t yet present.
As for Spotify’s Discover tab, you can take a peek at what we’ve learned so far here. Today’s release follows news of Spotify’s updated iOS app.
Source: The Next Web (by Harrison Weber)
Is MySpace Really Making a Comeback?
According to reports released by the company, MySpace has finally stopped the bleeding and halted it’s plummeting user base for the first time. Not only that, the now music-focused central network, taken over partly by pop legend Justin Timberlake, has boosted it’s sign-ups by a million in just a month.
It was a smart and savvy move of Timberlake to push for a new music player and make MySpace a music-centric social network, but it’s naive at best to consider MySpace a real player in social media again. Facebook corners the social market of every niche and MySpace still won’t be able to live down the stench it carried when Rupert Murdoch bought it for $580 million and wound up selling it for $35 million after an epic failure of a business plan.
But can it take back the music industry from Facebook? That’s going to be hard considering Facebook has already partnered with every major music distributor/provider to create embedded apps within the platform. With that said, Facebook hasn’t saved music yet (not that it can be saved totally), and the two parts are still working out ways to turn Facebook into the next biggest marketplace for music next to iTunes.
Regardless, we have to give it to Britney Spears’ ex for the good numbers. Sean Parker would be impressed.
This past spring I polled a number of music blogger friends and gathered the results in “How to Avoid Pissing Off Music Bloggers (and Several Other Handy Tips for Artists).” I think it was a pretty good article and the feedback it received suggests that it was helpful to a lot of people. But there’s a lot to the process of music promotion — from a music blogger’s perspective, at least — that the article didn’t cover. Frankly I left out a number of particulars because I didn’t want to come off as too condemning, brash or caustic in my criticism of other people’s poor practices. Lord knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my own life…
Originally I had the idea to play off of Ben Stein’s tongue-in-cheek book about how to ensure that you stay as miserable as possible for the rest of your life, How to Ruin Your Life, but after I had scribbled down no fewer than a couple dozen issues I take with how people market music online, I momentarily gave up. (As it turns out, I’m no Ben Stein…) No matter how good it might feel to straight-up rip on other people who who are terrible at what they do, many who profit from being a nuisance under the guise of legitimate promotion, I realized that my personal emotions were getting the better of me and I was saying some things that I wasn’t entirely committed to in the spirit of “setting the record straight,” or whatever. It’s not my plan to be mean spirited here, and trust me: this is the toned-down version.
This week I’m hoping to have a few articles readied that will close out a chapter of whatever this website has become, each dealing with a different aspect of what this whole music blogging thing has come to entail. For the past six and a half years the daily process of being bombarded by people trying to push music on me has steadily become the most irritating aspect of the blogging process (something which practically every music blogger I’m friends with will attest to), and one that will sadly continue on long after I’ve given up on blogging. Much of listening to new music now has become a task no different than checking Facebook or Twitter: combing through band-spam isn’t nearly as rewarding a task as it might appear to the non-music blogger. Even so, I’m still hoping that this doesn’t translate as me spitting in the face of the very industry that helped me actually become a music blogger. Without emails from bands and the select few record label reps and marketing jockeys who I befriended in my first year as a blogger, I likely wouldn’t have continued on. Also, in reality, they come with the territory: I’ve been able to avoid having to have a real job for a few years because of this silly little blog and it’s kind of ridiculous that I’ve allowed this one small aspect of the process to wear on me. Sour grapes is all… Also, since 2005 I’ve had the good luck of learning a lot about the marketing process and the industry of music because of these interactions, and from time to time I was even introduced to some really, really good music that I would have otherwise never heard. But for every good email there are hundreds of duds that I’m confident exist in this world for no other purpose than to annoy me and waste my time. If you’re looking to gain some helpful insight into how avoid making some easy mistakes as you market your music online I’d suggest checking that first article out, but if you’re looking for a little bit more, here are a few of the major problems I take issue with these days, which are just a few of the many ways to fail at promoting music online.
So, you’ve found an email address? Perhaps you traded contact lists with another artist, blindly harvested information from sites indexed by The Hype Machine or were passed down contact information an employee who previously had your job. One of the biggest mistakes you can make, however, is to assume that simply because you have an email address, that you should use it.
The quickest way to find yourself on the bad-side of an email recipient is to send them something that they have no interest in. Think about how you feel when you receive a “FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: FWD: This will make your day!” email from a relative who you only interact with at Christmas time… now multiply that by about 100, and that’s what the average music blogger deals with on a daily basis. Only instead of receiving photos of adorable puppies and double-rainbows, they’re emails packed with puffed up bios, questionable mystery-attachments and music that usually isn’t worth a damn. Fact of the matter is that if you utilize that send-it-to-everyone-and-see-what-sticks method, you might not be asshole, but you’re kind of acting like one. What’s that you say, you like music? Then I’m sure you’ll be interested in this:
For fans of REAL music…
One of the problems with this is that even if you’re careful, considerate, and you do the legwork to find outlets that are appropriate for your music, you’re in the minority, and your email is likely to be clumped in with the daily wave of incoming spam. Unless you’ve already had successful communication with the recipient, there’s a good chance that whatever it is you’re sending to them will likely be greeted with as much excitement as a LinkedIn invitation.
Six years ago there weren’t that many people willing to send bloggers email, so of course it was easier to get noticed, but there were also fewer blogs out there to consider for your campaign. If you have 400 blogs in your radar, it’s easier to assess which are right for what it is that you’re trying to promote. When there are 4,000 this becomes damn-near impossible. Yet simply because other people make a habit of sending out blanket solicitations that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consideryour audience. Some will argue that they get the same number of replies and blog posts based on this method as they do when they take far more time and focus their aim. Don’t be mistaken though: successful spam-artists are still spam-artists.
Overlook Account Management
You’ve done it! You’ve trudged through every last blog indexed by The Hype Machine & Elbo.ws, you’ve collaborated with other artists & publicists, you’ve combed through blog directories until the dead of night, and you’ve finally gathered the ultimate physical & digital contact list. Now it’s as easy as BCC-ing them all on your next email blast and you’re off to the races. But what happens if contact information changes or the recipient simply does not want to be on your mailing list? You’re actively working address that, right?
Allow me to give you an example of what I’m talking about by publicly doing whoever is in charge of EMI’s mailouts a solid…
Merry Christmas, jackass
When I graduated from college in 2006 I moved back in with my parents while I worked to pay off my student loans. But as time went on I became more financially stable and moved out on my own, and during that time I also happened to transfer the blog to its own domain from a Blogspot. Yet here we are, over five years later and I STILL receive mail at my parents’ house, addressed to me from EMI, which even cites the old Blogspot URL (which I don’t even have own anymore, actually) on the address label. To make matters worse, the contents of these packages are typically promotional copies of albums (so my parents can’t even bring what they receive to a used record store) by such unappetizing artists as Dean Martin. So, not only has EMI failed to update their contact records in five years, but they’re targeting the wrong people with their mailings, and are ultimately paying postage (and the cost of a bubble mailer, someone to stuff envelopes, yada yada yada) to send glorified landfill fodder. And you wonder why major labels are dying?! Sure, it’s fun to pick on the big guys, but this is a problem that practically everyone promoting music is guilty of in some fashion.
Even if you don’t concern yourself with physical mailings (which you shouldn’t!) how often are you updating your contact information? Another example: Over its lifetime, including various contributor email addresses and the central contact account, there have been over a dozen email addresses associated with Culture Bully. Over time things changed though, and in part due to contributors coming and going around 10 email addresses have been deactivated. So as to not miss out in the event that a long-lost-love (they don’t exist) wants to get in touch with me (which will never happen) however, I have a “catch-all” set up so that email@example.com will be forwarded to the one single email address that I use. What happens when you don’t update your records? I receive upwards of a dozen emails from you every time you send a single email blast. This, to me at least, is as annoying as receiving an email twice, however, because both show that you don’t bother with account maintenance.
Additionally, if you don’t offer recipients a one-click method for unsubscribing from your emails, you’re potentially doing yourself some serious harm. Many senders will add a blurb explaining that if you no longer wish to receive such messages, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and will be removed. But what if the music blogger goes ahead and does that, and you can’t figure out what email address it is that they’re requesting you to remove because your contact list is 2000 addresses deep and you haven’t updated in three years? Countless times I’ve sent in removal requests only to get a response saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t find your email address on my list.” Know why? In part because of that catch-all. And because you BCC’d your email, I can’t tell which of the dozen-plus expired email addresses you’re still using.
Further, it’s not a blogger’s responsibility to update your records for you. So please think twice before sending out “contact information update” requests, asking us to fill in our information for you (especially when everything you need is usually right there on our websites!). Between assuming interest and maintaining current contact info, this is where 99% of publicists and artists fail before recipients have even taken a moment to actually, you know, listen to a single second of music.
(Also, I’m not kidding about the single-click opt-out button. Here’s why it’s probably more vital than you think it is: Because companies like Google offer a single-click opt-out button of their own which is called the spam button. Think I’m kidding? You’d be surprised how many bloggers use it to help ensure that unwanted emails sent from strangers don’t become a nuisance.)
Of all the how-to-market-to-bloggers tutorials I’ve read over the years, one of the most consistent inclusions is some sort of mention of how you should “personalize” emails so that they leave a better impression on the recipient. Every last one of these tutorials is correct: you should personalize emails. However, this doesn’t mean slipping the email recipient’s name into a template that you’re sending to hundreds of people. It means actually personalizing emails.
Anyone can add a name to a subject line or email body, and if you think that you’re on top of things by differentiating yourself as such: how poorly, poorly mistaken you are. Not only are email programs capable of doing this for people now, but if you are entering information yourself, it’s only going to be a matter of time before you screw up and call someone the wrong name, address the wrong blog in the body, or pull-off some other easily avoidable copy & paste boner. (I’ve done it myself when emailing five family members, imagine how prone to mistakes this method is when emailing hundreds of blogs with thousands of contributors…)
During this past spring’s blogger survey, when I was asking for general feedback, I received this message from Tiana Feng ofRide the Tempo: “Generally, if you spelt my name wrong in an e-mail it would automatically end up in junk.” Can you imagine how many emails Tiana gets for Tina? But people get this wrong EVERY DAY with simple things, like, y’know: blog names. If you’re emailing XXX@culturebully.com, how much sense does it make to address the recipient as Analog Giant, let alone Culture Buddy? Aside from suggesting that we now have some sort of implied friendship, you’ve just shown how little the email means to you. But that’s not even the worst part of this “personalized email” fallacy.
Also acceptable: Culture Billy, Culture Belly & Couture Bully.
I don’t read many music-related emails, but if I had to guess how many mistake “personalize” for “pander” I’d have to put it at somewhere around 25%. “I’m a big fan of the site.” “Such a great blog!” “I read it every day.” (All of which still introduce mass-mailings sent to dozens if not hundreds of recipients.) Numerous times I’ve talked to other bloggers about this and the conclusion that we’ve all come to is that if even half of the people who say they loved our blogs even visited them, our traffic/Twitter follower/Facebook Like statistics would be through the roof. Yes, it takes a long time to actually send individual emails to individual people, but before you mock the idea of doing so, consider what you’re asking for in return. How long do you think it might take someone to listen to one of your songs, let alone an EP or full-length album. From there, how long might it take them to email you back to get updates on what you’re currently working on (tour info, new material, etc.)? Then there’s the actual process of posting something on their blog. This could be as simple as slapping a music video online (which takes, what, a minute?), or as detailed as writing an artist profile or album review. Granted, this is a fairly rare occurrence, but sometimes it takes days (not 24/7, obviously, but…) to compile information, allow sounds to simmer, and create something worthwhile to put online. And you can’t be bothered to get Tiana’s name correct when entering it into your copy & paste email template?
In this situation “personalized” means giving a damn. After all, that’s what you’re asking us to do, isn’t it?
This one’s fairly quick and to the point: If a music blogger/journalist/whatever takes the time to write something worthwhile about your music (let’s say an article about a music video that you’ve just released on YouTube), then why not direct readers to the article rather than directly to the YouTube page? You still get your YouTube view, plus you’re showing a bit of goodwill in the process. The same could be said for occasions when articles include links to your tracks via Bandcamp or Soundcloud embeds: If the very assets you’re trying to promote are every bit as visible and functional on an article that someone devoted time to creating, why not direct your fans to their page instead of the Bandcamp or Soundcloud bases? Doing so might seem basic, but you wouldn’t believe how many artists/publicists miss these opportunities to promote their own work. If you want to build lasting relationships, show that you care about the time people are spending on putting your name out there. It literally costs you seconds and there’s so much that can be gained from it.
As amusing as the above tweet might be, I cannot stress enough how important its message is. These words come from Wil Loesel, who began his “media career in 2000 with SFX/Clear Channel Entertainment as a client liaison” and now runs the Culture VI Experience blog. This remains one of my favorite tweets because of its direct contradiction to what countless workshops, publicists and music marketing 2.0 websites will tell you. And it’s true.
A recent interview between Billboard’s Ian Rogers and Marc Geiger (former ARTISTdirect CEO, current William Morris Endeavor agent, and one of the “true bridges between the old and new music businesses”) constructed a rather familiar scene for anyone who’s followed the business of online music marketing over the past decade by suggesting that a single blog can still break a band. The single blog in reference is, of course, Pitchfork, and due to the website’s “global distribution” (opposed to print’s regional reach) Geiger explained how Pitchfork is able to cause “potent” word of mouth to spread about an act when they dish out a positive review (he also suggested that the whole of TV on the Radio’s success can be attributed to an “eight-point-something” review, for what it’s worth). For a more recent example Geiger explained how a single glowing review of a free download on the site has led to the Weeknd’s Abel Tesfaye becoming so in demand that he now garners upward of $25,000 for a live performance. Nice as that may be however, it paints a rather false picture of just how much the music blogosphere — even its “major players” — might have on your act.
Brandon Griffiths, founder of music blog aggregator Elbo.ws, explained to me this past spring that his site monitors around 4,000 music blogs. That’s the number of music blogs that the site indexes, but by my estimation there have to be at least 10,000 around the world. Even that figure might be a little light. Add to that however many “legitimate” magazines and newspaper sections are focused on music, and think of whatever the total number of people around the world there are who are contributing to these outlets… what we’re left with is a lot of potential “tastemakers.” But of them, how many have truly supportive and engaged audiences to a degree that the outlet could single-handedly help elevate the profile of an artist or band given a positive review? Ten? Twenty? Fifty? How many outlets the likes of Culture Bully (in 2010 56.04% of traffic was generated by search engines, with 89.52% being new visitors… which is to say that the Real Reach is quite a bit smaller than any perceived reach) would it take, when combined together, to create the same level of buzz about your music? One hundred? Two hundred? Five hundred?
In a perfect world, even if all you do is spam recipients with the exact same un-personalized message, let’s say that the return rate (where you’re simply given a reply) from sending emails to music bloggers is somewhere from 1-3%. That means you could end up having to send out thousands of emails for any given campaign to gain a sliver of the online-coverage you’re seeking. Sure you could land a Pitchfork profile, or have an mp3 end up somewhere high on The Hype Machine’s daily popular songs chart, and hope that either causes a trickle down effect which leads dozens and dozens of other websites to post about your music, but both scenarios are relatively unlikely.
In the end though, what happens if you do miraculously get 200 blogs to talk about your music? That could mean a couple more iTunes/Bandcamp/Amazon sales, it might help swing a bit of weight in your favor when it comes to landing gigs at reputable venues, or it could even push you to landing some coverage from a major outlet, all of which would technically help push your career to the Next Level. But you have to decide how much time and effort you’re willing to spend on these what-ifs. As a musician, every minute you’re spending pushing your music to hot-and-cold bloggers, or journalists or whatever you’d like to call people who rap about music online, is one less minute you’re actually playing music. It’s one less minute that you’re actually performing, or one less minute that you’re on the phone with a promoter trying to set up your next show. Yes, you can get a publicist or a manager to handle your online “strategy,” but then you’re going deeper and deeper into your own pocket to pay to pay a premium for a process that has a laughable success rate regardless of who does the job.
Online marketing is valuable. But the point here is to underline the importance of not letting others (the Weeknd’s success, for example) influence you into thinking that it’s the only way to go: you too could demand $25,000 a show if picked up by Pitchfork; you need a publicist because if you’re not marketing online, you’re bound to fail! Ultimately you have to think to yourself, where exactly IS the money coming from (rapper)?
If you’ve read this far it’s my hope that you were able to pick up on just how much these issues have to do with personal preference and circumstance, and that they might not be issues that arise with the majority of music-heads you deal with. Having said that, you never know… if someone had a bad weekend, who knows whether they’ll be interested in opening your email on Monday. You can’t plan for these inconsistencies. And even if you do all the right things and someone still doesn’t show interest, it could be because they’re simply overwhelmed that day or that they think your music sucks: it’s impossible to know which and I don’t know how to solve that. But what I can say is that, for me personally, the issues mentioned here really do go a long way in influencing whether or not I give you my time. There are so many factors that can affect how successful you are on any given day… Write an email that’s too long? I won’t read it. Email me twice by mistake? I won’t read it. Use an introductory line that rubs me the wrong way (What’s good with you guy-bro)? I won’t read it. When it comes right down to it, most of the time email marketing a crapshoot.
There is no Right Way of doing things, and I would hate to be in your position, either as an artist or publicist having to push music for a living, which is why I’m sorry if I’ve come off as too snarky here (again, sour grapes on my part). It’s difficult to get your name out there, and it’s only getting tougher to do with each day that passes. Truthfully, a bit of the above is questionable advice, but it still speaks to an important idea (I’m talking to artists here): Do not stop educating yourself. Of the tens of thousands of artists trying to push their music online every day, those who continue to identify new ways that they can do things better are those who are likelier to succeed. How many boneheaded “how-tos” are there like this very article identifying ways to market music in the digital era? Hundreds, if not thousands. And how many of them are weighed down by abstract ideas like “write a great subject line” or “watch your tone”? Plenty. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek the advice, just be mindful of what advice is worth taking. How many times have you seen mediocre acts land a big spot on a bunch of random blogs (hell, this blog!) and thought to yourself that you are waaaaay better than them at what you do? Then again, maybe they did something you didn’t. It’s really a matter of what you take away from seeing others succeed and how you filter the advice of others. Whatever you do, never forget: If you think you’re doing everything the Right Way and are unwilling to modify your game plan, it won’t be long before you’ll become as irrelevant as a band who still uses 30 second Real Player clips on their Angelfire website to promote their music. Good luck.
Article originally appeared on Culture Bully (http://www.culturebully.com) and was written by Chris Deline.