Much in the spirit of MySpace’s incredible lack of pace in upgrading their service to cope with the demands of it’s users, they have finally upgraded their service for music profiles. With a ridiculous inability to keep up with other music profile websites, MySpace’s previous insistence on having to paste CSS code to customise the look of your profile was irritating at best. This is especially so when the ‘free’ MySpace editors that are all over the internet put their own advertisements in the code they give you. So it was to my delight having logged into MySpace for the first time in months to see that it appears to be changing.
It’s that time of year when bands gradually start rolling out new albums for the listening public. In the run up to the release date it’s now fairly common for them to release a ‘single’ to give fans a taster of what’s to come. ‘But it’s always been like that!’ I hear you say – well indeed, but the method of which the single is released and promoted has changed dramatically.
The more I’ve used it recently, the more I’m intrigued by the ways bands and musicians can connect with fans on Facebook. Unlike MySpace, you can’t send friend requests to random people from your fan page, you can only invite people from your friends list and hope the word spreads. Getting new fans can be difficult and now isn’t the time to talk about this. For now, I’m going to focus on engaging with the fans you already have.
I only know a handful of people who don’t have a Facebook account, which is surely a good thing as there is a lot of potential in spreading the word about your band. Now, I reckon that most people visit Facebook because they are bored or trying to put of doing something important because they’re bored. In other words, people want to be entertained. Now I’m sure you post messages every now and again advertising a gig or asking people to listen to your music – but is that entertaining?
My band have started posting content frequently although admittedly we still have some way to go. One of the things we’ve started doing is a video blog; videos of us messing about, before and after gigs, chatting, letting fans get to know us… and it’s really working. Hits to our page have gone up a fair bit and we’re receiving far more comments than we used to. Interaction is happening on a frequent basis.
Now the example above is just a video of us talking utter nonsense. It’s not even related to our music, but people found this to be of some entertainment and so we ended up with a decent number of comments. By posting a variety of entertaining content you will drive your fans to your Facebook page. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Post videos of you talking, playing, eating… whatever. Make it fun and don’t take yourselves to seriously.
- Post images of you playing live, rehearsing, eating… you see where this is going?
- Link to funny things you find on the internet.
- Post updates about the band that are not annoying. Don’t post endless messages asking people to buy stuff.
- Post ‘Events’ for every gig you are doing. Even if people can’t go, they will be interested in all the various places you’re visiting
- Give your fans something for free once in a while. Free track, desktop wallpaper, anything you can think of.
What’s important now is that your page is fully up-to-date. Make sure when people land on your page they are seeing what you want them to see. Be creative with your fan page and create new tabs with content such as a music player, links to where they can buy your music, up-to-date gigs listings, band biography, links etc…
Hope that’s helpful to you bands and musicians looking to connect with your fans. If there’s one lesson here it’s that whilst you’re busy trying to gain new fans, don’t forget about the ones you already have.
I’m usually thinking of my band most of the time; ways to acquire new fans, get more people listening and more people to our gigs. One of the things we’ve been waiting patiently for is our album to arrive on Spotify. Spotify is an application not to dissimilar from iTunes in appearance, that allows you to stream music of your choice for free with an advert played every couple of songs. It’s quite a good idea to get people listening to new music without resorting to illegal file sharing. Having music readily available like that is useful when people read about you, see your video on YouTube or read a review somewhere and immediately want to check you out.
As part of my exploration of music marketing, I wanted to speak to those of the younger generation who will ultimately decide the fate of the future of music whether they realise it or not. I wanted to speak to people who were born as cassette tapes were being phased out, high-speed internet became widely available and the music industry entering sticky times; people who aren’t old enough to remember getting all their music news from Kerrang, NME or your own glossy weapon of choice. The kids I spoke to listen to such a broad and impressive range of bands ranging from stuff I listen to like Metallica and Alice in Chains to bands I’ve never heard of such as A Skylit Drive and Hadouken.
What I really wanted to know was, how do they discover these bands? Where do they listen to music and how do they obtain it? The internet has changed so dramatically over the last 10 years I’ve barely kept up. I was awaiting some really amazing responses. Maybe a blog they follow? Maybe some amazing viral internet campaigns? I found their responses somewhat surprising and yet at the same time not so.
When I asked where they discovered the music they listen to, answers were typically ‘through friends’, ‘my Dad’ and ‘music TV channels’. Eh? What is this, the eighties? People talking to each other about music? Music channels? Surely teenagers only communicate through Facebook and twitter, writing ‘lol’ even when they’re not laughing.
Okay, so how do they listen to music? ‘Borrow CDs from friend’, ‘Torrent’, ‘YouTube’… Do you use Spotify? ‘No’. I asked many kids this question and hardly any of them do.
What seems apparent then, is that even though technology has changed and continues to change in amazing ways, the next generation of music listeners are still just as human as we are. Remember that when you’re promoting your band.
MySpace marketing is a tricky area to get right for musicians and bands. It’s very easy to waste time and effort pursuing new fans and listeners from across the internet without actually getting anywhere.
It’s hard to tell where MySpace is going and where it’s place will be in the next few years as inevitably the social networking landscape will evolve and develop further. Facebook and Twitter are arguably the most popular websites at the moment but with these two it’s quite difficult to accumulate new listeners on a large scale.
Unlike Facebook and Twitter, MySpace still allows you to send friend requests to people you don’t necessarily know and because of the nature of MySpace, people will likely accept. The only issue I see is that with millions of accounts on their system, there is a high chance that a lot of people no longer use their accounts preferring to use other social networks. This leaves musicians in a situation where they send 500 friend requests in a day and only 20 accept because you happened to have sent 480 requests to people who no longer use their accounts. When looking for new fans on MySpace, here are a few points to consider:
– You need to add people who are interested in your type of music. This helps you stand the best chance of gaining a new fan.
– You need to add people who actively use their MySpace accounts.
– The best scenario is to add people who are currently online or who have been online very recently. Chances are, if they are surfing the internet they may spend more time listening to your music.
So how do you send friend requests whilst covering all of these areas? Well, let’s say for example you are in a band that sounds like Green Day or Blink 182. What you need to do is visit their MySpace pages and select ‘View all of Green Day’s friends’. You’ll be taken to a page that lists all of their friends. Now if this band is popular, they will have hundreds of thousands of friends. Don’t worry, you’re not going to add them all.
What you need to do is select ‘New Friends’ from the drop-down menu at the top. You will then be presented with a list of 50 users who have recently added the band as a friend. By adding these users in particular you are targeting fans of your particular style of music whilst ensuring they are active MySpace users.
It’s worth having a list of 5 or 6 other bands similar to yours that you can do this with on a daily basis. Doing this alone should save you time and effort whilst ensuring your getting a decent return (in terms of friend numbers) for your efforts.