Apple’s Social Network ‘Ping’ Under the Hood

Blog, Digital Music, Internet, Social Networks, Technology

Another day and another new social network. I’m beginning to lose count to be honest. Still, a day after Steve Jobs’ annoucement of ‘Ping’ the new social network incorporated into iTunes 10 it went live and I’ve gone straight in and had a look.

When I first heard about it, I was a bit skeptical. Spotify had introduced their own social networking features recently and to be honest it works because it’s well incorporated into Facebook – there’s no need to set up additional profiles or add friends, you just have to link accounts. It was clear that this wouldn’t be the case with ‘Ping’ and quite how the public will react to having a new place to ‘like’ artists and albums will be interesting indeed. To join ‘Ping’ you have to upgrade to iTunes 10. Once you have done this, you’ll see the link for ‘Ping’ just below ‘iTunes Store’ in the left hand column.

Sorry Spotify, You’re not down with the kids…

Blog, Digital Music, Internet, Music Marketing

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.

Getting the most out of MySpace friend requests

Blog, Internet, Music Marketing

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.