Musicians! Yes, You (otherwise, why are you here?). Put down your guitar, close the piano, and give the drums a rest for a minute. Listen up a second please. It doesn’t matter if you are a vocalist, a cellist, or a player of the ancient didgeridoo. If you aren’t using social media effectively to promote your skills, music, and abilities to the world, you aren’t likely to be found anytime soon. Promotion and representation for musicians and bands has shifted to the online and social media sphere in the last decade, and if you aren’t where people look to get their newest and best music, you are going to be left behind. Fortunately, with the right planning and the right application of social media, you can put yourself and your music out there for fans and labels all over the world to hear, love, and share. Here’s a quick-and-dirty guide to ten social media for musicians resources that will help make these marketing tools work for your music and career.
Blogs, blogs, and more blogs
Who doesn’t know what a blog is? Hands up! Nobody, ok so it’s clear that blogs are huge and a popular means of music promotion, if done correctly. These online journalistic-type sites are still thought of as social media because they allow people to share individual perspective on shared topics of interest. For example, blogging about music you enjoy and love will attract readers who share your interests, and may also find they love your music and want to share it too. The tech of this type of social media has also changed in that many musicians record one part of an individual song or track themselves and share it to the blog site. Other musicians then download that track and combine it with their own work and repost, allowing many collaborators to create new and original music without ever being the same studio. Consider creating a blog with a place to post tracks that are similar to your music and see what comes down the pipe that you can collaborate on making great new tracks. Alternatively, look at a site like Blend and create music online with other musicians
Despite the 800-lbs. gorilla-like primacy of Facebook, Myspace has seen a revival among bands and musicians, especially in the underground and indie circuit. One of the ways MySpace has managed to accomplish this is by making media sharing, posting, and music hosting extremely simple and user-friendly. Younger demographics have come to see Myspace as where to discover the newest and best music no one else is listening to yet, and they take pride in those discoveries. Labels looking for fresh talent often peruse Myspace as well, so definitely don’t neglect Myspace as a resource for getting your music heard by new fans and labels looking to sign new faces and sounds.
What would you do if your music was available to one billion people worldwide? Facebook boasts over a billion regular users around the globe, with hundreds of thousands creating new accounts every day. Musicians and bands who set up pages can invite followers and fans to live music events, live broadcast from the studio or a concert, and post pictures and videos of what they or the band have been up to on a daily basis. Moreover, Facebook is an opportunity for fans to feel a personal connection with your music, and to post feedback and share your work with the other people in their network. Additionally, if you want to pay to promote your music, Facebook offers many options and packages for promotion to get your music heard and your performances seen. If for no other reason, Facebook can also be a landing page for record labels looking for your contact information and management details. Make a Facebook profile page, and be sure to set your page categories up as accurately as possible, too. That you show up in the right searches, and people see you or your band in their search results.
Many social media users are all about better content in well-packaged messages that are easy to read quickly in as little time as possible. Twitter gives your fans and labels a place to find you, find out what you’re up to, and not have to spend hours of time scrolling. It’s also great for photo and video linking as well, so take full advantage of Twitter for those TL:DR users that are always on the go.
Currently the fastest growing social network, this video and photo sharing service allows users to get out the word about their favorite acts playing major venues, the music underground, or acts making the independent scene. As sharing becomes more and more a visual thing i’d recommend bands to embrace Instagram if they have the bandwidth and support to keep the account updated regularly.
A blogging site for that is great for discovering new content and sharing it yourself, Tumblr is well established as a weird and wonderful place to find new and never-before-heard music. The recommendations for Tumblr are: Post often and share often. Tumblr users are more engaged and spend more time on the network than Facebook users. Return on Investment (ROI) can be high for bands that make the effort to update their fans through this social network.
Like the having a near-limitless album collection online, Spotify allows users to stream music as they want whenever they want. Artists on Spotify can also create their own pages and profiles for fans to follow, and their music is automatically linked to other bands and artists if enough of their followers follow them and similar acts. There are few better ways to get a large member base listening to your music and having the curators of the site feature it on weekly playlists simply on its own merit. Spotify also employs celebrities and major label musicians to curate playlists for their streaming services, creating opportunities for unknown new artists to get the thumbs-up from their heroes. Best of all, recording industry and media publications such as Rolling Stone, Filter, Spin Magazine, and Zest all regularly curate and update playlists, meaning your song could be featured by a major music publication if curators discover you and love what they hear.
An internet radio service that plays tracks from your favorite artists and then five artists in the same category. If you are looking for something new with elements that are familiar to you, this is a fantastic service. It’s also good if you are breaking into a genre and trying to get associated with more established acts. Last.fm also has a unique music matching algorithm that has been adopted by many other music services called “scrobbling”. Scrobbling takes the audio information from the last track played by your audio player, and then uses it to help personalize your music tracks. The more users at home and in the recording industry that play your music, the more it will come up in their audio stream, and the more widely it will be connected to other music that Last.fm has scrobbled from them. All in all, it’s a great way to get found.
A fantastic web and mobile phone app that not only lets you listen to great music online, but actually allows you to create and send other users digital “mix tape” cassettes to send back and forth to one another, which appeals greatly to the demographics that are into retro gadgets, augmented reality, and sharing their favorite songs. 8Tracks has a reputation for hosting a lot of content from new and promising bands that may be previously undiscovered, giving them a niche into which they can draw an audience and potential crowds.
Currently the pre-eminent source for new music and audio, SoundCloud is used by recording artists and podcasters alike. With web-app recording and editing, SoundCloud is a unique platform that lets people share and promote their content to users, and to tag everything from genres to similar artists in the track markup. Many artists use SoundCloud to record and share live performances and mixes as well, so there is always piping-hot fresh content being uploaded all the time. SoundCloud also gives you a resource to share individual recordings and collaborate with other artists online instead of in a studio. Best of all, record labels can sample your work 24/7 online in premium quality audio, letting you get heard in the best possible way.
Alright people, there you have it: everything you need to get social online and get your music out there while connecting with your fans. Keep in mind that there are numerous other resources online to help you get your sound out there for the world to hear. Sites like Fanbridge, OurWave, Reverbnation, all of which have unique opportunities and their own individual fan bases for your to win over with your music. Keep your chin up, keep making music, and most importantly, keep the faith. Promoting and breaking a musical act can be a long and difficult process, but you can do more in less time with a good social media campaign and the courage to stay the course and believe in your music. Get out there and be heard.
Let me know below if you have any recommendations for new or old apps that have made a difference in your career. Also, I help musicians promote their music or products for free. Yes, for free! Just drop me an email.