I used to think that when it came to listening to music, what I and everybody else wanted was simple. We wanted everything, now and forever, wherever we are. And if we enjoyed the process, we’ll pay for it too (honestly, we will). But this isn’t strictly the case.
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Whenever I read about effective social networking for artists, I see the same few discussions concentrating primarily on examples of people who had traction prior to the use of social networks and found that they were able to continue to build their fan base using these tools.
Amanda Palmer is the most common example. She is excellent at engaging her fans and followers, but she has many of those fans and followers because of the significant backing of a label. While her path is interesting, and it does provide useful lessons for artists just starting out, I don’t think all of her techniques and approaches apply to the beginner. As such, my goal here is to discuss some of the things that I, as a more unknown artist, have found effective in building and maintaining a modest following.
One of my New Years resolutions was to do a bit more blogging and provide the music and marketing communities with some cool tips in navigating the web and managing your street campaigns.
I have been in the marketing field for over 10 years now and running FanManager for 6 years, so I wanted to post some of my observations and let you know what has worked and what hasn’t.
The entry below will cover everything you need to know about online street teaming in this new digital era. Although physical street teams are still important and relevant for many hard touring bands, online street teaming is becoming much more prevalent.
HERE IS WHY…
1) Ease of Reaching Fans. It has never become so easy to reach tens of thousands of people in just a few minutes. In today’s ADD culture, people want instant bite sized bits of information. People are tuning out billboards and traditional advertising and are much more willing to listen to a recommendation of a new track, video, or concert from a friend. This is why platforms like Twitter and Facebook are so important today.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the musical environment in Leeds when Gang of Four was first formed? What were you listening to? And how revolutionary was punk for you at the time you were first made aware of it?
A: I had been listening to John Peel’s BBC radio show for a few years prior to landing at Leeds. Peel’s unparalleled taste in music and his extraordinary talent at filtering a playlist for each night’s radio show (he allegedly listened to all submissions to his show), exposed my young ears to a broad swathe of music, some contemporary some not, and as the era of punk arrived he would of course add punk bands to his ever-expanding playlist. And yet he didn’t play it at the expense of his usual faire at the time, such as Robert Wyatt, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear, and David Bowie. Or “prog” bands like Soft Machine and Matching Mole as well as many underground bands of the time including Welsh outfit Man, and pre-punk bands such as Blurt.
Music Think Tank co-founder and frequent contributor Bruce Warila is heading to Midem and wants to connect with as many MTT contributors and commenters as possible.
The best way to reach out is via his echo louder blog or come to the meetup on Sunday night where he and current Music Think Tank and Hypebot publisher Bruce Houghton will be sharing some fun and conversation along with co-sponsors Topspin, Mobile Roadie, MXP4, SoundCloud and SongKick. Details on the meetup here.
Rock and roll embodied more than a genre or a lifestyle. It was a religion. One fervently practiced by those involved in the spectacle. Worshippers sought salvation from their ordinary lives and wanted to be a part of something bigger than themselves – a musical nirvana. Throughout the twentieth century, rock and roll evolved into a social movement; it broke down economic, racial, sexual, and social barriers. The raw immediacy of the music struck a chord with the dissonance sweeping the country. Rock and roll embraced new and different musicians who were unwilling to conform to prior musical standards.
The sixties and seventies ushered in the golden years of rock and roll. A time when The Beatles and The Rolling Stones set the groundwork for what defined rock and roll as not only a genre but also a lifestyle. The bigger than life reputations and music spawned an entire new class of musicians. Record companies were quick to capitalize on the new phenomenon. They spent lots of money to perpetuate the myth of rock and roll to the collective masses.
Let me start by saying that there are a few different groups of thought surrounding conversion forms as gateways to content like Ebooks, webinars, etc.
There are literally successful folks on both sides of the fence. And I mean really successful folks.
Guys like David Meerman Scott preach very heavily against having visitors fill out a form to download content. According to David, you should let your content go freely as it increases downloads and sharing - among other things. And it works for him. BIGTIME.
I don’t think I’ve ever been forced to fill out a form to grab something from Godin either. Although, I don’t remember the last time I saw content from him aside from an actual book or blog.
In their book “Content Rules,” Ann Hadley and CC Chapman mention that it is important to use conversion forms with caution, whereas Hubspot (and probably most of their partners) are 100% conversion form city. I don’t think I’ve seen anything from Hubspot that mentions NOT using a conversion form. In all fairness though - they will admit to benefits of both approaches.
Scientists say that our brain reacts to great music similar to way it reacts to sex.
In both of these situations, the experience of pleasure that we have is mediated by the release of the brain’s reward chemical, dopamine. This finding is based on the results of experiments done by analyst Valorie Salimpoor of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Music produces an intellectual reward, because the listener has to follow the sequence of notes to appreciate it. For the study, the participants were asked to choose instrumental pieces of music that gave them goosebumps. Lyrics were banned, so the associations the participants might have to the words in the music didn’t confound the final results.
Songs couldn’t have specific memories attached either.
While listening to their chosen music, Salimpoor’s team measured things like heart rate and increases in respiration and sweating. During these listening sessions, a 6-9% relative increase in their dopamine levels was detected in participates when compared to a control condition in which participants had listened to each other’s music selections.
Okay I thought it was about time for another one of my ‘thinking like a fan’ posts! Last time I posted on Music Think Tank I analysed how a combination of boredom, time, and talking videos converted me into a fan of Jason Mraz, and today I’m going to analyse my most recent ‘becoming a fan experience’ – how I became a fan of a song using a combination of lyric websites, remixes, and ‘ah ah ah’ noise related Google searches.
Typically, most of what I hear about lyric websites (the sites that just list song lyrics) is pretty negative – they’re just dodgy sites set up to profit on advertising when people are practicing for karaoke, but I think there’s more to it. Truth is they’re well optimised for search engines and they’re often what appears in Google when I’m searching for a song by lyrics that I’ve heard for songs that I can’t remember the name of – that makes them pretty powerful music promotion resources.
Sometime in October I was driving to a house party in my friends car and he played a really cool song that I started humming to, I had no idea what it was, but I loved it and foolishly didn’t think to ask what it was (but if I did this blog post probably wouldn’t exist!).
FACT: people download music for free.
Sean Parker of Napster fame recently stated in an interview, “you look at the data, somewhere between 4 trillion and 10 trillion songs are illegally downloaded every year. And we’re looking at maybe 4 billion or so legal downloadeds per year.”
Music will always surface on file sharing platforms and consumers will continue to download music for free, but recordings are even more important for artists than ever before. There is a new purpose for recorded content; artists will no longer generate revenue directly from recordings, instead this will be the entrance point for consumers into a the brand. Great music will generate revenue through merch or ticket purchases, or lead to sponsorships as major brands seek out artists to enhance the value of their own product.
Your fans are the lifeblood of your career. Without fans, you don’t have a music career, you only have a music hobby. Fans buy your products, listen to your music, give you feedback, share you with their friends, come to your shows, and wear your t-shirts. They are the people that enable you to become a full-time musician, and live the artist lifestyle. The most loyal of fans will stand by your side through thick and thin, buy all of your swag, and help you in many ways throughout your career.
It’s the end of the year, and showing some appreciation to your fans for all the support they’ve given you can go a long way. They deserve a bit more than music and t-shirts.
1. Don’t give your fans live music. Give them a live experience.
Your fans were awesome enough to pay money to see you perform, so the best way to give back in that regard is to put on an incredible show that fans cannot wait to talk about with their friends afterwards. Do something fun and unique that portrays your personality in a positive manner, and make it memorable. Whatever expectations that your fans held with them at the beginning of the gig should be shattered to pieces by the end. Blow your fans away, and give them more than what they believed they paid for.
The possibilities are really endless, but here are a few simple ideas that you can try out to give your fans a more memorable live experience:
I AM THE most ungrateful person I have ever met.
At this moment, I have access to eight million songs. They are at my fingertips. And I’m not happy. It’s not enough. It’s not that I’m disappointed with the number of songs available.
It’s that every time I attempt to search for another artist or navigate within the app, I find shortcomings. They are small things. But they prevent me from enjoying my music experience in the way that I should. Or at least in the way that I think I should.
In 2001, for $399, Steve Jobs gave music fans the ability to store one thousand songs in their pocket. Nine years later, eight million songs won’t suffice. Why?
No matter what the music industry does, we’ll all be unsatisfied customers.
One of my greatest frustrations with respect to marketing has been that while I speak often about human’s predisposition to share, we’ve yet — in the entertainment realm — developed a way to encourage/reward sharing/sharers.
A bit of background. It was when music/books/movies/etc. went from being objects (analog) to being information (digital) that people could finally satisfy their hard-wired impulse to share with no downside.
Prior to this, if I wanted to share an album/book/DVD with you, when I gave it to you I was deprived of my copy — you win, I half lose/half win. Post the shift to information, when I share my digital versions with you, I still keep my copy — we both win.
Author David Meerman Scott made a honest and realistic quote, “if you want 20,000 fans you must do 2,000 different things that each generate 10 fans.” This was my favorite quote from 2010 and I am going to take this on as a challenge for 2011 for an ambitious project to give you 2000 different things you can do to generate 20,000 fans.
I am defining generating fans in a few different ways:
- A brand new fan who has never followed you before.
- Engaging with existing fans to get them to participate.
- Engaging with existing fans to get them to convert on an action.
Some of these items will apply better for larger acts, some items will work for any act. Some may work for you, some may not… not yet. Some these can be done with little effort, some will take some web development, some might even require some significant development. Some of these have successfully worked for me over the years.
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(Updated Sept 29, 2014)