There has been a lot of talk about Google+ recently, and rightly so. When the Goliath of the internet launches a new product, we’d all be wise to pay attention. And while I agree that it can be a powerful tool for musicians to share their work, everything I’ve read in the music blogosphere has missed the point. So far, the articles I’ve seen have focused on the eventual addition of “brand pages”, or pages that are attached to a band rather than an individual.
But Google+ is for people, not bands.
Google has yet to allow brands to have pages. In fact, they recently deleted a number of brand pages people tried to slip passed them. This does not mean we should all wait to dive in until we can build pages for our band. In fact, if you haven’t already created your G+ account you should do so now. Because the service is still in it’s infancy (if 10 million users can be called infancy), there is unlimited potential right now. So far it’s mostly the “early adopters”, a group that can be very useful in helping in share the cool things that we as musicians do on a regular basis.
But even when Google does allow band pages, it will be a mistake to abandon your personal G+ page in favor of a band page. As soon as we do this, it’s MySpace/Facebook all over again. People will start to tune out gig invites, CD Release notices and “check out my awesome music” posts, just as they’ve done on the social networks that have come before.
The real power in Google+ lies in the ability for users to share with targeted groups of people. But the key word there is people. I will bet that most people will put every band they decide to follow in a “Bands” circle, and quickly tune them out. But, if you continue to be an interesting and informative person, one who shares other people’s work more than your own, one who interacts like a human being and not like a desperate band, you will still be heard.
So forget what all the music 2.0 “experts” are telling you. Yes, you should dive into Google+ and use it to share your music. But do so as a person, not as a band, or else five years from now we’ll all be cancelling our G+ accounts just as we have our MySpace accounts.
Jason Parker is a jazz musician and blogger from Seattle, WA. He leads his own band, The Jason Parker Quartet, and blogs about his life as a working musician at OneWorkingMusician.com. Email him at email@example.com.