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Tuesday
Aug022011

Google+ is for PEOPLE, Not Bands

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 jason@oneworkingmusician.com.

Reader Comments (18)

I appreciate your posting this. I think if I hadn't read this I would have immediately created a "band" page, but you're right, those types of pages don't get much traffic, especially since Facebook won't even allow you to message your fans as a group anymore (there is a workaround if anyone's interested). So anyway, thanks for the information. I haven't joined Google+ yet, partly because I wanted to read articles like these and know what my focus is from the outset.

Ben
bentravis.com

July 30 | Registered CommenterBen Travis

Thanks for your post Jason. I recently saw that Google+ is removing pseudonyms and alias names. Mark Hachman posted an interesting article about this on PCmag.com. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Best,
Trudee

July 30 | Registered CommenterTrudee Lunden

Perhaps each band member should his or her own page. well have to wait and see what Google is up to as far as brand and band pages.

August 2 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Kocis

It's interesting that only days ago an entry was posted here about how artists CAN use Google+.

http://www.musicthinktank.com/blog/lets-talk-about-google-for-artists.html

August 2 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Google+ is for everyone, including bands. What's wrong in tuning out gig invites and album release notices? A new album release notice from my favorite artist/band is far more interesting than what my aunt's dog ate yesterday (a very common kind of post on Facebook nowadays).

August 2 | Unregistered Commenterindie artist

Im interested in the Facebook workaround, Ben...

August 2 | Unregistered CommenterFreddy

Great post, Jason - absolutely agree on every point.

August 2 | Unregistered CommenterDarin

I remember from an article posted here that facebook has been regarded as a "receiving" culture whereas twitter was a "broadcast" culture. There are different expectations that come with celebrity status. Obviously, there will be a broadcast culture for person with celebrity status. The celeb isn't expected to have personal interactions with each and everyone of their million+ followers. But on the ground level of obscurity for unknown artists, the same kind of broadcasting is considered spam = myspace, and now facebook.

Why would you want to use ANY social network for such constant broadcasting unless it would be acceptable due to celeb status? You almost automatically alienate your friends. On the ground level of obscurity, or what I call the "noise floor", you have to do just as much liking and commenting as you do announcing gigs and plugging cd's. If that balance doesn't exist, then you're just like the rest of the spammers.

It's a tough game when you have so many other things on your plate to deal with.

August 2 | Registered CommenterDarryl Reeves

"one who interacts like a human being and not like a desperate band"

perfectly said.

August 2 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Thank you all for reading and for your comments. I truly hope that G+ continues to put the emphasis on sharing between individuals so that it doesn't become just another dumping ground for brands. The good news is that through the use of their Circles function we have the ability to weed out the brands, or at least keep them separate from the actual human beings.

To indie artist: There's absolutely nothing wrong with gig invites and release announcements. But I believe they will have more impact when coming from an individual that from a brand/band. And as someone suggested on my G+ post about this article, if every individual uses their personal G+ account to connect with their friends/fans, you get more bang for your buck that if it's sent from on band profile that has probably been dumped into a circle with all the other bands in the world. That's what happened with MySpace. That's what's happening with Facebook.

Here's to humans talking to humans like humans! ;)

Jason
http://oneworkingmusician.com

August 2 | Unregistered CommenterJason Parker

I haven't deleted my myspace. Actually, most musicians I know still have their accounts. Probably because we got so many messages on myspace back in its heyday that we're still sorting through all of those. :-)

Anyway, I agree that independent musicians should treat their "fans" like human beings on social networking sites. Don't just constantly talk up your music and upcoming gigs with them. But also discuss interesting things going on in your life, places you've been, thought-provoking quotes, funny things that happened, etc. Think of them like your high school buddies, and they will return your respect in kind.

As a songwriter, musician, photographer, after reading TOS on G+ it becomes a G-

August 3 | Unregistered CommenterGminus

Ben, I am interested in messaging the fans from my page as a group, as you mentioned. Is there really a way to do this, I've been searching high and low. Thank you. Kat.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterKat Boelskov

"Ben, I am interested in messaging the fans from my page as a group, as you mentioned. Is there really a way to do this, I've been searching high and low. Thank you. Kat."

You should message each one of your fans individually from your profile page. BTW, facebook fan pages really aren't as effective as some people think. Mailing lists are much more effective. That's why you need to request each of your facebook fans to subscribe to your mailing list.

Here's how to message all people in a Facebook group: http://giacobam.blogspot.com/2011/03/inviting-all-your-friends-to-facebook.html

August 7 | Unregistered CommenterJason Parker

@Sam: Thanks for your view, but to message them from my personal profile, I will need to be friends with them, not just have them on my fanpage. Also 4000+ individual msgs is not really an option.
@Jason: That is one reason I regret setting up a page instead of a group, this is not possible on pages.

And sorry for changing the subject from your article, I hope it is not too bad form. (I'm not used to leaving any comments.)

August 8 | Unregistered CommenterKat Boelskov

"@Sam: Thanks for your view, but to message them from my personal profile, I will need to be friends with them, not just have them on my fanpage. Also 4000+ individual msgs is not really an option."

Hmm.. I don't understand why you need to be friends with your fans to message them from your personal profile. Last time I checked, I am able to message just about anyone on facebook, as far as I know.

I strongly recommend you message people individually. This is really what social media is for, and I think it's a serious missed opportunity that a lot of independent musicians don't take advantage of. I've also had thousands of friends and followers across social media, including myspace, facebook and twitter. And yes, I have messaged every single one of them directly at one time or another.

Believe it or not, people who like your music WANT you to interact with them in this way. You just have to put in the time. It's the only way to develop trust and form lasting relationships with your fans.

You may want to look at Bander http://bander.fm - it give artists and bands free music profiles to promote their music on iPad, iPhone and iPad touch and links to artists Facebook and Twitter updates.

August 12 | Unregistered CommenterBander

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