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« MusicThinkTank Weekly Recap: Is Your Music in an Art Gallery or at Ikea? & More | Main | Turn Your CD into a Kick-Ass Marketing Tool »
Friday
Apr202012

How to Use Internet Trends to Market Your Band

If you use the Internet frequently, chances are that you’ve been noticing a few things on the rise: meme images or animated .gif’s, certain types of videos, infographics, etc.

Why not use these viral trends and put your own spin on it to create fun, engaging, easy-to-share content with your fans?

  • Memes: Meme images have exploded online, especially in geek culture. These images have spread to billions, each with their own take of the images, from “Y U NO” guy to the ever so lovable Nyan cat. You can create your own memes for free using generator sites like weknowmemes.com and memegenerator.net. You can make it more personal fans by talking about specific points in your band’s history, favorite songs or themes, and also inviting them to create some of their own. Most meme websites also provide multiple examples of each image in case you don’t understand the logic behind that type of meme. Read a few, then create your own. Here are some that I made for my band, The Slants, that generated some great buzz from our fans:   Two of these are played off of some reoccurring themes in the band: our guitarist Johnny always being asleep (then being victim to pranks) and our van breaking down frequently when on tour (we’re always on tour).
  • Animated .gif’s: When the world wide web first came to rise about fifteen years ago, animated .gif images were all the rage (probably because XHTML, Flash, and Javascript weren’t around yet). They quickly died out, but in recent years, they made a huge resurgence on the social media site, Tumblr. Many of them play off of Internet meme’s but you could also create an animated .gif of your band playing, a video blog with the text typed below, or something memorable.
  • Trending videos: Sometimes certain types of videos gather huge momentum and dozens of spin-offs are then created. For a few short months, it seemed liked “Shit ____ Says” were the only videos being made online. Most of them played off of general stereotypes (it started with with a group of Canadians that amassed a huge following after the release of their first few videos). Only a handful of bands jumped on this, but the first few each got several hundred thousand views on their videos.  For example, the band High Society had only a few thousand views on their music videos, but had almost 240,000 views on their “Shit Band Guys Say” video. Other examples include Nyan Cat, dub step or dub step remixes, or parody videos of popular songs.
     
  • Infographics: Infographics spread quickly because they can take complex data, statistics, or trends and disseminate the information in a quick, easy to read manner. Why not make infographics with interesting data about your band to share with fans? You can also use sites like visual.ly to generate infographics that take information straight from your social media sites. For example, you can compare your Twitter account with anyone else’s account: a rival band, the president, your hero, your friends, etc. Why not go the extra step and create an infographic to use as an EPK? Instead of a text heavy one-sheet, have one that highlights important data (such as number of fans, social media reach, online traffic, number of albums sold, etc.).

Have some fun with your fans by being a part of the new Internet culture, but also be aware of things that are special to your target audience. For instance, my band released a music video a few months ago that was targeting a very niche audience: the anime convention world. Because we often play at conventions and many of our fans enjoy Cosplay, we wanted to have some fun with it so we invited them to dress up and be a part of the video. Since its release, the video has been shared by other anime fans, magazines, tv shows, and websites. The quick rise in popularity led to the video being picked up by an International tv show which will be debuting this month in over 80 countries around the world.

 

 

Pay attention to the world around you and see how you can put your own spin on it for your music. If the content gets shared, you might be able to reach a new audience. If anything, you’ll be able to enjoy some additional lighthearted engagement with the people that support you most.

 

Simon Tam is owner of Last Stop Booking, a full service agency that offers tour booking and music consulting services. Simon has appeared on stage at over 1,200 live events and has traveled North America presenting ideas about the music industry. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at www.laststopbooking.com

Reader Comments (6)

Great article, and I appreciate the lack of jargon. As a 20 something I'm certainly aware of internet culture, but you give a kind of birds eye view of what's been going on the past few years that helps all the random viral phenomena collectively make sense.

Also, I had no idea I could make my own memes. I know my continued use of lower case belies the sentiment but: I'm excited.

April 20 | Unregistered CommenterJason Reeves

I'm sorry but I think trying to use internet memes to market anything is a pretty terrible idea. When the motivation behind the applied meme is more than just to make a joke and is used to promote a band or brand, it makes it less fun. To chose a large scale example, it's why the flashmobbing craze of mobile clubbing disappeared when T-Mobile employed the concept - they made it uncool.
Now I know that your band is of course not as bad as some corporate entity and "the man," but using memes for personal gain is playing with fire. They are things your fans should make for you if they want to, but you shouldn't make them yourself for yourselves because that's uncool and being uncool is one of the worst things that a band can be perceived as. You're right that they appeal to a niche audience, but often that audience is hard to please. People on the internet can be cruel and unusual.
Take for example 4chan where a lot of internet memes and viral videos gain footing, the slogan of Anonymous is "We are Anonymous, we do not forgive, we do not forget." The only way I could perceive this working without it seeming so very contrived and shallow is that it is well acknowledged that the band members are /b/tards and are very involved in the internet and its culture already. You're kinda playing with fire here otherwise.

April 21 | Unregistered CommenterJonny Dark

Simon,

Love these creative ideas. So many ways for bands to show their own personality and have fun doing it. Looking forward to adding them to the repertoire.

Thanks,
Greg

Music Powered Strategies

April 21 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Brent

I am a reggae artist from Miami beach Florida.

Johnny -

Everything depends on your band and your target audience. I'd have to disagree with you that "but often that [niche] audience is hard to please." I believe that the niche audience is the easiest to please because they are so defined in their interests and those interests involve/revolve around the band and it's culture. I would say that the most difficult audience to please would be the general one.

Internet Memes aren't contrived corporate campaigns. They're intended to be fun, ironic, and to amuse people. In this day in age, it's worthwhile to try out things and take a few risks. This isn't Anonymous/4Chan, those folks are referring to invasions of privacy/freedom, not attempting some humorous ways to talk about a band.

Now if the band's vibe or presence is a very serious one, then of course the ideal wouldn't be a match for them. But in the age of Web 2.0 where the artist-fan relationship is pretty transparent, i think fans actually appreciate some these kinds of things. After I launched a few in my band and shared on Facebook, it spurred many of our fans top create their own and share - in fact, it quickly became the most popular folder on our Facebook profile with the highest levels of engagement.

May 14 | Registered CommenterSimon Tam

Nice post. Thanks for the tips. The tips you have listed especially infographics and trending videos are going viral in the internet now. It will be really helpful for small bands who are trying to become famous and to keep touch with their fans.

July 10 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID SCOTT

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