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It's kind of not ABOUT you

I went to a blogging conference in Chicago the other week. I learned a lot about the business of blogging - how to attract an audience, how to monetise your website (see all the ads all over Music Think Tank? No. Obviously.) and how to rank more highly on the Google searches. All really useful and interesting stuff for someone who does what I do. Oddly, there was almost nothing about how to write - but it wasn’t really that sort of conference.

However, I guess the one ‘takeaway’ point is that when you blog - and if you’re involved in marketing at all (hint: you are), then you should be blogging -  it’s important to remember that your blog’s not about you.

I mean - of course it’s about you - but it’s not about you. 

The goal of the exercise is community
It’s about establishing and developing a group of people that are not configured as ‘audience’ in the old, broadcasting way of thinking about it. This is a club. Better yet - it’s a gathering. If you’re going to blog (you are, aren’t you?) then don’t think of it as ‘announcing’. Think of it as ‘hosting’.

As the host of your blog, you set the topic and some talking points. But the point is what happens next. The discussion that goes on in the comments is by far the more significant part of the exercise - particularly from a marketing standpoint.

It’s a point of real pride for me (though I can scarcely claim any responsibility for the phenomenon) that the comments on Music Think Tank not only outweigh the blog posts themselves - but are of a calibre and insightfulness way above the norm. I mean - indepth analysis, thoughtful consideration and genuine contribution to the debate. Clear, definitive proof of the Wisdom of Crowds idea.

You guys absolutely rock. In every sense.

So… if your own blog - about your music, the artist you represent, your record label, your distribution company or your online music venture - can get the level of discussion we enjoy here, then you’re clearly doing something right. And it’s probably that you’re asking questions, making provocations and starting debates, rather than just declaring, presenting and announcing. 

Forget about the audience
There’s a wider application to this idea. It’s that in the current music environment, this is true of ALL music promotional activities - not just blogs. It’s not about you and the audience any more. It’s about the community.

So, in the spirit of this idea, I’d love to hear what you’re doing to accommodate this shift in emphasis. What works? How do you build community, and how then do you capitalise on that to make a living in the music industries? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s start having this conversation. 

Because it’s not about what I think… 


Reader Comments (11)

The light is going on for me! I started blogging as an alternative to a 'recent sessions' page for my music service (aimed at composers and producers). It was all a bit lame and fluffy. It did, however, help me get work as it provided prospective clients with an insight to my skills, working practices and credibility. Now I'm having a go at some more meaty topics but what I haven't done yet is create (or join) a community. I've got loads of great advice from your '20 things' e-book; I'll be putting it all into practice (adapted for my particular niche) and I'll report back!

Great article, as usual.

I normally don't try the "shameless promotion" angle but seeing you asked... ;)

I've been blogging for a while now on a number of subjects all related to music. I tried making a few dollars out of advertising which was successful on a very minor level, but now that I'm putting together a music business related online course, these blogs have become a great source of qualified prospects and a way to build a community.

I think that people almost see a blog as some sort of "gift" to them that you have provided (as long as the content has value to them), and that is a great way to start a relationship. Reciprocity is powerful!

One of the best things I've done for building a community has been to set up an internet radio station. We play nothing but original Australian music 24/7. I started it as a bit of a hobby but it grew pretty quickly and now has a solid core of bands and muso's who appreciate the airplay and don't mind getting an occasional email from me. Again, the relationship started with me "giving them something" in the way of airplay, now if I send them an email about my new music course there is a good chance they will read it.

If the content is worthwhile, a blog is a very powerful tool.

Now here comes the shameless promotion bit. My blogs are: (tales from my days as a touring roadie)
and the radio station which is at:

Thanks again for a great post.

Cheers, Mark

May 13 | Unregistered CommenterMark Gibson

OK, now that the shameless promotion is out of the way....

I have really enjoyed the blogging process and I am far less intimidated by it now that I have done it for a few weeks now.

I think I am learning the art of trying to engage my potential audience while offering opinions and as of recent pleading for help (see my latest post there)...

I still don't have any strong desire to "sell" anything to least not literally...I just really want to communicate and engage with people and expose my music to more people.

I am hoping that by having that mind-set of just wanting to engage and communicate, that I am building a community that has value to me and those involved in it.

Of course I hope at some point this leads to some kind of fan-base and monetary gain for me, but right now it just feels good getting on with like-minded people.

I can say that it is definately opening up new avenues I had not considered prior to my bloggy-ness. A couple of folks have left me extremely helpful comments (really, like two people!)...but it has steered me in directions I might not have otherwise explored.

pip pip and all that!...and even a yee-haw!

May 13 | Unregistered CommenterMilton

The unintended consequences thing is HUGE. I wrote my 20 Things ebook just as a way to get the information out in another form, and it's provided a springboard into a range of stuff that I would never have considered.


It's connecting on a personal level, exposing the person behind the "brochure", and opening up to conversation. Essentially, blogging puts the humanity into the internet experience, and makes you available to your audience.

Sure, there's an opportunity to provide optional links for folks to "dig deeper" if they're interested, but mostly they will visit you for inspiration, to motivate their own thoughts and actions within their own private lives.

My own blog is personally a way for me to share another side of myself rather than "get fans". It really is an opportunity to expand a sense of personality behind the music. In this way it's revealing of my own inner world, and thus creates a sense of vulnerability, which cuts through any marketing hype.

Tania Rose Blog

May 13 | Unregistered CommenterTania Rose

Thank you Mark for giving me an excuse to post my blog link here, for i too im a shameless promoter.

Got my blog on Its based on indie band quotes and music related articles.

Well as for me, the blog idea came from networking with bands through MySpace. I was conducting a market study of some sorts on how the book gigs effectively as an indie band, and amazed by the answers, advice, rant, experiences the bands would share, i thought to myself 'hey ! why not share this with everyone else! Everybody is in to bloggin, why not me?'

So yes it is about sharing, and offering, and boy does it feel good when you get positive comments.

Everyone can and probably should have a blog if they got ideas and stories they want to share with the world, or at least their 'niche world'. As Tania put it, it helps niches of people dig a little deeper.

I just try to post things I think will be of interest for bands and musicians. We are not to notch critical thinkers yet, there is a learning curve to creative writing, but we hope to get there at some point.

Thats one of the reasons why we post topics essentially made out of band quotes: let others tell it how it is in their music scene.

As for promoting the blog, i just try to use as many tools as i can like craigslist, using good tags (wordpress works wonders for tags), getting in touch with other bloggers, music forums and so on.

As for monetizing, well i don't know if its better to start right away so that my readers are used to the advertisement, or wait until I get a solid community going (hoping that will eventually happen some day)

Any insight you could give on that matter?

Anyways, great post!

a big warm Mruff ! to all of you


With my blog I want to show a little more about our life. Some posts are music related, either articles or short videos like my morning tune up - short clips of uncensored improvised music to greet the new day.
Other post are just about our life, places we visit and the overall feeling of our world. You are invited: Blue Star Blog

May 14 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Blue

Thanks, Andrew. It's true you can talk to yourself all you want, but it's not until you start saying things that other people want to hear that they will start to really listen.

I'd like to give an extra boost to GigDoggy and Peter Blue's blogs, which I follow closely, along with MTT and Andrew's other blogs. I'll be sure to check out some of the others mentioned here as well.

I write a blog for true indie artists over at I try to take the insights I have based on my own experiences, paired with all the great things happening in the industry, and present them in a way that's meaningful and immediately useful for "true indie artists." There are a lot of artists out there who are trying to be successful without "making it" in the traditional sense - folks who want to make their art on their own terms and get it into the heads of the fans that are already out there waiting to hear it.

So my blog posts aren't about showcases, putting a team together, getting signed, etc. - there are plenty of resources already for those who want to follow that path. I'm catering my writing to artists who want to do what they do, free from the influence, guidance, or control of others - while also using the internet to increase the reach of their art and strengthen the bonds with their fans. Artists like me.

I also just launched my own dedicated artist site / video blog at which I'm excited about. My goal over the next year is to really use myself as an example of the ideas I present over at MusicIn2D, taking new technologies and strategies (like Bruce's Momentun-Toward-Celebrity strategy) and putting them into practice using my own art. is the site I will point all my fans and potential fans toward, while readers of MusicIn2D will get a "behind the scenes" perspective, so to speak.

Back to the point at hand, I agree community is key. I monitor my email religiously and respond to as many comments as I can. On I implemented the new Disqus video chat functionality, as well as a "Chat with Clif" button that allows visitors to contact me via GTalk. I look forward to seeing how those work out.

Thanks for listening :)

May 15 | Unregistered CommenterClif

Hey Dubber, looks like you winning that competition is gonna be good for all of us!

I got a bit of a reprimand from chris for being a "confrontational" marketer.

Uhhh but I don't write my blog to make friends!

Hey, it's not that I don't like communities! I like you guys! I just like innovating and monetizing more!

I'm a bad boy blogger. HAHA. I'm the John Chow of music 2.0. HOHOHO

must get a bumpersticker: "I'd rather be monetizing"

May 17 | Unregistered CommenterMatt @ Kurb

Blog about what it takes to create a new widely recognized genre of music.

I'm glad to see everyone posting their blogs here... as well as the fact that people have insightful and bright concepts and ideas to discuss. A couple years ago I read that the internet was to be considered the next step in human evolution, and now it's obvious with blogs and social networking sites that it really is the next step in human evolution.

Keep blogging away, keep commenting away, and in 15 years or so when we have some new technological (or possibly psychic?) means of socializing and communicating and our kids are asking what blogs were, we'll be able to tell them the world probably wouldn't be the same without 'em.

May 20 | Unregistered CommenterDaley

I am glad that you guys got this music think tank together, as I have been following most of you individually on your respective sites for quite a while. I'm also impressed by the calibre of comments here, which provide as much value as the posts themselves.

I think the audience here has the right attitude to online music; it's not about making a quick buck or business opportunism, but enabling musicians to make a living (if possible) from their art - which in turn enables them to make more music - which should benefit us all.

Unfortunately, I'm not living off my own music, but I have some experience (that is to say, a day job) of Internet marketing, and try to share as much knowledge as I can. To this end, I have created a site to help musicians establish a presence on the web. It's not really ready for general release yet, but if you guys could check it out and see what you think, I would really appreciate it.

You can find it at There's a free eBook there that hopefully provides some useful tips for bands new to the Web...or maybe the SEO slant is too much? It's hard to gauge from this end...

May 26 | Unregistered Commenterdan foley

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