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Let's Talk About Google+ For Artists

You would be hard pressed to NOT have heard of Google+, the newest social networking and sharing tool from Google which after one month of existence boasts around 18 million users. Artists are already bombarded with a plethora of tools to help them connect with their fans, but Google+ truly adds some unique features which have great potential for integration into a musician’s marketing arsenal. 


Google+ consists of a content stream, photos, sparks, hangouts, and chat. While these features are nothing groundbreaking, the feature pulling all of the others together is Circles. Circles allow you to put contacts into different, self-defined groups, which control  what content you see and share. Since there are a number of good articles explaining the basics of the platform, let’s get into how each feature may be utilized by an artist. 

Note: Currently only personal accounts exist and Google has suggested that businesses (artists) postpone creating accounts until special business accounts currently under development are made available.  


Circles is where the magic of Google+ takes place. You can create as many Circles as you want, and add people by simply dragging their info into a Circle. Once your Circles are created, you can share content to select Circles as well as view content streams from specific circles. Artists should start by importing their mailing list addresses into Google+, posting their info on their existing marketing channels (facebook, twitter), and inviting those not yet using the service to join. 

Now that you have your contacts, it is time to organize your Circles. It should be noted that your Circles are private, so others cannot view or be offended by your orginizational decisions. Some possible Circles include:

  1. Industry Representatives: You probably only want to share updates concerning your latest releases, videos, and press content with industry folk who may be following you as they are less concerned about the burrito you just consumed.
  2. Fans: This is where you can share the content your fan base enjoys reading. Let them know about your whereabouts, experiences, touring or recording progress, post photos and music etc…
  3. Breakdown the Fan Circle into smaller circles to have more defined targeting. For example, create Circles for different areas of the country and international fans to ensure you aren’t over promoting shows to fans thousands of miles away. If your fan base includes young teens, young adults, and older adults, consider categorizing these contacts as well. Each group prefers to be spoken to in different tone and filled in on different activities. Sometimes even male and female Circles make sense.
  4. Other artists: Much like yourself, other artists are learning from experiences, trying out new marketing ideas, using new services etc…Follow what others are doing and share what you know with others in your position. 
  5. Following: Much like Twitter, you can follow others without being Circled back. This is good for keeping up with informative figures who may not call for reciprocal sharing. 

Knowing which content your various Circles enjoy receiving will help ensure that only the most suitable posts make it to their stream.


Sparks are similar to your RSS feed or Google Alerts. Simply add some interests and topics you’d like to follow and check it ever so often to stay up to date.


This is another great feature for artists. Hangouts are hosted group video/audio/text chats. If you’ve used Ustream, it’s a little similar but even more interactive considering you can see and hear the other members in the Hangout.  It is really a great way to allow your fans to get to know you as well as for you to get more acquainted with your fans. Host special Hangouts for your different Circles and maybe play an acoustic set, have an open question and answer session, or just let your fans connect with one another.  

Daria Musk performs in a Hangout.

The features are there, but the success of Google+’s ability to provide artists with the ultimate marketing tool will largely depend on how many users ultimately adopt the platform. Overall, Google+ will provide artists a way to more meaningfully connect with their audience.

Please share your thoughts and ideas concerning Google+ for artists as this is unexplored territory that begs for creative implementation.  If you aren’t yet a part of the club, post your email and I or another kind soul will send you an invite.


Scott Horton helps recording artists achieve the ‘sound in their head’ by providing his technical and creative sonic input through his online mixing service Virtual Mix Engineer

Reader Comments (26)


Great article. I'll make sure the artists i work with read this.


July 23 | Registered CommenterBlake Easter

The suggested possible circles are an interesting starting point. When people start to "add" you on G+, they are just names, and you can't see their circles, so how will you know which circle of yours to put them into?

Kee[ping the circles well organised like that sounds like a lot of work, but ultimately might just be worth it.

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Roberts

Circles is the killer feature for me. Currently I have two fb pages, one for personal and one for business. I have a page or two and an app page.. Thing.. Whatever it is. Ultimately it means it all gets used less as I don't use the business account as much as I should. If I had a social network site that saw me as an individual with different outlooks but not wanting to share them with everyone then I'm certainly bought in to Google+

I know Circles isn't the only great thing but that alone makes a massive difference.

I wonder when fb will introduce Circles and what will they decide to call it?

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterGuy

Facebook has this thing called lists. It works in a similar manner as "circles". You can add friends to a certain list and share certain information with that list. It's pretty much the same.

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I have used Google+ only a little bit. I notice that people are adding me to their circles and that feels good and all. I also add people to my circles and again, I feel good. I can see some potential in many of the features that are mentioned above, however, I have to say that I feel that the platform is slightly cumbersome. When I say that, I feel a little nit picky, but there is one thing that has really been holding me up.

When someone adds me to their circles, I go to add them to mine, but the little popup dialogue box that shows up when I mouse over the persons info doesn't tell me anything about them. I therefore don't know what circle to put them in. It seems the only way to find anything out about the person is to view their profile. This is a pain. The other possibility, and this is definitely worth considering, is that I don't know what I am doing at all and the information that I am looking for is readily available and somehow, even with my AMAZING powers of observation, I missed it. This has happened to me in the past and it seems that it could happen many more times in the future.

I haven't really used any of the seemingly high-test features such as hangouts yet but I would like to get into that someday, see what it is all about. I did bookmark some stuff in the sparks thing, but I haven't looked at it since. I think that is going to take work for me to actually use it. We'll see.

Tom Siegel

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterTom Siegel

Great post

Will definitely spread the word.
Thanks for this.

(email inc. ;)

Badly need a feature like Hangouts - look forward
to trying it out and seeing where it can take things..


July 28 | Unregistered CommenterR Mitchell

Hopefully Google never allows for non-personal pages. It's not necessary.

I know social media experts need endless new sites to blog about, but musicians do not actually need endless new mandatory marketing tips.

If you've already got a web presence, you don't need to be getting new ones every month still. If you make good music people like, your music will get itself on Google +.

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

I sent a suggestion to G+ weeks ago that they let musicians do mostly one-way hangouts with more than 10 people so you could do live performances on the site. Your screenshot of that happening in Hangouts is impressive on its surface, but Daria Musk is only performing for six people. I'm not a big fan of pissing off Fans 10 through x that they can't get into a live show hangout, not everyone responds in a positive way to being shut out of something. Maybe if I were U2 or Coldplay, I could lock fans out of something and it just makes them pine for me more, but not where I am. This will keep people like me off G+ for this sort of thing and staying on UStream or LiveStream.

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterMark Scudder

Still hesitant on Google+. Waiting for it to get "easier" to manage people.

Expanded Article:

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterWells Baum

I think any web technology which can help maximise artist exposure is good thing, however I am starting to feel a little worn out with all the different social media sites. It's starting to feel like spinning plates! Who really has the time to be tweeting, updating their status and building social networks on dozens of sites?

Also how many engaged members does Google+ really have? My suspicions are they are quoting everyone with a Google account (18 million), but the majority of those are likely made up of individuals using Gmail or Adwords/Analytics, etc. How many of those are going to adopt Google as their next social platform? Getting people to use Google+ will be the search giants biggest hurdle.

Great article, and also great comments.

I have a theory - the electronic evolution of humans and the rapidly expanding developments in social media platforms has spawned new definitions of logic. Previously uncharted synapses are now regularly required to make sense of setting up and using these things.

I'll take a deep breath an embark on Google + and its circles, which I'm sure will consume many hours of precious time, but hopefully be worth it.

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterSarah


Had some good stuff regarding Google +. A lot of people are starting to adopt it and you might have heard a news report recently stating that Google +'s traffic was starting to trend downwards. One thing they don't tell you is how much is going private, which is a great deal of Google +'s traffic.

It has it's work cut out for it, but the platform does have a lot of potential. We'll see where it goes.

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterSam

There's a lot of hype going on about this Google+ stuff and it's impossible to ignore, wanna check it out myself! Will you please send me an invite?

July 29 | Unregistered CommenterVad

I find it quite ironic that I can not share this to my Google+ from this site...

I think this is the perfect time for independent musicians to get on Google+. Check out my page:

Sam Bhattacharya - Rock Guitarist and Songwriter

Let me know if you want an invite!

I find it incredibly annoying that I have to organize the circles to make targets. We have fans all over the world -with Facebook we post content in their native languages AND THEY'RE ALREADY ORGANIZED AND TARGETED THAT WAY FOR US!

G+ so far is clunky, slow, with almost no useful features. Hangout has proved to be near useless, a cool idea, but not a lot of bites from our fans.

Also, msging is not intuitive. Writing on fans, and other artists walls is part of the social fun of FB to send out public comments and elicit discussion. G+ is missing that element completely.

It's popular with early adopters, and the zealotry exists. But sadly, G+ has not been able to backup it's "Greatest thing since Final Cut (lol, that was a joke)" claim.

Oddly, speaking out against G+ causes anger in people. Not the sign of a good product, but the sign of lemming directed advertising .

Having to upload a video to the videos section, vs putting a YouTube link is too time and bandwidth consuming. And ridiculous considereing Google's relationship with YouTube.

I want G+ to be great so baaaaadly! But so far it is like wearing pants in public, just something annoying that society is making me do!

July 30 | Unregistered CommenterTotal Dicks

I'm still really hesitant about Google+. I've spent a lot of energy on getting my Facebook fan page ready. Maybe if I check back on this article's comments from time to time, I can get an increasingly clear idea about whether it's worth the effort or not. Thanks to all of you who made comments toward that end. :)


July 30 | Unregistered CommenterBen

"Having to upload a video to the videos section, vs putting a YouTube link is too time and bandwidth consuming. And ridiculous considereing Google's relationship with YouTube."

No, you can link any youtube videos directly onto your "Posts" stream. Check out my Google+ page that I've linked above and you can see how I embedded my youtube video "Greensleeves and Silent Night rock guitar solo."

BTW, I advise against getting too caught up in any one social networking site. We all remember what happened to Myspace, right? The same can definitely happen to Facebook. Things can change in the blink of an eye, because that's how fickle people are on the internet.

You can't ignore the fact that Google is the most popular web site in the whole world right now. It is also an extremely well-trusted name. That's why Google+ needs to be watched closely to see where it goes. Nobody can predict the future.

Initially was impressed, however, afraid of the Terms and Conditions ...

By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

Could be over-reacting, but our attorney said to nuke it - and we did.

The Terms and Conditions - I'd be really interested to hear if any more of you have experience and/or advice where this is concerned. Thanks to 'Scared' for including it in this discussion.

July 31 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Whoa, what? Your attorney said not to upload your music to Google? Or do they even allow that yet?


July 31 | Registered CommenterBen Travis

If you look at the privacy policy for Google +, Google's privacy policy is what is governing. So it's not very different from any other of their products. They have little variations like the +1 service and the ability opt-out or things like that, but there's really nothing different. The other one I noticed was the location based services and their ability to show you what is nearby.

Overall, if you're afraid of using your Gmail, then I wouldn't use Google +, otherwise there really isn't enough of a difference in policy to say otherwise. Reading their full privacy policy should be torture in some countries; that thing is brutal.

July 31 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Thanks, Sam. That takes a little of my paranoia away. :)

July 31 | Unregistered CommenterBen Travis

I wouldn't worry that much about the "Terms and Conditions." They may sound scary. But Google has to cover their butt from potential lawsuits.

And let's get real. Most of us (all of us?) are independent musicians, right? Like it or not, that means you and I are basically unknown to the world. Therefore, you WANT your music to be reproduced and used everywhere as widely as possible in the hopes of spreading it. And your music will spread all over the internet anyway if people like it.

I uploaded some rock guitar solo videos on youtube. And guess what happened? Those videos started appearing on a whole bunch of different web sites I never heard of. So, am I going to track down all those webmasters and sue them? Of course not!

Just make sure you register your songs with the U.S. Copyright Office. And if someone steals your song outright and makes a hit out of it, then you can go and sue them.

Should be one helluva platform for the artists!! C'mon with it!

August 7 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Thanks Scott, I haven't looked into this yet...

October 2 | Unregistered CommenterOnline Mixing

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