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Monday
Jul132009

Look, Lurk, Leap! A Musicians Guide For Finding Managing and Reading Music Blogs

I have been working on the second edition of Music Success in Nine Weeks which will be released in a few weeks and I recently revisited the section about blogs.

I believe that getting reviewed on blogs is critical for every musician because it helps create a bigger footprint for you online, builds awarness and allows for a two- way conversation around your music

Here is a section from the book. To understand blogs I highly suggest you watch these two wonderful videos from the amazing Commoncraft website that explain all you need to know to get started.

STEP 1: Movie Time!

RSS in Plain English - http://www.commoncraft.com/rss_plain_english

Blogs in Plain English - http://www.commoncraft.com/blogs

Now that you have an understanding it’s time to get prepared to manage your blog reading

STEP 2: Create Your Google RSS Reader

Now you know exactly what this is from watching RSS in Plain English. Setting up your RSS Reader is the perfect way to get the information you want (not only from blogs but from also from other sites you frequent) to come to you, instead of having to check constantly to see what blog has been most recently updated.

STEP 3: Create Your Blog Reader Profiles

Blog Reader Profiles are wonderful because they will show the blogger and the reader community that you have visited a blog even if you do not choose to comment each and every time. This leaves a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to you, which shows others what you are interested in.

So, if you visit a blog that has either My Blog Log or Google Friend Connect installed, a photo of you / your band logo will show up on the blog you visited. This is a great way of becoming extra-memorable to bloggers. Each of these takes just a few minutes to set up:

My Blog Log

http://www.mybloglog.com

Look for the green tab at the top of the page that says “join/sign in” and fill out your profile.

Google Friend Connect

http://www.google.com/friendconnect

When you get to this site, press the blue “get started” button and set up your profile. Add your photo, short bio and links to your website, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

STEP 4: Choose A Few Blogs To Get Started – Look, Lurk, Leap!

Before you dive in and just start commenting on blogs I suggest you spend some time reading blogs and understanding the culture of each one you like and the authors who create them. After a few posts you will begin to get a good idea of wheter or not this will be a blog you will return to over and over – add it to your RSS reader so you don’t miss new posts and voilia!

According to some statistics there are currently over 80 million active bloggers today. Blogs, as you know, can be about any topic. A few dozen people read some blogs, while some are read by millions. The vast majority of all bloggers create blogs for no financial gain whatsoever; in fact it usually costs music bloggers money to host their files and maintain their blogs. A blog is usually a private endeavor. Most bloggers create their blogs as a personal outlet where they can talk about their lives, their opinions, and the things that they like and dislike – it’s basically an online diary.

To find blogs that are right for you won’t take long – just dive in and start reading them. The ones that resonate will jump out at you.

Here is a great place to start finding music blogs:

Music Blogs - The Hype Machine

http://hypem.com/

What it is?: From Hype Machine: To put it simply, the Hype Machine keeps track of what music bloggers write about. We handpick a set of kicka** music blogs and then present what they discuss for easy analysis, consumption and discovery. This way, your odds of stumbling into awesome music or awesome blogs are high. This site also tracks the most blogged about artists and songs on their network.

Music Business Blogs

And here are my favorite Music Thought / Music Industry / Music Technology blogs

Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR
Every week we interview a podcaster, blogger or internet radio station programmer
I also write about marketing and PR

http://www.Arielpublicity.com/blog

 

Derek Sivers

http://sivers.org/blog

Daily thoughts for entrepreneurs and musicians.

Hypebot

A journal of music, technology and the new music business.

http://www.hypebot.com/

Artists House

http://www.artistshousemusic.org/

Video interviews with top music industry professionals on a broad range of topics about music and music business.

If you have a favorite blog you read please share it here

Reader Comments (12)

I would also add that every band looking to get ahead should read Musformation.com and put it on their blog list. Similar info to all of the blogs listed above

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Ha ha. It's great reading this article as I have just blogged on my blog about other people's blogs that I like to read. (...too may blogs?)

http://pretensionmusic.blogspot.com/2009/07/to-blog-or-not-to-blog.html

Two blogs that I would have to reccomend would be:

www.newmusicstrategies.com - Advice and information for independent artists and online music businesses. This blog covers many issues encountered by artists in the online music environment and attempts to explore new marketing strategies and services. Many people that read MTT would inevitably know about NMS.

www.createdigitalmusic.com - News, tips, reviews, features, DIY music making, emerging trends, advanced software and experimental interfaces.

Check 'em out and thanks for the article, Ariel.

July 13 | Unregistered CommenterMark Maxwell

Interesting post! And very useful for beginners :)
For artists and bloggers:
www.power.com, www.artistdata.com and www.posterous.com are great websites to manage all your blogs, posts, online social networking sites at once!

I love them three, very useful for spreading the word!

TMV

July 14 | Unregistered CommenterTheMusicVoid

very good post on blogging basics, and how to spread the word about your band/music. learn more blog stuff-

http://www.blogtogreat.com/

July 14 | Unregistered Commenterrob edmond

Thanks - fantastic advice! Another one I find not only useful but a pleasure to read is www.productionadvice.co.uk

Great post ! Here are a couple of my favourites:

http://www.sentricmusic.com/

(Great info on how to make money from your music by getting it "synched")

and

http://www.stevelawson.net

- @solobasssteve as he's known on Twitter is The Man to go to for advice on using Social Media effectively as a musician.

And finally:

http://newmusicstrategies.com/

Essential reading for all indie musicians, in my opinion !

Ian

PS. Thanks to Pete for mentioning http://productionadvice.co.uk, too :-)

July 14 | Unregistered CommenterIan Shepherd

thanks for all of these wonderful suggestions everyone!

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterAriel Hyatt

http://www.greenleafmusic.com for the jazzers among us, but also has great thoughts about the music industry and running an independent label

July 15 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I would like to shamelessly plug www.CreativeDeconstruction.com. We write for artists, and discuss emerging models and strategies for the changing music industry. Great article, thanks!

July 15 | Unregistered Commenterrefe

Good advice as always, Ariel - keep it coming! Posting relevant comments on blogs is of course a useful way of sending traffic to your band's website too (and every band should have their own site!).

On that note, I will also shamelessly plug the Podcomplex blog, which mostly covers music technology but does also have a 'sales and promotion' category for musicians...!

Wiretotheear.com and keyofgrey.com are also worth a look, although not music blogs in the hypebot sense...

July 16 | Unregistered CommenterDan Foley

Thanks for this post. This is a topic which is certainly close to my heart, not because I’m a musician, but because I am a music blogger. I’m not the world’s most widely read or influential music blogger, but I am engaged on a daily basis by bands (actually, it’s usually PR and promo people on behalf of bands…).

Also, I’m not a diarist, so I have to take issue with the “blogs are basically online diaries” statement. Some people use their blogs for that. But, that’s not what blogging is. A blog is just a platform for self-publishing – that’s really the only definition that takes in everyone. And sometimes, engaging the right blogger in the right way can change the course of careers. At very least, it can mean putting bums on seats at shows and money in your pocket as a band.

I’d like to give a few additional pointers to musicians who are trying to get my attention as a music blogger. Here they are.

1) Actually read my blog. I’ve received so many press releases and form letters from promo companies who clearly have not read my blog. This is a waste of everyone’s time, including the sender’s. For instance, I will not write about your crunking crew, because I don’t write about crunking. Only engage me if you think there's a real fit there, that your music is likely to appeal to my readers.

2) Don’t send me a press release. Send me an email or DM me on Twitter, call me by name, and tell me what it is you want of me specifically with regard to your band. Love notes work better than form letters.

3) Make it easy for me to promote you by offering me some resources. Send me links to songs, to pictures I can use in the post, to band bios (brief ones), anything you can think of that will provide me a solid basis for writing about you.

4) Offer me free stuff. Invite me to shows and get me in for free. Let me meet you back stage. Buy me a beer (just one will do – I’m not looking to be a hanger-on). Give me a CD, or a download password. I might still point out what I don’t like about the show, or the song, or whatever. But, I’m less likely to ignore you completely if you’re nice to me in a measurable way.

5) Say thank you in a follow up email or DM after I've published the piece, and at least consider giving me a link on your website or MySpace page. A simple and sincere 'thanks' goes a long way, and traffic-generating links go even further.

I hope this is helpful to everyone. And thanks Ariel for the post, ;-)

July 21 | Unregistered CommenterRob J

Thanks for the advice! Looking for feedback on this musician's blog: sacbut.wordpress.com. Suggestions? Recommendations?

July 28 | Unregistered CommenterSquizzi

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