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Wednesday
Jan192011

Seven Rules for Effective Social Networking For Artists

Whenever I read about effective social networking for artists, I see the same few discussions concentrating primarily on examples of people who had traction prior to the use of social networks and found that they were able to continue to build their fan base using these tools.  

Amanda Palmer is the most common example.  She is excellent at engaging her fans and followers, but she has many of those fans and followers because of the significant backing of a label.  While her path is interesting, and it does provide useful lessons for artists just starting out, I don’t think all of her techniques and approaches apply to the beginner.  As such, my goal here is to discuss some of the things that I, as a more unknown artist, have found effective in building and maintaining a modest following.

The most essential point to note in my approach to social media is that it begins with the word social. In order to generate interesting discussions and interactions, you must follow exactly the same practices as you would at a party.  You wouldn’t just stand up on a table in the middle of a room full of people and shout, “come to my show!” or, “buy my music!”  

You need to create engagements where there is a naturally developed interest in your affairs and your music.  If you stick with a party conversation long enough, you’ll inevitably be telling your new friend about your band.  They are a lot more likely to check you out than someone you walk up to on the street and hand a flyer.  

In addition, when you use social media properly, you are promoting the product “you” (I put you in quotes because the “you” in this case is a public persona and is partially distinct from the true you), not your music.  If you want the music you make to stand alone and develop its own social identity without your persona and personal identity backing it, I’d suggest not bothering.

One of my social-networking experiences centers around trying to get people to come to my performances.  I’ve found that the fact is, locally and at my level, people go to shows because they know and like the performer; People will come to your shows because they meet you at a party, they meet you at a bar, or because you were at their show or event.  

The biggest mistake new bands make is that they believe that people will come see their band because the band makes good music.  Not so!  They will come to your show once because they like you.  They will return to your shows because they like you AND your music.  If your music isn’t good, most people will come once.  If your music is good, most people will still probably come once.  Generating show attendance is an every-show effort.  If you slack even one time, you will feel the effects. 

For me, social media and networking has become the best way I’ve found to generate continued interest, maintain acquaintance-level relationships with large numbers of people, and disseminate works and ideas to help drive show attendance.  The same ideas apply to other aspects of a budding music career as well: driving sales, building word-of-mouth buzz, and accessing those involved with traditional press and media, for example.

So, what are some rules and strategies that work for me?

1. Don’t think of social media as providing an avenue for mass broadcasting.  Think of it as providing an avenue for mass receiving.

Spend most of your time commenting on posts, replying to comments, and answering questions.  If you read the famous book _How to Win Friends and Influence People_ (disclosure: I’ve never actually read it), the fundamental tenets of getting people to like you is to become genuinely interested in their affairs and to spend most of your time being a good listener.  

Social networking works just the same. I personally find that Facebook has a good interface for listening.  I have tried to use Twitter for this purpose as well, but found it difficult to follow the unthreaded conversations and noticed that most people act as broadcasters, but do not reciprocate as listeners.  Twitter constructs what I consider to be a “broadcast culture” whereas Facebook is built around a “listener culture.”  Be a listener first and a broadcaster second.

2. Interact!

Although I have over 2000 Facebook friends, I work very hard to keep up with all of the posts in my feed.  I believe that it is my responsibility and duty to read what everyone else on my friend list is saying if I expect them to read and react to what I am saying.

On Facebook, I comment whenever I have something to add to a conversation.  Commenting also serves as a way for me to subscribe to a status discussion thread via e-mail and to receive updates on that thread.  I probably comment on seventy-five to one-hundred posts per day.  I receive about 200 e-mails per day containing comments on threads that I’ve commented on or have been tagged in.  

I genuinely enjoy using Facebook for this purpose because it allows me to stay in touch with and be, at least superficially, embedded in a large community that I cannot interact with in person on a regular basis.  I remain connected to more people than I could if I had to regularly call and e-mail the same large set of individuals.  Thus, Facebook is my primary “news” source, or probably better, my “grapevine.”

I have become known for “liking” things in sufficient quantity to motivate local booker Agent Bishop to create a t-shirt dedicated to that trait. I wrote a post recently on my blog about why I believe Myspace failed and how it can be saved.  The very brief synopsis is that Myspace is a social networking site that does not allow any social networking.  You can’t communicate with your “friends” in any way.  Being friends with someone on Myspace is nearly identical to not being friends with them.  Facebook connections, if used properly, provide a means to maintain a relationship.

3. Say interesting things and people will become interested in you.

Number 3 is my seven rules equivalent of the financial advice: buy low, sell high.  It sounds obvious, but most people don’t follow this rule.  In fact, it is perhaps the most frequently overlooked.  Don’t post things that interest you alone.  Post things that interest others.  Don’t just repeat what other people are talking about, but instead add a unique perspective on things. If you were one of 700 people in my feed telling me that Michael Jackson died, you were not contributing to the conversation.

Just one small recent example for illustrative purposes.  Lots of people were talking about the television show “Mad Men.”  One of the posts included a “spoiler alert.”  I am not a fan of the show and I am even less a fan of people emulating the characters on the show and wanted to express my distaste for it.  I could have written a reactive “Mad Men sucks” in response to being tired of so many associated status updates.  

Instead, I approached it in my favorite manner - attempt to include both humor and serious commentary. I said, “Mad Men SPOILER ALERT: All the men on the show are going to act all sleazy and misogynistic and lots of viewers will idolize them and not recognize that the show is a critique of the culture, not a celebration. Don’t look up to, and dream of being, terrible people. These are villains, not heroes. I only saw the first 3 episodes, but my insides crawled out of my body after that, so I had to stop.”

Almost immediately, dozens of comments came in and a real discussion that transcended far beyond “Mad Men” is a good/bad show happened.  In response to the thread, multiple people started other threads, tagging me and addressing the discussion on my thread.  Important to note: there was no hostility contained anywhere in the discussion. I like to believe that everyone involved enjoyed engaging in the conversation.  

I find that creating difficult and controversial conversations engages people more than any other type of conversation, as long as it can be done without anyone walking away with hurt feelings. I also love to post on strange topics that generate discussion like genital graffiti in green rooms and pictorial summaries of bathrooms seen on tour.

4. Hone your identity: both your visual identity and your personality.

Honestly, I think of my public persona as a bit of a cartoon.  I have a fairly absurd mustache (which has its own Facebook fan page and song).  I say relatively outrageous things.  I post photos and videos of myself doing things that may seem silly.  You know what?  It works.  In terms of music, your band doesn’t have a personality, the individuals in the band have personalities.  

Communicating with others while hiding behind a band identity feels impersonal and provides a barrier to the type of intimacy and access that friends, fans, and followers want and need to become engaged in your affairs.  So, focus on using your personal accounts and de-emphasize the use of your band accounts.  The personal account is not really a reflection of you in absolute truth.  

We’re all fakers on the Internet, so I embrace that and use it as an opportunity to pick and choose the traits, feelings, and ideas that I want others to know about and I choose not to reveal the rest.  I am not “lying,” but rather creating a sort of caricature of myself.  

I get recognized all the time by people I don’t know.  They’ve often just seen my band’s flyers or maybe saw me at a club once.  I can only attribute this to my mustache and glasses.  This essentially makes me a public figure.  Someone once said to me that the citizens of my city in the Boston metro area (Somerville) would be more likely to recognize me than the Mayor.  While it does mean that I can’t cut this damn mustache off, it also means that people remember my image.  

Thus, I am careful to include clear photos of my distinguishing features throughout my social media presence, to reinforce that visual association and contribute an image aesthetic to the character I portray on the Internet. I stick to method acting.  That is, my comments and interactions on Facebook come from my adopted persona, which differs from my real persona only marginally, but I rarely discuss my intimate personal affairs except in the context of developing my public identity.  You are what you say you are.  The truth will always be there, even if you try to hide it, so don’t get too hung up on it.

5. Share your experiences with others and allow them to experience vicariously.

How many times have we spoken with great excitement about our friend meeting a celebrity, participating in some great event, or accomplishing some great goal?  If you’re like me, you will answer “a lot” to this question.  We band folks often take it for granted, but every little thing we do is something that we once dreamed of doing and countless others still dream of doing.  

You know how to play an instrument?  You have written a song?  You have performed in front of people?  You opened for a band you love?  These may seem like baby steps toward some grandiose goal of becoming the greatest band of all time, but to your friends, family, and fans, these are exciting experiences that they are sharing with you.  The more you give them insight into those experiences, the more people feel close to you.

When my band was on tour last Summer, we focused on determining the optimal ways to leverage our touring experience.  We had a great time, but we knew that having a great time and playing a mix of great shows, mediocre shows, and sub-mediocre shows really wasn’t the most “valuable” thing we could get out of touring.  

So, we made sure to do a few things: 1. we brought along (the beautiful and talented) photographer Kelly Davidson to assist us with documentation of the experience and 2. we made sure to have fun that extended beyond traditional music performance and to document that fun. The result?  Countless people were excited about our experience.  Countless people commented on how great our tour went.  

None of these people knew a single thing about our shows.  Instead, they saw us frolicking (and acting silly) in a park with life-size displays of dinosaurs eating Confederate soldiers. They saw us performing acoustic versions of our songs in front of Foamhenge, the full-scale styrofoam replica of Stonehenge.  They saw us singing in front of the burned-out metal shell of a giant 60+ foot Jesus statue that had been struck by lightning.  

These experiences were special and we posted countless photos and videos depicting our experiences.  Sure, we posted photos and videos of the shows we played, but the oddities and the whimsical settings of the other elements of the tour were what people perseverated on.

6. You first, music second.

Again, concentrate on your identity and become ubiquitous.  It’s okay to be known for things other than your music.  I am a bit of a harmless prankster and had 15 seconds of fame recently when I dedicated a new National Park to the mummified squirrel (I named him Skippy) that had been sitting on my street for 4 months.  

I posted a video of it and it became a bit of a local “sensation” earning me the cover story in the Somerville News (slow news week I guess).  Numerous people found me that way and have since been coming to see my bands perform.

Admittedly, one guy I met recently had heard of me and thought that maybe I was a “Paris Hilton” of the Boston music scene.  That is, I was known, but not for any good reason.  Anyway, Paris Hilton or not, knowing me and/or knowing of me is very likely to lead you to hearing my music.  At that point, of course, the music must speak for itself.

7. Slow and steady wins the race.

The best thing you can do for yourself is abandon the idea that some magical music-industry Pegasus will come and pick you up and fly off into the great blue yonder.  Never use the term “viral” to describe the dissemination of content.  I believe that 99% of viral videos went “viral” because someone spent a ton of money to make it happen.  (See this article for support of that theory.)  

You should never expect that your music, your videos, your status updates, your persona, or anything else will be instantaneously championed by the Internet community.  Overnight sensations and rags to riches stories are rare and probably fake.  A lot of PR campaigns are built around convincing the public that a celebrity was simply plucked from the common folk for the purpose of rallying support behind that person.  It’s fake.  It just didn’t happen that way.

So, you should not expect any kind of mythical, magical occurrence either.  In order to succeed, you will need to commit yourself to years of constant, hard work generating content, disseminating content, and building a foundation brick by brick.  

I view my content - videos, songs, status updates, etc. - as tiny pieces in a cumulative effort.  I have videos that have 30,000 views (from hard work pushing them) and I have videos that I think are really excellent that have 100 views.  I don’t let that bother me.  I never use the success of a single item as a metric for my overall success.  

I regularly revisit old content (in posts just like this one) and expect that those 100 views may become 10,000 next year.  In fact, I can work hard and make sure that any single video gets 10,000 views.  It’s just a matter of deciding whether that is the best focus for my time and energy.

We all dream of the “set it and forget it” Internet.  That is, we create a page, post some content, and walk away and people eventually start discovering our work and the support pours in.  Again, it just doesn’t happen.  You want 10,000 people to see your video?  You need to ask 10,000 people to watch your video.

There is no easy breaking point either - 30,000 views doesn’t lead to 60,000 views.  If you want people to continue coming, you need to keep inviting them.  You need to promote every single show you play.  You need to update content on your blog regularly.  You need to post interesting status updates, videos, and songs at a regular and consistent rate.  You must constantly feed.

A lot of people lean toward putting out single songs every month rather than a single album once a year, for example.  My goal is to keep interesting content pouring out almost every single day.  I am talking about a serious and continuing commitment to creating and disseminating meaningful content.  

I am always simultaneously working on projects on all different scales so that no one is just waiting around for big news.  There are always little bits of news filling in the gaps.  In short, work hard, and don’t get distracted by small successes!

Feel free to make friends with/follow me on Facebook and Twitter as I am always seeking to interact with more people having interesting conversations.

Michael J. Epstein is an artist, writing and performing with The Michael J. Epstein Memorial LibraryDo Not Forsake Me Oh My DarlingNeutral Uke Hotel, and The Motion Sick. He is also developing a Boston-centric music licensing company, Launch Over. Along with writing about his bands, he frequently posits his thoughts on the present and future of music on his blog.

References (1)

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  • Response
    This morning there are some great articles in various other publication that point to something I've been thinking about for a while now: building a career as an Indie is all about directly engaging with people who like what you...

Reader Comments (32)

Commenting to follow comments. I look forward to all your thoughts.

Hi Michael - excellent post for musicians seeking to build their online profiles. I would encourage you, though, to consider recommending Facebook Pages for musicians intent on building a large presence there, for several reasons. Take you, for example: You're already over 2,300 friends, and as you continue to add them, you'll find that the door slams shut at 5,000. What will you do then?

Having a Page also provides useful analytic and demographic information, as well as the ability to geographically target messages (especially useful when touring). I blogged about it here if you want more reasons it's a good idea. Note: I don't work for Facebook; I do manage a musician (Curt Smith of Tears For Fears).

January 19 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Wszalek

Arlene, not being able to contact "likers" of a page makes a page relatively useless in my opinion. Few of the these people actually see updates from the pages in my experience. Pages also don't provide notifications making it extremely difficult to stay in touch with people commenting on your updates and posting things of their own on your page. It's a very frustrating situation to say the least. The 5000 limit is certainly a problem and anyone that hits 5000 can worry about it then. If you're under 5000, I adamantly say stick with the profile. As I also said, using a profile means that I can reciprocate and comment on others' status updates. I can't follow the "likers" of a page and I think that commenting on others' updates (when appropriate and interesting) is probably more important than anything else.

Sorry for the additional comment, but I missed an important piece. You also said, "Having a Page also provides useful analytic and demographic information, as well as the ability to geographically target messages."

You actually can't send messages from pages. You can send "updates." When you send an update, I promise you that less than 5% of people see it. I'd guess that maybe 1% of people see it. This is changing under the new mail system on FB where updates go into the "other" folder, but I still think they will be almost completely lost in the noise. Do you get any tangible response from sending these updates? I would be shocked if you do.

Thanks for a great article! Sounds basic, but it's important stuff that most of us tend to forget. Keep the great work. Best from Portugal!

January 19 | Unregistered CommenterLele Melo

Hi Michael, I really enjoyed reading your article and have it bookmarked on my Delicious links for re-reading and spreading around to my artist friends. I think much of what you're saying is in line with folks who call themselves professional marketers or publicity people, but there's a couple key differences with your article:

1) You talk from experience and give some very direct and concrete examples of how you have applied the principles with success. The authenticity shines through.

2) You talk about frequency and content of posting in a very concrete way that I have been looking around for and haven't been able to find until this article. I'm not looking for a formula per se but rather some marks along the trail that others have left that will help me find my own way.

Thanks for this and I wish you the best on all your projects. You have provided a great example of some funny and interesting content!

January 19 | Registered CommenterGary Frank

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the responses. Did you actually read my blog post? I did mention in it that the lack of ability to comment elsewhere as the "Page" was a negative. People not seeing the Updates is also an issue, but as you say should be mitigated by the messaging protocol changes FB is implementing.

With respect to notifications, I can only speak to Curt's experience. It would be nice to have them, certainly, but then again, even with over 6,000 "likers" of his Page, he has no trouble checking in a few times a day, seeing the new posts and comments, and responding when he wants or needs to.

I do wonder, if you're opposed to Pages, how you'd suggest that a band handle things on Facebook? Are they each supposed to build up individual fan bases on FB, as opposed to creating a following for the band itself?

Last, saying "worry about it after you get to 5,000" seems like you're selling yourself a bit short, as I suspect you'll find yourself there sooner rather than later :).

Best wishes to you,
Arlene

January 19 | Unregistered CommenterArlene Wszalek

Michael,
You're sort of right about viral videos however one does not have to spend lots of many to make their video go so-called viral. There are many video view/play increaser programs available out there for a few bucks or even free shareware (beware malware/viruses though).
All one does is enter the youtube link in the app and set it for a jillion or however many hits and then go to sleep and the auto-bot does it thing and creates artificial views. The next day the video can wind up in the top viewed list to get people's attention and to hopefully view it. If a video is liked by users then it can be forwarded or shared to their friends thus creating actual/real views.

Youtube/MySpace/Facebook server admins create countermeasures to stop the artificial view bots/progs and subsequently the programmers eventually find a way to thwart the countermeasure and they release upgraded versions of their bots. It's a back and forth thing.
-Bill M.

January 19 | Unregistered CommenterBill Murphy

Arlene, I did read your post, but I just don't agree. Let me also mention one more thing that is an issue so you can see where my pile of concerns about pages comes from: when you create events with a page, you cannot invite fans and then additionally, you cannot message attendees. When you create events with a profile, you can invite some or all of your friends (targeting is annoying, but you can manage and keep lists within that system) and you can contact the people attending (or not attending, but invited) the event. So, anyway, I stick to my claims that pages are extremely crippled. If I hit 5000, I will be forced to just direct people to my pages. (In fairness, I do have pages for my bands, but I spend most of my energy on my profile.) So, you are correct on that, BUT, I will have tremendously superior access to at least those first 5000 people. Some people actually just end up making multiple profiles to avoid this problem. As for bands, I think people connect better with other people than bands (as I say in this essay) and having individual identities within the band isn't a bad thing to me. Let them "like" the band page and make friends with the band members! They don't have to be exclusive things.

Penultimately, I think it's just a shame that Facebook makes this page/profile distinction. Ultimately, I just want people on my e-mail mailing list most of all!

If you want to discuss more, drop me an e-mail: MJE@MichaelJEpstein.com - I do enjoy discussing strategies for using these crazy tools as I'm sure we both have the same real goal here. You also have the advantage that Curt is far more talented than I!

Interesting and valuable article. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

January 20 | Unregistered Commentertim

Wow. I read this and had one of those "a-ha!" moments. This article is brilliant, and I will definitely be following this to the letter. I had a flashback of all the past few years with my old band, and I realized that, though people liked the music, they were FRIENDS. The "fans" I built up were not "fans", but friends that we've laughed with, hung out with, and got into shows for free when they were broke.

It's not Social MEDIA; it's just being SOCIAL. Media is an extension of yourself as well as the band you are in.

Damn, Michael. I am now your avid follower. This post has to be one of the single best pieces of advice I've read in a long damn time.

Just last week I posted a complaint comment about an article where they were using an established, once signed artist as an example for how unknown indie bands can get exposure. So its great to read this. I make a lot of content and vids and tutorials as well. But some info on how to push videos would be great. Ive got a One Man Band video where I play three instruments at once while rapping that needs some views. Its here at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoXny8LK1Zc

January 20 | Unregistered Commenterignite mindz

I loved this article! It pointed out some things that really made sense but aren't obvious unless you've got a lot of experience in social networking. Nice one!

January 20 | Unregistered Commentertommy.phnx

Michael, what a great article, thank you! The idea and reasoning for using an account instead of a page is very helpful. For our like ZEBRA presence on Facebook, we use a page, but I also have a personal account set up (Greg likeZEBRA) to communicate with fans more directly. Technically, our website is the main goal of using popular social networks, so any way that we can successfully interact with fans is worth trying.

January 20 | Unregistered CommenterGreg- likeZEBRA

Hi Mike,

I appreciate the post. I'm also in a band trying to do the same thing that you are. I'm wondering, with your approach, how successful monetarily has it been? I ask not because I'm driven by money but I really want to be able to live off of my music. Also, with so much time spent toward connect with fans, how do you have time to work on your product such as music, shows, etc? IS it really necessary to comment on so many posts or is it possible to create the relationship with fans while putting out content? For instance, is it enough to build a relationship with a fan by posting vlogs, music vids, and comedy vids and soliciting feedback, reacting to that feedback, and commenting on the feedback? Is it necessary to agressively go out on facebook and comment on what is happening to other ppl or rather be a listener to a person's opinion about yourself? Because it seems if you present a juicy topic for all to comment on ie "should i stay with my wife" people will listen and offer their opinions. I think ppl feel apart of something when their opinion is acknowledged. So do you think that is enough to build the fan relationship (certainly cuts down on your work)?

January 21 | Unregistered CommenterQuintin Evans

Thank you all so much for your responses and comments. I'm really delighted that so many people have contacted me in various places to let me know that they found this useful! I certainly don't have all the answers and I'm just kind of bumbling through it like everyone else, but I'm glad I was able to share what I've observed.

Quintin, I think actively going out and commenting and engaging is a very big component of what I do. I think each comment I make on someone else's status is more powerful than each comment they make on mine. As for "necessary," I don't think there are absolute rules. It's just about finding something that works for you.

As for work, I think I am known about town as a guy who doesn't sleep. A lot of people joke with me that I must have clones. I don't have down-time.

January 22 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Epstein

Hi Michael, it's 2:24 am on a Saturday and I am still reading and working and learning. I really needed that article because I have been obsessing over a lot of things lately...and mostly following Amanda palmer and her work wondering how in the world I would ever catch up. I have to remind myself that it is a foundation, and it takes a lifetime, and there really is no arrival point. Thanks for a great read. I recently completed (and won:) Ariel Hyatt's blog challenge and I am feeling like that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. jeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterChristina Horn

Hey Michael,

Great job. One of the best articles I've seen on how bands just starting out can be effective with their social networking. It really is easy when you think of the whole thing as a big party you are at and if you interact accordingly, interest in the band will follow. Also, checked out your video for 30 Lives and was initially disappointed by the lack of a mustache. I poked around some other vids 'til I saw it in all it's glory. Nice 'stache

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterTodd Dunnigan

I think your point about identity was very interesting. It's always true that you will be a cartoon character of yourself, whatever your style is. If you're an extravagant pop diva you might still enjoy hanging around the house in your track suit, or if you're a low-key honest Country and Western signer-songwriter you still might prefer fancy wines over beer. ;) My point is we are all three dimensional beings, but it's important to understand which sides of you are relevant to your art and your audience.

Another interesting point was personality coming before music. Maybe you're right, and maybe it works especially well for you, because a lot of what you do seems to be about your extrovert style. Sure, you need to be interesting in order for your music to be so, but I think it's a fine line between being a character and being Paris Hilton.

A cool post!

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterMusic on the Make

Excellent advice for artists. We all have to be entrepreneurs in our own right these days. Social networking is the best form of advertising!

January 23 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Susoreny

Thanks for this article! I'm using social media now to promote my company and my upcoming album. I have to say, it's hard for me to come up with things that other people might be interested in, and drawing traffic to my blog. I'm sure articles like this on will help me out a lot!

January 24 | Unregistered CommenterKamal S.

Yeah Todd, "30 Lives" is pre-stache (actually in between staches), so a lot of people are disappointed by it. I might have to do some kind of post work on it to add the stache. That would actually be pretty hilarious probably.

Music on the Make, the possibly interesting thing is that I am an introverted extrovert (what I think Derek Sivers once described really well). I actually vastly prefer to sit at home with my wife in my living room on the couch and shut out the rest of the world. It's totally unnatural for me to be interacting with people at a party, etc. I am far, far better at doing it online because it leaves me with that barrier that allows for me to maintain a separate private life and music life. I never really write about what I do on a daily basis or about my friends and family outside the context of the "entertainment" world. I even had a project last year on Facebook where I made it my birthday every day for 3 months in protest of people confusing interacting on FB with real-life interactions. I need to write a closing piece on that, but my initial piece is at: http://bit.ly/ItsNotMyBDay - the point is, I think you need to be perceived as a likable extrovert even if, as in my case, it's the complete opposite of your actual personality.

I also don't think being perceived as "Paris Hilton" would ever hurt anyone as long as they have something to back it up. As I said in the essay, perceiving me that way will most likely eventually lead you to listening to my music. That is ultimately the goal of course. At that point, the music either stands on its own or it fails me. A lot more people are going to check out the music of "Paris Hilton" than "guy who sits on his couch and ignores everyone."

Fantastic article Michael! I too am an introvert of the same mold that Derek described (was it INTJ? something like that). I've shied away from being too outgoing, for fear that someday these people will meet me in real life and be overwhelmed with boredom! But you're right - it's important to establish an identity that may not be exactly who you "really" are, but plays on a facet of it. I'm going to work on that!

January 31 | Registered CommenterBrian Hazard

I think you just described most performing artists with your "introvert extrovert" and as an artist myself I definitely recognise the same in myself and many other artists I know. Maybe it is that bi-polar need to be out there, have something to say and get attention. And at the same time to be in control of your own life, have privacy and the right to be boring.
Which again comes back to being a cartoon character. No one wants to know that Paris Hilton smells bad when she has a hangover. And she certainly doesn't want the world to know that either! ;)

February 6 | Registered CommenterMusic on the Make

Michael,

You make some very valid points about the uses of social networking for promotion, and you obviously speak from a perspective of experience! I think the point you had early on was very interesting about many people who generate a large following online are backed by a large following through a label. As someone in communications, I feel it is also important to have the backing of a more solid network to get your music out there, and you are correct in that it should be BEYOND friends and family! Sometimes it can be hard as artists, because the last thing you want to do is come off as too pushy or self-promoting - it can put people off before they even get to hear your music. A great resource I discovered is working with a coach named Paul Travis (you can check out his site at http://relationshipcapital.co/oo), he is great working with shy or introverted people but is also great at teaching follow-up. Because in the end, while sharing music with the world at large has a much deeper meaning, it would be GREAT to get compensated for it as well, and to get there still requires getting to know the right people. Best of luck and thanks for the great info!

March 7 | Unregistered CommenterNikki

Good Points. I'd also like to add 'the basics" of an event post, the few simple points that drive me mad. If I have to go hunting for this info, you've written bad copy:
Tell us :
When: Post the numeric date and DAY OF THE WEEK. Time is also nice
Where: Not just the name of venue but address and/or general area ( Near Davis Sq is so much better than Dilboy VFW Hall)
Who: If you're playing with other bands (i.e. it's not just YOUR gig), let me know.
Cost: Cover Charge? How much? Add in drink specials the venue has ($3 drafts, etc)...couldn't hurt.
Notice: A happy medium. Send out notice as soon as it's on your calendar AND close to the date.

April 7 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Walz

Michael,
Great piece and great thoughts. My one comment is though, what do you say to the artists that just arent as chatty or erudite as yourself? A lot of folks that go into music and the arts do so for the very reason that they are uncommunicative weirdos (I'm thinking my bandmates here)! They can really only communicate through their art and getting them to string together 3 coherent words is a struggle under the best of circumstances, never mind getting them to do it on some sort of regular basis. Are we once again doomed to the dark recesses of the lunchroom while the popular kids get all the attention? Im getting another chocolate milk.

June 30 | Unregistered CommenterGreg G

Greg, you are what you choose to be. I am not a very social person by nature. The question you are asking is the same to me as saying a person wants to be a great guitarist, but their nature is that they can't rehearse. You have to make the choice to get good at the things you want to be good at. Some people may start out with a natural affinity toward certain things and others less so, but anyone can get passably good at anything. It's a choice. You can even practice social skills!

i will follow these rules and surely i will make it :)

Great Post, I found it really very informative and inspiring. As a visual artist, it seems to be just as relevant for my purposes. Got a lot of work to do switching the attention from the to myself... Nice tip!!

November 9 | Unregistered CommenterPrinul

Very good post and very wise advices, reading you i get certain that as an artist i should develop some marketing and public relations skills, as my career depends mainliy of myself and the support and rapport i can develop with people. Thanks for sharing you very smart point of view.

October 18 | Unregistered CommenterJackson Muñoz

Hey,

I thought that the information you provided is extremely helpful to upcoming artist. I know a few and I believe that this would be great information to pass on which I actually retweeted the link for others to review. I would also like to quote a piece of your segment written above in my blog site to assist some of the professionals I network with. I know that any information will be of some assistance to them on their networking journey.

I enjoyed reading this segment!

Mimi

January 24 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam Dixon

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