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Thursday
Nov102016

Three Ways The Internet Hates Your Band

I am 24 years old and have a marketing job, college education, cute girlfriend and parent’s rockin’ health insurance. So I guess I have absolutely no place to talk about how hard my life is or how difficult it is to get my music out there into the hands of people who would rather pirate the newest Taylor/Bieber/Gomez/Kanye/whatever record than download mine for free off of Bandcamp. But I guess I’m going to, because a lot of you reading this are probably in a similar position.

Even in an age where musicians and music fans have taken a LOT back (see: Bandcamp, and even how small ticket websites are destroying ticket monopolies), corporate giants still like to screw over bands and independent music as a whole for a quick buck. They don’t necessarily need to, but they do, and we’re forced to adapt. This list isn’t a “how to” list as much as it’s a “what’s already happening” list, but I do have a few suggestions along the way.

“Supported” Posts

It’s weird that I used to think of Social Media as something for Junior Highers and High Schoolers (of course, this is when I first got a Myspace). Now, both of my parents have Facebook and marketing companies actually dedicate part of their services to Social marketing. While the way it’s connected old friends and family is pretty cool, there are obviously downsides, and the music world is not immune to them. One of the worst things Facebook did for us musicians is make it so we have to pay for people to see our posts. Otherwise, they aren’t seen in the newsfeed of people who like our pages very easily - paid posts are supposed to be our way of bringing people back. Sharing show events? Sorry buddy. People who have liked your page may not even see the show in their newsfeed unless you fork out at least $1 per day before the event. Same with that new album or the single you just dropped. Yes, Facebook - and to a lesser extent, Twitter and Instagram, have enough money. But you still have to pay them! This may, of course, be AFTER you paid for a recording and AFTER buying/repairing your gear and AFTER you purchased a van etc.. Thanks Obama (I have until January to jump on that bandwagon, right?).

The best thing you can do, from my understanding, is put certain links and events in the comments rather than your original post - though it may not be wise to do this with products you’re selling. This goes for both your band pages and your personal status posts. The reason this is important is because apparently Facebook flags those posts and restricts their visibility - at least to some extent. So if you want to get around that, comment comment comment!

iTunes, Spotify, and the like

So you wanna play the game but it costs money to even get on the field. The sad fact is that a lot of music listeners and industry people will not take you seriously if you’re not on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Napst- wait, eMusic (who uses eMusic anyway?). Unfortunately, that costs a lot of money on our part. Of course, we shouldn’t be opposed to paying as musicians. But to even have the slightest chance of competing or entering the “general market”, we have to fork out $50-100 per release to Distro Baby CD Kid every three years, right?

Well I’m glad to say, WRONG! There is a light in this darkness: Routenote. Routenote is a system that submits your music to iTunes, Spotify, and the like. It is free to use and also pays us musicians. Of course it’s more complicated than that but my point is that it’s helpful to us who run small labels and play in tiny bands to get our music everywhere while simultaneously fighting the system that tries to prevent us from doing so. There’s other third party systems which I already alluded to, and they admittedly do a good if not better job at this. And they’re run by good people. But if you aren’t making a lot of money, Routenote’s a good way to enter the market while not having to get screwed by it.

Pirating Music

I love free downloads. In fact, I downloaded four records for free today. The problem, however, comes down to how all of us illegally (different than free) started downloading all of our music and stopped buying it from artists ten or fifteen years ago. We have set a standard that artists don’t deserve or need to be paid for the music that they pay so much to create in viable forms for us. So at this point, someone would rather just use piratebay and torrents for something than find new bands to support, because there’s no cost for good music. With everything so accessible and free, new artists don’t get paid or discovered and frankly established artists don’t get paid either.

What other ways do you fight the dumb evil internet music industry machine? Let me know on Twitter @Robolitious.

 

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