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« Revealing Shakespeare's Inner Pirate | Main | Well, what is a good digital music strategy ? Part 1 - Introduction and Website »

Well, what is a good digital music strategy ? Part 2 - Social Networks

Here is the follow up of this article about how to achieve a successful digital music strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. Three more articles are soon to come !

By Virginie Berger (@virberg,, former head of marketing at Mypace France and now music marketer.

By now, we are dealing with social networks and how to properly use them as a music band or artist.

The complete article is available in PDF and on Slideshare

2 - Social Networks

In regard of social media marketing, I don’t agree with many “gurus” who pretend that social networking is the only way to make it as an artist.

In my opinion, it shouldn’t because social media is a fan management extension. Social networking’s purpose is about building a bridge between you and your fans who will then use words of mouth to “promote” you: positively or not.

Therefore, it’s better to look for your fans and build up your online social presence. The main objective is to get your fans on your website. That way they can discover you, share, interact and buy (which is the point actually)…

A - About Myspace

To be straightforward, MySpace is not dead yet. An artist can still do many things on it. So MySpace remains the n°1 site for artists and evolving bands. I have to admit I am not a great fan of it, but an artist can and has to use it.

Looking into the statistics, MySpace keeps growing. It is not as significant as the previous years but its growth is still ongoing.

MySpace is still a vital element for people to find you and discover your music.Why? First, it is very well listed on Google. And also, it is very useful to have a profile when you have no time, nor the competences, nor the finances to build your website. However, a poor and not updated profile will make you lose contacts.

1 > You wish to customize your background. Why not. But you don’t have to. The simpler you keep your background, the faster it will open. Therefore fans or record companies will find what they want.
2 > If you are CSS/HTML competent, get rid of MySpace Player which is the most non-user friendly around. Better to register on Soundcloud and use it on MySpace, so you can use its Player and all its functions (I don’t work for Soundcloud).
3 > No more than 3 videos with Youtube links. I don’t need to see more. If I do, I’ll go to Youtube (that links to your website, doesn’t it?)
4 > Thank you for leaving the layout as it is. There is a good reason for its design. Looking for the mail box if I want to contact you, but you changed its design and its place… is quite nerve racking!
5 > Write a clear and visible email address on your profile. I prefer to contact you directly rather than MySpace email customer service. I am not even on MySpace anymore and I have no intention to create a profile if I feel like speaking to you. Like many of us.
6 > Try to avoid Flickr slideshows. MySpace photo album is better. Again, simplify, simplify!
7 > or Artistdata are good sites to synchronize your updating.
8 > Say “Hello”, answer questions and communicate!

Using MySpace as a contact centre is a good idea. Don’t forget to indicate clearly your email address on your profile as well as your manager/tour organiser contact if you have one. Also, don’t forget to write your website URL and/or your Bandcamp page (even though you might not have a website, be visible on Bandcamp). That way, people will discover you and if they need to know more about you, they will link to your webpage or Bandcamp page.

B - About Facebook

If you still haven’t got a Facebook fan page, here are some stats that might make you change your mind:

1 > More than 400 millions active users
2 > 50% of active users log in once a day
3 > 55 minutes per day is the average time spent on FB
4 > Over 1,6 millions FB fan pages have been created
5 > In terms of traffic, FB is ahead of Google

Looking at those figures and knowing that Google uses social networks (social content) in order to fix web pages ratings in its result pages, your FB absence should be hard to justify! You have to build your fan page wondering why people would want to join you.

a - Update your content on a regular basis. Give your fans a good reason to come back on your page.

1 > Do not hesitate to post new articles/reviews from your blog onto your FB wall.
2 > You can use a service like in order to update your network in one go, FB as well as Twitter.
3 > You can install a widget on your Youtube and Flickr channel. That will synchronize automatically your videos and images on your FB fan page.

b - Get in touch with your new visitors

For the new ones, a wall can be intimidating. It’s like entering a new room in which everyone knows one another and talks about issues that you know nothing about.

So, before sending your new visitors on your fan page wall, send them to a landing page (a kind of Welcome) on which you can explain who you are and what you do… the “Like” button will be highly visible of course! You can use the Tigerlily application to build your landing page.

c - Launching a contest

If you want more fans, you have to give them a pretext to become one. How to do so? A competition! Competition for the best T. shirt graphics, best album cover, photo, etc = job opportunities, commitment and loyalty.

Watch out: since November 2009, FB guidelines have changed. You will need to follow a process and obtain consent before launching a contest.

d - Give your fans something they won’t find anywhere else

> Box sets

> Live gigs on your page

>  remixes

> Exclusive discounts (i.e.: Fanfarlo offering his album @ $1 for a few days…)

e - Do encourage interaction

> Straightforwardly, if your communication is not interactive and if you don’t exchange anything, your fan page won’t be a success.

> You can ask questions to your fans and seek their opinions

> Draw a survey

> Incorporate applications, games, quizzes

> Share! Do not hesitate to post info from other FB users that are the most relevant

Here are some interesting applications to use on FB:


ReverbNation – My Band

Poll Daddy Polls

Selective Tweets

Twitter/Facebook synch

Nimbit MyStore

C - About Twitter

Over 80% of the public would rather follow their “friends” recommendations if they wanted to see a film or buy an album than trust publicity or mags reviews. Twitter has become the first advisor in relation to the cinema box office. It’s becoming similar in relation to music…

Twitter shouldn’t be seen as a simple promotional tool for single talk. When creating your profile, mind your bio. People will decide to follow you according to what you wrote on your bio. Make sure you mention your website on your links (I do mean your website!).

On Twitter, you also have to make offers when building your community. Follow people who are likely to have an interest in what you do. Participate to debates. Keep doing it even though few people might join at first. You can post your comments, your photos (twittpic). Answer your fans. Do not hesitate to talk about other issues than music and gigs. If you don’t post your gigs dates, your time as an artist might be shortened.

Have a look on Amanda Palmer Twitter (@amandapalmer), the Dresden Dolls singer. This is an excellent use of Twitter. She talks to her fans, sells her merchandising ($19 000 in a month time)

Have a look as well on what does Charly de Charly et sa Drôle de Dame (@charly_sddd), a rising and DIY artist. Little by little he is taming Twitter and is creating his small community, sharing info that is not always about him.

So, what to do on Twitter:

1. Share what you are doing: post links, take photos

2. Tell us what’s happening

3. Share your info and other people info

4. You can ask questions and seek advice

5. Look for those who talk about you via the Twitter research function, follow them and answer their questions

6. If you also use a private Twitter, you can send special offers to your followers

7. Update in case of problems (site not working, gigs problems, etc.)

8. Launch a contest

Have a look on @noushskaugen Twitter (1,2 millions of followers!!). She is a DIY unsigned artist. In her article, she talks about Twitter, social media and connecting with fans.

Have a look as well on @trent_reznor Twitter or @lcdsoundsystem who twittpics studio recordings photos, etc.

D - About Flickr

Flickr is the first photo community in the world, used by over 300 million people. When creating your Flickr album, you are exhibiting yourself to a very wide audience. You might want to create thematic, allow your photos to be found by the community via keywords.

Do create a Flickr profile with your name and integrate a link to your website. Flickr is very well listed on Google. So you will come up first or nearly first on the research engine.

E - About Youtube

9 out of 10 videos researched on Youtube are music videos. That shows a real public interest for those kinds of videos. Also, 60% of Youtube traffic comes from a Player Embed.

Try to create a channel and upload videos frequently. Not necessarily video clips, but videos like you in a studio recording, touring, rehearsing, etc. Talk to your fans and get someone to shoot a video of you backstage or even at home. Not necessarily you, singing on and on…

1. Use the most relevant key words with the video name. DO NOT FORGET to write “video”. The most important info you will give is lodged into your title because the research engine word used by people includes “video”. The result will come up faster.

2. Coming next is the video description which is as relevant for the research engine as the title. Key words are the key! And of course you will use your website URL or FB fan page right at the beginning.

3. Take advantage of writing directly on the video: notes, subtitles, descriptions and links. At present, you can only click on links that will send you towards another Youtube link. However you are very welcome to try something different. Of course, you have incorporated a link at the beginning of your description…

4. Install a call to action button on your video that shows: “click here to become a fan on our FB page”, and the viewer goes to your site…

5. Tag your video with key words. I mean significant key words.

6. Invite people to join. Activate the option diffuse and share on each video.

7. Do not hesitate to post your videos as an answer to the most popular videos.

8. Watermark your videos (place a tiny translucent logo in the corner of the video). Very easy with the help of a video soft editing. Why? Because it’s your video. It’s your symbol, your brand. So show it!

9. Youtube Insights is the Youtube analysis data, so use it. It will give access to demo info, time spent, number of views, or when your video viewing was left.

Make sure you don’t prevent your videos from being shared. Big mistake if you do! It’s crucial to let your viewers interacting and embedding your videos. Shall I remind you the huge mistake EMI made by blocking OK Go latest video?

Also, Youtube has just launched a new program “We Want You”, aimed at independent artists. The intention is to give them the opportunity to make a living from their music. Here is a good analysis: To be continued…

F - About Wikipédia

Internet users prefer to log first on Wikipedia rather than MySpace if they want to know about a band (2 to 1 ratio). So, obviously, be on Wikipedia.

> Create your profile

> Incorporate your website link, photos

> Update it on a regular basis

> Also, Wikipedia is very well listed on Google. You will come up on the top 3 if someone was to look for you on internet.

Of course, interlacing your info is a must. You can link your FB and Twitter status = one twit and FB is updated, and vice versa. Make sure all your videos, new photos are regularly updated and that you announce your new album release (with a link on iTunes). Warning: do not interlace everything. Your Youtube audience is different from your website, or Twitter and FB. Try to work as well on singularity/originality. Technique tools might help you to post the same info everywhere, but it doesn’t mean you have to do so. Adapting to your audience is a good idea. Try not to industrialize everywhere.

G - About Spotify

You have to be on Spotify and Deezer in order to maximize your online presence (of course, not for the royalties). Your music will be more visible that way. Zimbalam will help you to be present on those sites.

Also, thanks to the playlists sharing, especially on Spotify, your music will be broadcast a lot faster than any other social network. If you get broadcast via a playlist and your track gets noticed, you might find yourself between the likes of Kings Of Leon or Black Keys… and get sent to a friend… Share as well your own playlists.


Stay tuned ! The three following parts of the article are to be published soon !

The complete article is also available in PDF and on Slideshare

Email : virberg at

Twitter : @virberg


References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Source
    Have you ever wondered how to succeed online as a music band? Hints and tips for a perfect digital musical strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. By Virginie Berger, former head of marketing at Myspace France.
  • Source
    Have you ever wondered how to succeed online as a music band? Hints and tips for a perfect digital musical strategy, from social networks to SEO and viral marketing. By Virginie Berger, former head of marketing at Myspace France.

Reader Comments (17)

Again, really excellent advice here! I'm very impressed.

I agree that the # of videos should be kept to around 3 on MySpace pages...anything more than that just creates clutter.

However, I disagree with your notion to remove the MySpace music player from your profile. The music player still provides value. It is familiar and simple to use, and allows MySpace users to add songs that they like to their playlists (yes, people still do this). Also, the more plays (and profile views) you rack up in the player, the more visible your profile is when people browse and search on MySpace.

More likely than not, the typical visitor is already familiar with the MySpace player, and will be looking for that…so keep it high up on the page and visible.

I'm not saying that an artist shouldn't place SoundCloud, Bandcamp, or other music-related widgets on their MySpaces. Why not have both? Place the store widgets directly under the music player, and encourage people to visit your official store to purchase the tracks that are featured in the music player.

I just posted an article at my blog that talks a bit further about MySpace, and how I believe artists should be using it today...if anyone is interested here's the link: click here

Thanks again for such excellent advice.

Wow great information! Much more in depth than some other blogs. Thanks for all the advice!!!

June 2 | Unregistered CommenterCalmplex

Virginie, this info was a dream to read through - very clear and precise with examples and I will definitely be taking some of your advice.

Problem is, it's aimed at the wrong people. This isn't for musicians, not in its totality. It's for business people who want to work in the music industry. For artists it's presenting a diverting and possibly disastrous strategy.

I've been thinking long and hard ever since I read Dave Allen's ( piece titled 'Musicians: Please Be Brilliant!' and I'm getting to the point where I I'm beginning to feel that musicians are like the town of Springfield in the Simpsons episode, where a fast talking con man convinces everyone they need a monorail.

Being a similar age to Dave I think I have some similar frustrations built on the past, when, post punk, setting up and running your own label seemed almost a political act and I'm full of admiration for Gerry Dammers, Geoff Travis and Daniel Miller amongst many others, for successfully doing just that. With the advent of digital distribution it seemed the frustrations caused by having to consider competing with the big labels might finally be over and we could all successfully run our own labels, release our own music.

Now I think it isn't so much the labels we should look back on as the managers and agents and label owners with PR talent who brought some of the more interesting artists to the public's attention.

Malcolm Maclaren was a good model. If an artist can tap some of that wild genius for publicity then s/he will be able to hire an internet person to do the internet stuff, a business manager to do the rest. With enough publicity and some half decent music you can afford the former and attract the latter.

It's not enough to be brilliant and it's not enough to have your music in a market place. The internet is shaping up to be much more difficult to gain a profile on than telly and radio and music press and we will need pro's like Virginie to help us make a dent. But spending too much time following his plans can make you lose the will to create, which will always be much more important than spending hours working out how to write HTML.

Picking apart a piece of conflicting advice from these two articles I end up in the strange situation of seriously considering going back to Fruity Rupey Murdoch and his evil myspace in order to simplify my life. If I was a new artist starting out that's just what I would do, adding perhaps, Bandcamp.

For the rest, make a splash and let everyone else twitter and facebook and youtube and spend half their waking hours chatting bollocks to strangers, let them do it for you. If you get rich, take a cab, if you're poor, there's the bus. Either way, you don't need a monorail.

(To clarify - I'm a producer/manager, probably the ideal audience for Virginie's articles!)

June 2 | Registered CommenterTim London


All this information is good and well, but I'm interested to know your real life experience in the field?

It's one thing to theorize, but a whole other story to implement what you've described in an effective manner...

June 2 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy G


I don’t want to sound like an industry veteran, but it’s been a while that I’m hanging around in the music business. In 1997, I was finishing my business studies in the US and was discovering I was on Napster in 2000. Then I worked for television channels, radio broadcast industry and digital music industry, always with a position that has to do with music and artists. I was always in touch with the record industry. And artists. And digital.

For more than ten years I’ve been observing all the attempts to “save” music (and participating to some) (HAHA): the Napster to Go, online media players launched by major labels (highly secured, with no common catalogues and no interoperability), 360 deals, Comes with Music, Starbucks Music, MySpace, Spotify…

But over 10 years, I have been lucky to work for creations and I find myself part of the happy fews in France who are working hard in order to change its formal vision: music strategy, new ways of licensing and selling music for the artist benefit.

So I wrote this article thanks to my experience. Since in France, there is a huge span for improvement music strategie(s) wise, all day long, I work concretely and on an operational way with artists (big stars and DIY), records companies (majors and indies), music tech companies (start-ups and big companies), media, on how to build their own innovative ways of communicating about their own project, how to find active ways of monetization for their project, how to add value, about “no, marketing is not evil”, “online presence help you”...I don’t teach, I am involved and I build. Concretely.

With this article, I wanted to help them more, give them tools and advice even it is not just the strategy and the tools. It’s the overall vision and execution which makes the big difference. And that is what I am trying to do day after day.

I don’t want “to teach”, I only want to share my own experience. Good or not...

If you want to know more about me, you can easily find me on Linkedin.

Couldn't agree more with "The main objective is to get your fans on your website."

Any other piece of virtual real estate which hosts your presence is under someone else's control. By all means use them but ultimately develop a permission based direct relationship with your audience to partner with them, not just sell them stuff.

Cheers - Andy

re: removing Myspace music player, Soundcloud is great but Myspace allows only 1 clickout per flash object on a page, so a lot of the Soundcloud functions are pretty wasted.. it lasts as merely a streaming playe

June 3 | Unregistered CommenterJez

I guess I have yet another place to join Flikr. Also I guess I should add my email to my myspace. Good points.

June 4 | Unregistered CommenterCrowfeatheR

Thanks for the great advice. Seems overwhelming to do it all, so having a focused program to engage with people/fans seems like the ticket. Dawnya

June 4 | Unregistered CommenterDawnya

Dear Virginie,

Thank you for your comprehensive and helpful article! I already have a terrific website, thanks to my best friend, who's a computer software guy. However, inasmuch as I'm a techno-nerd myself, I have a lot of trouble figuring out what else to do and how to do it.

I appreciate that you systematically described each type of social-networking platform and then explained precisely what to do to maximize it's use. We'll be checking out some of these ideas each week for the next few months. I also appreciate that your focus is helping us not to just make a living (a very real concern for us!) but also for ways to connect more interestingly with our audience. Some of the ideas are just wonderful!

Many thanks for taking the time and effort to write this article.
Regards, from
Leigh Harrison
New York, USA

I did a response video with my singer Shannan Blystone to a Mia Rose controversy (an artist out of England) and we got 21,000 views.

Wow! Finally something which has taken a step back and shown us the insider facts and most importantly the STEPS every musician should at least be thinking about employing!

Very similar to the approach i have taken for my music marketing guide, i wanted the person to be able to go through the steps then evaluate the processes involved and get their online presence set up. is the website i did for my final year project, please take a look at the guide, it's very similar to this but is over 50,000 words :]

June 6 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

Everyone is doing that, so it can't work anyway.

The web 2.0 is the most overrated piece of crap for musicians EVER

June 7 | Unregistered CommenterFebreze

Yes febreze, everyone is doing it =]

Every musician i talk too and i mean EVERYONE has no knowledge about web presences what so ever.

The door is erm wherever you want it to be.

June 7 | Unregistered CommenterMartinT

"Over 80% of the public would rather follow their “friends” recommendations if they wanted to see a film or buy an album than trust publicity or mags reviews. Twitter has become the first advisor in relation to the cinema box office. It’s becoming similar in relation to music…"

Very true. I work a website,, which functions under that exact principle.

Headliner lets bands trade recommendations with each other to reach fans far beyond their individual base. Right now we have over 10,000 bands using our service and a total fan reach of 55 million fans. I would recommend anyone serious about getting their music out check us out.

If anyone has any questions about Headliner feel free to email me at

It should be noted that Wikipedia does NOT want artists doing this. I created a page years ago, when I had a poorer understanding of the site - it was deleted by an admin. A topic must be "notable", by Wikipedia's standards (which usually requires being the subject of multiple reliable, independent articles/media references, etc.), to justify the existence of a page. Articles must also be in "neutral point of view", meaning not in marketing-speak. If you're already a big enough act to have some major newspaper/blog/zine reviews, go ahead and pursue this, but if not, you're going to be wasting your time.

October 1 | Unregistered CommenterDerek Smootz

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