With the plethora of powerful social networks and music discovery tools, it is increasingly tempting to spend all of your band’s marketing time online. After all, online marketing:
- is relatively easy
- is relatively cheap (often free)
- provides immediate gratification and feedback
- is easily measurable
- is not bound by time or geography
- can be done in your PJs at home
A few years ago it seemed hard to convince most musicians that they needed to have an online presence. Getting online was an issue about discovery - expanding a band’s musical reach beyond their geoegraphical boundaries.
Now that MySpace is ubiquitous, it is getting hard to convince musicians that they need to maintain their offline presence as well. In fact, offline is still the most important area. Online tools are getting VERY good at breaking down the barriers to music and people discovery. This is great and opens the door to a whole new world of possibilties. However, the same tools seem to be equally bad at creating context around those discoveries. At some point, the sheer mass of possibilites begin to bleed together until they are indistinguishable on some level. For a music consumer to take the next step beyond just ‘liking a song’, they need some kind of context for that music. Context - stories, memories, experiences, relationships - is what allows fans to ‘emotionally own’ a band.
Despite all the powerful advantages to online marketing, they can never substitute fully for the power of the offline. Offline experiences create context, create authentic relationships, and basically satisfy our inherent human social needs. It’s a deceptively simple point, but one that can’t be ignored.
I think this is the perspective all of us involved in the music business need to keep in mind going forward: Offline relationships are still the most powerful tool we have; online tools should be used to the extent that they can enhance the offline experience of our fans.
Andrew Goodrich is currently studying business and music industry at Loyola University New Orleans. He’s an aspiring music business entrepreneur, casual musician and photographer, and an avid supporter of artists.
He has interned at Alan Ett Creative Group and 20th Century Fox’s Newman Scoring Stage and Post Production Department. In the future, he hopes to find himself where film and music meet.