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How NOT to Social Network

Myspace, as a medium for social networking, is useless. The signal to noise ratio has plummeted so low that there is essentially no point in trying to reach fans through MySpace. It’s all comment spam, automatic “friending” programs, and bots. Most myspace comment boards look like this:

Do your fans really want to be spoken to in this way? What does it say about you as an artist if you use the same tactics that mass junk mail operations to reach them? Does ANYONE ever have meaningful conversations through this medium that lead to a minor fan to becoming a superfan?

Let’s think about this. You are a musician, and you have limited time. Presumably, you are much better at music than most other things and should be spending most of your time on it if that’s how you intend to create a career. As such, you should always be conscious of the return on your investments (ROI), whether you’re spending time, money, trust, or fan attention (yes, it IS a currency). If you put in x amount of time putting up myspace comments, how do you expect this time spent to pay you back? If you’re sending out spammed messages, you’re spending time, attention, and trust.

Would it take 10 of these comment posting to lead to someone buying a song? Probably not. How about 100? A 1000? Ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a comment posted on a MySpace page and thought “Hmm, I should give these guys ten bucks” ?

Think on it.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

When you are choosing how you’re going to market your music and talk to your fans, bevery conscious of your ROI. You’ve got limited resources. When you spend, make sure that you’ll be getting more back than you spent.

Unless, of course, you really want to get burned out and quit music forever. Then by all means spend frivolously!

Derek is an MBA who builds custom guitars and is the bassist for Onward We March, who will be releasing their first EP The Golden Vine in Q3 2010.

How NOT To Social Network

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Reader Comments (13)

I have always thought the MySpace comments are a horrible idea for gaining instead of losing fans & make even the best artists seem amateur. The only comment campaigns I've run that were in anyway effective have been "Happy Birthday" comments (causes natural fan interaction with email correspondences, creating "true fans" if not sales) & "Merry Christmas" comments mentioning a free Christmas compilation. I don't think random friending helps anyone nor ever has. The goal is to generate new fans, not just people listed as myspace/facebook/twitter/whatever friends. I do think MySpace is still potentially useful for generating new fans based on highly targeted personal messages (e.g. messages to people that are fans of all four of the bands you think you sound most like).

I totally agree Brian. I didn't even think about birthday messages but yeah, that's a great idea! Salesmen have been doing it for ages, it's about time musicians caught up to speed! Thanks for the insight!

August 30 | Registered CommenterDerek Miller

Sadly, this strategy is spilling over to I tried to reach out using the shoutbox for a little while, but realized that I'd be better off marketing my music to the color copier at work.

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterMark D

I TOTALLY agree. Myspace has gotten really bad in the past few years, to the point that it feels like a complete waste of time. It's cool as a place for your current fans to congregate, but I've had absolutely no luck gaining new fans from it. Sites like twitter are much more useful in that regard. And I think that having a personal site is more useful for keeping your current fans engaged.

I see pundits claiming that having an updated Myspace page is still 100% necessary for indie artists, but they aren't giving any valid reasons why. Who are these people who still find new music through myspace? Granted I haven't studied this subject, but I don't know of anyone who does this. IMO Myspace is a waste of time that could be better spent on your music or your own personal website

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterKnowledge

@Mark Ahahahaha, I like that comparison!

@Knowledge I fought Twitter soooooo hard in the beginning because I did the whole "i don't care who is eating a sandwich!" arguement. I think it's the immediacy and personality that come with the nature of tweets that make it a good medium.

I think that what the pundits mean about a myspace is simply that when someone googles a new band, the myspace (and personal website, hopefully) end up in the top two results, so that may be the only interaction that a potential fan would have. But as for plowing time into myspace development beyond a couple songs? Nah, i'll pass.

Can't beat a personal site though. Interacting with your fans on your terms? Yes please!

August 31 | Registered CommenterDerek Miller

MySpace is very important for one reason - the music hits you right in the face - That's where Record Companies go to listen to your stuff... What should be there is where you're playing, video links, and EPK link, contacts, etc....

August 31 | Unregistered CommenterProfessor Pooch

As said above MySpace is important because it is always in the top five results in Google (often above a band's website) & everyone knows they can listen to a band without needing to do a ton of navigation. I know there are a ton of bands that if I go to their website it takes five or six clicks to hear their music & even then I need to open it in an external player (there's a little one line java script by Yahoo that I use so people can play the mp3s on the Silber website that I highly suggest to people (just view the source & search for Yahoo & copy the script out) to make things easy for your web visitors.

September 1 | Unregistered CommenterBrian John Mitchell

Myspace has been relegated to an EPK status, because this autobot spam bullshit drove everyone to Facebook. The bands are mostly to blame and are also the one to loose because facebook sucks as a medium to communicate music. If people want to check you out an listen to your stuff they go to Myspace to find you. Here is the break down as I see it for the big 3.

Twitter: A great place to follow the vapid lives of porn starlets. Simply terrible for music.

Facebook: there is no Facebook music player, Facebook is a good place to look at photos of Grannies cat and that wedding your cousin just had. For musical acts it gets a D, just barely missing an F only thanks to the Reverbnation "my band" tab. They limit your friends too, Facebook hates you bands!

Myspace: Still the king for music and hardcore fanbase and people who are proactive and interactive.

Rudebook: Great place too friend fake women and get invites to "their webcam", music it gets an F. Like Cartman says, "you have to go through a lot of Dicks to make a real friend".

~ CrowfeatheR

September 1 | Unregistered CommenterCrowfeatheR

the immediacy definitely helps twitter work. And the fact that it holds you to 140 characters means you can't do much more than give a link. And in a few minutes that link will be lost in your audience's timelines. So twitter promotion ends up being a lot less intrusive than other strategies, as long as your not spamming. That also might make twitter promotion a little less efficient, but it probably still works out to being more useful than posting on someone's fb/myspace wall.

My band's myspace is our second google result, the first being one of our personal blogs. Our personal website is FOURTH, behind our cdbaby page! Not sure how this happened, but I need to bone up on my SEO knowledge RIGHT NOW!

September 1 | Unregistered CommenterKnowledge

From a listener's standpoint, I think that most will agree that myspace is ugly as sin. No matter what bands do to gussie it up, nothing will hide the fact that you (supposedly an artist) are using the most clunky, god awful software to market your music. Sure, it might get people to see what you're offering, but it doesn't excuse the fact that it still looks and feels like death. I personally think that listeners deserve better.

If it's the social aspect of it that you'd miss, shift focus to twitter and facebook and put all your music for one stop listening at bandcamp. Or just skip the social side of it for a little while and start making music people want to listen to. That way you wouldn't have to worry about being social. Everyone would just recommend it to each other. BOOMS.

September 2 | Unregistered CommenterMark D

The Myspace music player as "clunky" as it is is 10,000% better than Twitter or Facebook as they do not have one.

September 2 | Unregistered CommenterCrowfeatheR

@Mark D Whoa whoa whoa, are you suggesting I actually work on my music to make it good?!?! That's what autotune is for! Haha, jk.

@CrowfeatheR Yep. Kind of a bummer that it wins the "who has the best player" by default, isn't it?

September 3 | Registered CommenterDerek Miller

If you collated a handful of music services, social or not, they will all do more than Myspace can. With widgets to embed on your own sites or elsewhere, better sound quality and a cleaner social experience there is so much more out there.

Myspace has a great foot fall and I understand its not the reason to go there but you can only find fans if they are there to be found.

Myspace has been falling slowly in Alexa's rankings over the past year and I will happily let other sites move above it =]

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