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Stephen Fry, blogging and musicians

Musicians and bands should take notice of Stephen Fry’s comments on BBC’s Analysis programme “Stephen Fry: The Internet and Me”. Fry points out that Twitter and its ilk have made it easy for celebs to bypass the press offices and gossip columnists, and tell the world what they’re doing as soon as it happens. Why though, are there not many bands and musicians on Twitter? Why aren’t there many bands from Manchester (UK) not tweeting that they’re doing a gig on Friday night? No DJs either, plugging their new set?

Mr Musician, it’s ok to have a Myspace page and add a new event, or go on Facebook and tell your followers when your CD is out, but do you use your Myspace blog to involve your fans (or potential fans) in your writing process, or post a comment on your FB wall to say you’ve finished another track? If you had a Twitter account, you could send update your fans on a regular basis: “someone from a record label was at the gig earlier tonight” – that sort of thing.

Surely you’re not waiting for manager to do it for you? If you’ve got a PR person, are they on Twitter, or Digg, or even blogging on your behalf? To me, a lot of bands – especially unsigned ones, are missing the boat. They’re not looking for new ways of promoting themselves. Yeah, they’re on Youtube, Bandcamp, Facebook, but everyone is. How many people read comments or blog posts on Myspace  these days? How do you know it’s not the record company’s PR department writing a post?

Think about Stephen Fry’s “Help, I’m stuck in a lift, but I’ve still got time to Twitter” tweet as an example of what I mean.  Stuff like Twitter just a great medium for keeping his fans and followers uptodate with what he’s doing: when his next TV programme is on, when he’s recording a podcast, and when he’s going to have a cup of tea. So many people, many of them are celebrities, have switched on to the self-publicity machine that is Twitter, especially in the UK. Jimmy Carr, Philip Schofield, Chris Moyles, Alan Carr – they may not be really famous and massive celebs, but they’ve all realised that their fans and potential fans read their Twitter posts. 

Mr Musician, Mr Band member, Mr DJ, Twitter et al let you build up your profile for your fans and let people know that you’re a real person, with real thoughts, not just a noise on a CD. Get Tweeting when you’ve finished a recording session, or when you’re getting a new guitar!

My daytime job is in e-learning in a further education college, and I’m amazed by the number of applications, websites, and other stuff I come across that could be used by bands to promote what they’re doing.

Don’t forget, this is just my opinion. If you want to know more about what I’m upto, why not follow me on Twitter!

Note: this article was first published by me in my blog on March 10, 2009.

References (1)

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Reader Comments (6)

"Why though, are there not many bands and musicians on Twitter?"

You lost me right there. If you need a straw man that flimsy to introduce an article, you might have nothing to say.

December 1 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Maybe there are more bands on twitter than when I wrote the article back in March, and maybe Stephen Fry shouldn't be in the title, but the number of hits I got on my blog at the time from people searching for "Stephen Fry" maybe shows that bands can get their music out to people other than just fans by talking about other stuff. You've only got to look at Moby's myspace blog and his website journal to see that....

BTW how many bands on twitter get their tweets approved by their PR team?

December 1 | Registered CommenterTim Blackburn

Keep reading, keep studying, keep learning. There's way, way more data and answers out there than you seem to think. This is not intended as criticism, but as good news: most of your questions have answers.

The archives here at MTT are a goldmine. Also take a look at Creative Destruction, Andrew Dubber's work, the recent series of posts Ian Rogers has done about managing Get Busy Committee (his site is called and a blog called Gen-Y Rock Stars.

December 1 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

Justin - thanks for the shout out for Creative Deconstruction (What Justin failed to mention is that his own site Audible Hype is an awesome resource as well.)

I would add that Twitter and social media in general aren't just great tools for engaging with fans, but for making business connections as well. Every significant connection I've made in 2009 has been through Twitter and blogging. Same can be true for artists looking to connect with other artists, or build their team.

And not to beleaguer the point, here's an extremely comprehensive list of artists on Twitter compiled by Gabriel Nijmeh (@gcn1).

December 1 | Registered CommenterRefe Tuma

I second what Justin said about Ian Rogers and Get Busy Committee ... that article is simply phenomenal and has given me some excellent ideas that I plan to implement with my own band in the near future.

Here's a link to the article he is talking about: Alert, Connect, Sell: Releasing Get Busy Committee


December 1 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

Thanks for all your comments and links - I stand corrected about the lack of bands on twitter etc! As I mentioned earlier, I wrote the article on my blog over 6 months ago, when I hadn't really discovered all these "new music strategies" sites. I actually came across Gabriel's list a while ago and added myself to it. I'm also a semi-regular follower of Andrew Dubber's posts (that's how I found this site!), so I know there's a lot of information out there, and even more for me to read on Audible Hype etc. I guess I'm caught between two stools - my day job is in e-learning at a post-16 college, so I'm forever looking out for new resources, tools, etc that will bring added value to Teaching & Learning; I'm also trying to promote my own music and think that I should be making more use of those resources I come across to promote what I'm doing.

One more thought: if you or your band is going it alone with promoting your music using all these new strategies, is there a temptation to actually forget what you enjoy doing best - making music?

December 2 | Registered CommenterTim Blackburn

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