Archive for the ‘myspace’ category

3 Big Mistakes That Artists Make

November 8, 2010

The below suggestions have probably appeared on Grassrootsy in various posts, but last week I thought I’d loosely keep tabs on artist emails and FB messages and tweets  just to see what people are still doing these days.  Here are a few…

1. Falling off the map
What!?  Who are you?  Oh…I almost forgot because I haven’t heard from you in 3 months!  This might be a pet peeve of mine.  Don’t send your fans an email every 3 months and expect them to remember who you are. In the age of over-saturation, you’ll have a much greater shelf-life if you communicate too often as opposed to not enough. Falling off the map after having a successful run is like going 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Granted, everyone needs a break at some point. But occasionally touch base with your fans to remind them you still exist. See: Setting the Record Straight: Reminding People You Still Exist for more thoughts on the matter.

2. Launch a website with nothing on it.
This is aonther personal pet peeve of mine.  If you want people to be interested in your music, don’t send them a Facebook invite to your band’s page if there’s no music on it. Duh. And don’t send people a link to your new website if it’s completely blank. What is it you want them to see when they get there?

This is also equivalent to inviting your friends to an event via Facebook. Let’s say you want your friends to come see you and “John Doe” perform at club “XYZ”.  Make sure the Facebook invite has links to both your websites.  That way, folks can actually check out your music and make an informed decision about attending the show. An informed fan is an involved one. People will eat the information you give them so make sure you give them something worth digesting. See: Perception is Reality for more on this.

2. No email address?
Yea, you probably have one but if you don’t put it on your website, no one would ever know!  Have you noticed that you can’t  send messages to the administrator of a Facebook Page. Annoying. So if you don’t have your email address in the “Info” section (or better yet, in the information box on the home page), how can anyone reach you? Some things aren’t meant for the Facebook wall.

And, believe it or not, folks still use MySpace to check out new artists.  But at this point, you should know you can’t email someone on MySpace unless you have an account…and people aren’t really creating MS accounts these days.  SO if you don’t have your email address in a very visible location, you’re potentially missing out on bookings…etc.

Even worse is having a website with no email address on the contact page. Contact forms are great, but an email address will travel further, faster.

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Mailing Lists & Social Networking

June 28, 2010

Think of Your Mailing List as a Gateway Drug. If you’ve read Grassrootsy for any amount of time, you know we stress the importance of having a mailing list at your shows. Well, given the rise of Facebook and Twitter among musicians, your mailing might not be the most important way to communicate with your fans anymore (I can’t believe i just said that)!   However a newsletter IS still the best way of opening the door to more direct communication with your fans. Here’s what you do:

  1. Pass your newsletter around the room at your show
  2. Within a day or two, email everyone who subscribed, welcoming them to the list
  3. In your “Welcome” newsletter, make sure you include prominent links to your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and any other social network
  4. Emphasize the fact that fans can best stay in touch with you and your schedule when they follow you on FB or twitter

I’ve personally noticed that while the number of people reading my newsletters has statistically gone down, I’m communicating with fans more often and more directly via Facebook and twitter.

 

To see some past thoughts on the mailing list, see:

 

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Is Myspace Dead? Well…

February 17, 2010

Andrew Belle

Ok, there are a rumors that Myspace is dead. And yea…I sorta believe that.  But, it’s important to remember that people will go where the information is. A website is a website. Many artists are still treating  Myspace as their official site…and for good reason. Myspace is fully customizable and I truly believe this is its one saving grace.

So here are some great tips for making Myspace your fans choice for information

1. Information is information. If your content is timely, informative, and easy to read, people will keep coming back.

2. Make it look like NOT Myspace: There are tons of ways to change the format of your page. Take advantage of its flexible use of HTML. And here’s a plug for my good buddy Dan Prokop. He designed JD Eicher’s Myspace page and it’s pretty fly.

3. Have Essential Information:  Any especially important information you would have on a website, should go on your Myspace page – merch, shows, bio, videos, contact info, things that make you look good.

4. Clean it up: Comb through your account settings and change things. Disable html posts from other users.  Don’t let “friends” clutter your page with their graphics. Instead of showing 20 of your top friends on your page, just show 8 or 4.  Less is more. Keep it clean.

5. Domain Forwarding is highly recommended. If  you can’t get your act together to get an official website, at least buy a domain name and have it forward straight to your myspace. I went on tour with 3 friends last fall.  We didnt have time or energy to create and official site but instead bought a domain name: www.4ontour.net and had it forward to www.myspace.com/thefourontour. We found that more people liked the idea of visiting www.4ontour.net more than the Myspace url.

6. Don’t give up Facebook or anything. This isn’t some plea to try and bring Myspace back. But i still firmly believe that Myspace is a legitimate social networking site. It’s the number one place I personally go to listen to new music and find artists to split gigs with. And remember, even if people aren’t adding you as their Myspace friend, it doesn’t mean they’re not visiting your page to get information.

7. Myspace Pages that hit the spot! Here are a few great examples


How about you? What are you thoughts on Myspace and its decline? Do you think it’s still legitimate?

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Random Tips & Tricks #3

June 8, 2009
Lauren Zettler

Lauren Zettler

To read the first two blogs in this series visit:  Random Tips & Tricks #1 and Random Tips & Tricks #2 

A Few Promotional Tricks at Live Shows…
Before you perform, put a couple business cards on each table in the venue.  The information might not be important to anyone until you perform.  When they hear you, they’ll pick your card up a 2nd time and consider holding onto it. Remember…people are lazy and you’ll get more accomplished if you bring the information to them instead of expecting them to go to you.  More on this in Random Tips & Tricks #1. Also, carry business cards in your back pocket and give to people when they come up to you after the show.

Don’t have business cards? Try handbills instead. Bring miniflyers of your next gig and put those out and around to remind people of where they can see you next.

Put Your Email Address  in a Visible spot on your Myspace Page
You’d be surprised at how many music myspaces don’t have a bands booking information available.  Realize that not every person visiting myspace has a myspace account…which means they can’t email you through your page if they want to book you, ask you a question or send you fan mail.  If you don’t have an official website and use myspace as your primary page, you especially need to have contact info readily available (maybe even a number). Check out Lauren Zettler’s page for a great example.

Start Twittering
Some people get it, some people dont. Its just like texting but on your computer instead.  Even if you don’t want to actively “tweet”, begin subscribing to other artists tweets. I’ve learned about great resources, good venues in other cities, and upcoming events simply by reading other artists posts.  Yes, I realize last week’s post was about information overload in the age of social networking, but twitter seems to be the new effective thing!  So give it a try. 

p.s. I’m noticing that as each network sites gains popularity, it loses its effectiveness.  This year, Facebook has taken off and become more popular than myspace…but I’m getting so much more spam!  This will most likely happen with twitter in the future, but it hasn’t yet.  Use it while it’s still good 🙂
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Innovative Advertising – Some Things To Consider Trying

May 20, 2009
T. Mitchell Bell

T. Mitchell Bell

Oh advertising!  Is it really worth it as a musician?  Well, it depends. Where are you advertings? What are you advertising? And do you have money? Of course you want to try to get as much free publicity as possible.  If you can do it for free, definitely go for that option!

When you do get the funds, check into these ideas. The great thing about the following options is that you can advertise at whatever price is affordable for you. 

And in continuation to Monday’s blog, Finding Your Niche, the below suggestions allow you to advertise directly to your niche.

StumbleUpon
Its a great source for people who wanna find good things online.  StumbleUpon doesn’t just focus on music.  It exposes surfers to every type of website in the world. How does it work?  Lets say you wanna get your myspace out to a unique type of listener (See yesterday’s post: Finding Your Niche). Click on StumbleUpon Advertising and create a campaign. As you create your campaign, you’ll see that you can choose what types of people you want to visit your website – everything from people who are history buffs to people who are vegetarian, to people who like kayaking.  Tons of random categories. 

So what if your music appeals most to men, maybe you’d want to pick people who fall into the following categories:  home improvement, mens issues,  video games.  Or if you think your music has ambience that best fits the spiritual guru/yoga type crowd; you might want to pick people who fall in the following categories: yoga, self improvement, ambient music.

You’re also given the option of choosing age range, geographic location and other demographics.  StumbleUpon only costs .05 cents per view.  So you could spend $20 on advertising and that would expose your website to 400 people.  Check out their short video tutorial.

Facebook (and Myspace)
Its much the same concept as Stumble Upon: i.e. target audiences, demographics and all that jazz.  One thing I’ve noticed and like about  Facebook ads is that it allows you to pay for impressions  by the thousands.  So that means, if you set your ad price as 20 cents per 1000 impressions, your ad will show up on the side panel of 1000 facebook pages.  Whether 5 people or 500 people click the impression, you still only pay 20 cents per 1000.   I’ve found that Facebook isn’t as straighforward as StumbleUpon and takes a little time to understand. 

I haven’t tried Myspace advertising, so if you have experience, please comment below.

The Pizza Boy (ya, for real!)
During the week of his CD Release, Pittsburgh artist T. Mitchell Bell stopped into his local pizza store, and asked them if they would be able to distribute flyers for his CD release everytime they had to make a delivery.  AWESOME idea!  They let him do it for free b/c he was a very regular customer! 

Stop into your local restaurant, whether it be a pizza store, or something else.  Ask them if they’d be willing to do the same.  You might have to pay a little something but its a great idea ( they’ll treat you better if they know you).  It’s one of the best ideas I’ve heard lately and I think its probably effective.

 

Note to the advertiser: make sure you’re actually advertising something like an event, a new CD…etc. No sense in advertising unless you have a product or concept to sell.

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An Interview With Brianna Lane

April 15, 2009
Brianna Lane

Brianna Lane

Folk/Americana artist Brianna Lane is an independent musician based out of Minneapolis, MN.  She’s the author of three self-released, full-length albums and tours full time.  She’s opened for several National touring acts including Dar Williams and The Weepies.

Brianna is one of the few artist I know who has had success with acquiring patrons (i.e. individuals and organization who fund her music financially).  Check out what she has to say about promoting your music, touring, and getting financial support.

1.) What do you think is the single most important thing an artist should do to promote themselves better? 

Networking is key.  Weather it be through MySpace, Facebook, Twitter or the like, reaching out to fans, friends, and other folks in the industry is essential. Some people are very talented at promoting themselves out in public at live shows as well.  It’s important to know your comfort levels in self promotion because if you present yourself honestly and genuinely you are more likely to receive positive feedback. Be open to new ways of networking and try to be aware of how others like to communicate.  I find that it’s helpful to network with other musicians via MySpace but Facebook is better for connecting with some fans on a more personal level.  Twitter is still kind of lost on me but I know that people like it and use it so I’m learning to do the same.

 

2.) The biggest frustration among most independent artists is finding the money to produce their music and fund tours, promotion, etc.  You’ve had some luck in finding patrons (i.e. people to sponsor you financially).  How did you go about doing this? 

I must say that a lot of it comes down to luck. Although, the more time I spend touring the more people I meet and the more people I meet the more opportunities there are to find people who are passionate about the arts and willing to fund artistic endeavours. 


3.) Do you find people are generally willing to give you money?  And do you eventually pay it back?

I do have a few personal loans with fan-friends (people who I have met through my shows who have since become friends of mine). Sometimes I’ll work in trade and write songs for folks or place their names in my liner notes. I have witnessed a lot of generosity over the years that I have spent on the road.  When people hear that I am living my passion and making music a way of life they are open to supporting me in many different ways, sometimes financially.

 
4.) You’ve had a chance to open for national touring artists like Dar Williams and The Weepies to name a few. How do these huge opportunities come around? 

The first two dates that I did with Dar came along because I knew someone who worked for her managements company at the time. They needed an area songwriter that they could trust to do the job as the opener.  Truly a dream to open for her- and on the same stage where I first saw her play ten years earlier!  Also, I knew Deb Talan (one half of The Weepies) before opening for them and we talked about sharing shows for years before it actually happened.  Through nurtured connections with either venues, promoters, or artist, opportunities arise that are hard to pass up.  It’s astounding, humbling, and inspiring to play with talented musicians. I am very grateful.
 
5. )From your website, it looks like you have a General Booking Agent and a College Booking Agent.  At what point did your schedule pick up to the point that you could hire people to handle your booking? 
I still handle the majority of my booking although I’ve hired others to take the reigns from time to time.  Since being an independent musician is more than a full time job it’s important to find good help whenever you think you need it.

 

I should close by saying that this message is sponsored in part by Paul Loyd…he’s just this guy. 


Brianna Lane Online:
Official: www.briannalanemusic.com
Myspace: www.myspace.com/briannalane

 

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Incredible Resources You’ve Never Heard About #1

April 13, 2009

In the last month, some new and interesting websites have been passed on to me so I thought I’d do a post on new and underrated music resources for independent artists. If you are aware of other resources please post them in comments…and give Grassrootsy readers a short description of what the they’re all about it.  If they’re really great, I’ll do a more extensive post on your suggestions in the future. Here goes…

YouLicense.com
What an incredible idea! YouLicense.com is a website specifically created for independent artist who want to license their music for commercialas, movies, and any/all types of media. How it works: Visit the website to create a free acount.  Upload your music (up to 10 songs). You are given the freedom to sell your songs at whatever amount you like.  YouLicense takes only %9 percent commission.

For example: Lets say you have a techno-pop song on your page.  A new sneaker company needs some music to use in a commercial they’re making to advertise their shoes.  You list on your page that you are willing to license your song for $2,000.  If they agree to this, YouLicense allows them to pay you through the site in exchange for the song and takes $180.  You keep the rest ($1,820). 

Companies can also post “Opportunities” which are brief detailed descriptions of the type of music they are looking for.  You can then respond to them with your song. Its a more proactive approach.

YouLicense is an incredible resource b/c producers are always looking for material for training videos, podcasts, movies…etc.  Its also been very difficult for independent artist to get into the licensing industry and this makes things so much easier.  Not to mention the fact that you get paid for your work and your music will potentially reach a much larger audiences.  Love it!

Thanks to Jim Dispirito of Rusted Roots for letting me know about this.  There is so much more to YL, but I still need to do more research.  If you end up using YouLicense, please post a comment and let us know how it worked for you.


ArtistData.com
ArtistData is all about making life easier thru data management. In short ArtistData takes information about your upcoming gigs and sends it to all of your networking sites.  How it works: Visit the website to create an account.  Type in information about your upcoming shows.  ArtistData will then send that information to Myspace, Facebook, Eventful, Twitter, LastFM, PureVolume, Showclix, Sonicbids…etc.  The list goes on.   

ArtistData is still a very new site from what I’m told but the concept is genius and its web layout is clean and easy to use. Thanks to Brooke Annibale for the word on this. 

 

Again, If you’re aware of other resources please post them in comments…and give Grassrootsy readers a short description of what the they’re all about it. 

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