If used correctly, social media can break you into the music industry not only faster but also far more notoriously. Rebecca Black is the latest example of Internet stardom, and when you know the full facts and how much money it actually took her to get the video for “Friday” together ($ 4000 – her mother paid for it) then the one conclusion to be reached is that just anybody can do it.
And Rebecca Black is also a perfectly illustrative example if only because she has fallen prey to the derision that always besets such artists, with her “hit” quickly becoming the most-hated song on the Internet (it has almost 2 million “dislikes”, as opposed to 250,000 “likes”)
So, how could these pitfalls be avoided? How can a social presence be established and nurtured in the healthiest way of all?
I think that a basic analysis would let us agree on the following points:
1) Make sure you are picking the right social site.
Should you go for MySpace or Facebook in order to begin promoting your art? Up until now, MySpace used to be the social site of choice for musicians. Yet, the network has recently withstood one blow after the other – its userbase has been dwindling (owing in no small part to the proliferation of platforms like Bandcamp and ReverbNation), and key staff has been rotating to the point it’s downright difficult to keep track of all comings and goings. The coup d’ grace came last week, as owner Rupert Murdoch announced that he was putting the site for sale (and for a pittance of its real value at that).
When pressed to make a choice, Internet artists like Lady Gaga have always gone for Facebook. Just compare Gaga’s 1.5 million friends on MySpace to the more than 31 million “likes” she has on Facebook. And Gaga actually makes extensive use of her Twitter account, just like Justin Bieber does. Doing cross over content is an integral part of the game, and micro-sharing platforms like Twitter are always used in tandem with social networking sites to truly connect with audiences.
2) Know how to market your music intelligently.
Upload tracks for your fans to listen at no cost. If you are an unknown, not many would be willing to pay for the privilege of listening to your songs. By letting them listen to what you do for free, you will be giving people the impression that all you really want to do is spread your message, regardless of monetary considerations. And that’s all the encouragement many would need to try your music out.
And once you’ve built a fanbase, reward them for their time and dedication – run competitions, give away goodies like CDs and signed photos and posters, give them a chance to meet you… give them whatever you’d love to receive as a fan yourself.
3) Ask for crowdfunding.
There are many platforms to aid artists that look for funding, but there’s one that stands out from the rest. I’m talking about Kickstarter, where artists can expose their ideas and (provided they are eloquent and passionate-enough) get the money of people who are willing to support creative types the world over.
I think these three points are the ones we would all unanimously agree upon. Yet, I’m also sure your personal (and professional) experiences might have given you a different insight. Please, share your thoughts in the comments and let everybody know the secrets/strategies you have discovered for successfully cracking the market open.