Wednesday, February 02, 2011
How should bands promote themselves online in 2011?
Question: Hey, hows it going.
First of all I just wanted to say thank you for creating and maintaining this blog! I've only very recently discovered it (from a post of yours on facebook) and I‚ve been reading through all of it for the past week or so. It‚s packed full of useful info for bands and has a lot of awesome stories and info on the late 80's grindcore scene (as well as everything since). I've had to fetch out all my early carcass and napalm death albums just to get in the mood!
Anyway, i was reading your response to the question 'Which social network is best for promotion?". Although you acknowledge myspace was slowly dying back then, it was still the no.1 resource for bands to post news and for fans to interact with them as well as check out new groups with instant access to their info, photos, store etc.
But since the change to the new beta style, it seems about 99.9% of 'real' people have left due to the horrible new design. All myspace seems to be now is bands spamming other bands, and nobody is paying attention to anyone.
It seems to me that the no.1 go-to place to hear the latest news from a band and interact with them is facebook. Although facebook is very limited to what you can accomplish on it without linking to other external sites, it‚s the most convenient place to for bands to directly interact with their audience.
For my own band (http://www.myspace.com/sanhedrin666), I direct fans to the brilliant bandcamp to hear music, and facebook to keep up to the date with the band. I was wondering what your take is on the future of new bands creating an online presence and following.
Is a new 'myspace' all-in-one package going to arrive or is facebook going to become the no.1 go-to-place (or possibly it already is?). The advantage of facebook is that the fans already use it for their own leisure, so they don‚t need to travel elsewhere to keep up to date with the band. That's what myspace used to be until facebook became the no.1 social network.
Answer: Hi Pman, well first of all I'm no expert in Social Networking trends or anything, and this blog doesn't claim to be, but over the years Earache does have a lot of experience in using the various networks to promote our bands.
At one time Earache ran something like 20 MySpaces on behalf of those bands who didn't want to spare the time themselves to do it, and I've already mentioned elsewhere how the entire music genres of Emo and Screamo owe their success to the unprecedented access between bands and fans that the site provided.
So even though everyone agrees the My______ network (that is its new funky name right?) is dying, its also quite interesting that you still use the URL of your My_____ to introduce me to your band- I guess old habits die hard eh?
One thing that is clear in 2011 is that you can't trust any Social Network to be around for ever- and the idea of having your own plain bog standard .com domain name for your band is gaining favour again. It's almost old-school thinking, but a .com serves as a platform to link to the various social networks/ bandcamps /twitter etc that may spring up. Sure they cost a bit of money but its a worthwhile investment.
Facebook is obviously the number one Social Network, so powerful that you might as well not exist if you're not on it. Its free and has zero spam, which is no small feat in itself. Facebook is like a breath of fresh air. However its huge success bring its own problems - it's so family friendly and hugely popular that even your mom, cousins, even neighbours from down the street become linked to you.
Nowadays I know a few musicians who can't promote their band properly on FB for this reason. I guess announcing your killer new gore-grind song "Vomiting Guts of Virgins" or whatever to your FB friends, won't go down too well with the relatives.
I know Facebook allows personal profiles as well as seperate organisation/band pages nowadays but the rules for this seem to change constantly as FB grows ever more successful. Also friend-counts are limited to 5000 friends maximum, which is ridiculous.
Facebook is just so faceless, bland, and family-friendly that its not designed to promote extreme music, or even any music. We have heard of Death-Metal bands pages being flagged and removed for inappropriate content- both Cerebral Bore and Dying Fetus recently encountered this- though both are back on FB now after successfully pleading their case.
It's obvious Facebook doesn't really care about music or bands, as the pathetic music player demonstrates. The site would rather promote games like Farmville which tens of millions of folks play and which brings in serious revenue, rather than deal with bothersome small bands who wanna stream music to their handful of adoring fans. I guess with a market capitalisation of $300 Billon who can blame them?
I agree that bandcamp.com is really good, its the nearest to an 'Old Myspace' feel and allows easy streaming or downloading of songs for bands- but so does Soundcloud, which a lot of bands- mostly techno bands and DJ's though- swear by aswell.
My own favourite site is YouTube which is what I turn to these days to hear bands.We advise all our bands to post videos all the time on YT, especially in the early days of a career as that is where fans are expecting to see and hear from you.
The landscape of the net is changing ever more rapidly, and by next year this blog post will probably be out of date. There are in fact web-experts who predict that the future of the web is to be behind a array of pay-walls, designed for our own protection from spam and the lurking evil scammers (sometimes state-sponsored) that wish us harm and want to control our minds and drain our bank accounts.
So my advice is- enjoy the free web while you can, because it won't be here for ever!