As a musician heavily involved in the operation of social media I have had plenty of time to observe the power that social media brings to help up-and-coming musicians and performers grow. Years ago you had to "get lucky" to get noticed by the mainstream world, while today your video or sound recording is only a click away from thousands of hungry music producers and record label executives looking for "the next great" thing. It might not be everyone's dream to become a world wide sensation but there are a handful of tools available to you at no cost that will help promote your hard work and talent. We all deserve at least a little recognition for our creativity from time to time.
Keep in mind that most musicians and performers are after one thing, an emotional reaction from their audience. Of course, no one likes to be booed off stage, but take Rebecca Black for example. You may not know who she is, but I am sure most of you recall the YouTube video "Friday" written, produced, and released by Ark Music. Yes, her mom did pay them a few thousand dollars to produce the music video but it was the world-wide reaction that boosted Rebecca Black into the media's eye. Here's a timeline of what happened:
February 10, 2011 - "Friday" was uploaded to YouTube and received about 1,000 views in it's first month.
March 11, 2011 - The music video went viral, receiving millions of views within a few days, becoming the most "talked about" thing in social media. If you recall, there were some pretty negative things going around.
March 22, 2011 - Billboard reports an estimated $40,000 in the first-week of sales of the digital single
March 22, 2011 - Rebecca Black appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
March 2011 - Ryan Seacrest had reportedly assisted Black sign a contract with DB Entertainment.
July 18, 2011 - Self-produced single and video "My Moment" was released which currently has 25,780,000 views (310,144 likes, 539,472 dislikes)
August 2011 - Rebecca Black wins a 2011 Teen Choice Award for "Choice Web Star"
Rebecca played the media, which has made her a millionaire and one of the fastest rising teenage stars. No matter what you say about her, she is the one who will have the last laugh.
This story may make a lot of musicians and veteran performers cringe. Is it fair, probably not. But then again not many things in life are. You have to always be one step ahead of the game, but how do you get there?
Here are a few suggestions...
1. Identify your product. Whether it be original music like teen star Justin Bieber or cover songs arranged and performed like it was your own like Sam Tsui or Peter Hollens, you need something to promote. Without this you really have no place to go.
2. Create a website or join social media sites that have you, the artist, in mind. YouTube is great but think about what you are competing against. Anything and everything from music to politics to comedy to "how to" videos. Yes, there are a handful of artists who have been discovered on YouTube but making your mark across the web is the key. YouTube is a great place to catalog your videos as most other social networking sites allow you to embed their videos. It is essential to take advantage of any opportunity to share your videos on the web whether its on a variety social network like Facebook or niche networks like Reverbnation and www.TheNextGreatSinger.com.
3. So you have a product and you have plastered it across the social media world, what next? This is where most artists fall short. There is nothing like visiting a performer's website or band profile page that hasn't been updated in a few weeks, months, or even years. This is a quick turn off for new fans, producers, and entertainment business executives. How do I know, because I stumble across these profiles day in and day out and I am quick to jump onto the next page if there is no "current or recent" activity. Why? Because when I look for new talent to promote I am looking for someone who is into doing what it takes to further their career. You will find that musicians and artists who actively communicate with their fans and update their music, videos, and gig schedules are more likely to develop a consistent following. You want your fans to be active on your site or social media wall, responding to posts you have added. A good way is to post a blog once a week, updating your fans and followers about your performance whereabouts as well what has been going on. Give your fans a little inside info from time to time. The more you connect to your fans the more loyal they become. You want ambassadors of your music. These are the people that will help you grow by re-posting your posts, re-tweeting you tweets, and sharing your videos and music with their friends. It may even help to find a network that will feature your blogs on their site as well as their social media sites. (Hint hint)
4. Approach the music business as not being a competition. Yes it tends to be very competitive, but blowing off musicians, producers, venue owners, or fans because you "think" you know more than them or you "think" that you are better than them is a BIG mistake. You can learn so much from your fellow comrades. Blowing people off can lead to a potential disaster in the long run. Remember that we are essentially all in this together. You never know who you may meet along the way that may make it big. If it was someone who really liked you, you may be asked to be the opener for their next big tour.
5. Always respond to emails within 24 hours. This may seem lame but could potentially make or break your career. You never know when a major producer, record label or exec will contact you. It is important that you respond in a timely fashion. A good way to be sure you communicate back to everyone is to set an auto reply message. Of course the message would have to be a general response, but it goes a long way for people to know that you actually received their message. Be sure to check your email a few times a day so you don’t miss that potential life-changing one.
6. When you think you have done enough, do more. There is no limit on what you can do to promote yourself. Get involved with the community, host an open mic, put together a benefit concert, visit your local radio stations, meet music venue owners, network, network, network.
To be continued....
Please feel free to post questions and comments below.
Source: The Internet
Jennifer Sladky is the community admin, talent scout, music/film producer, sound engineer and lead blogger for www.TheNextGreatSinger.com. To contact Jennifer email email@example.com