In the last article on creating a Fan base, we discussed attire, and dressing for success. Before that, we talked about infiltrating your local music scenes, getting gigs and so on. In this article, I'd like to start bringing the computer back in to the game with social media and online musician services that you need to know about.
Social media really is what your online enterprise will hinge around. Let's face it, that's where everyone is most of the day, and as this is the case, it's where you should be too. Let's start taking a look at your virtual online home base and some methods for using it.
At this present moment, Facebook is both a blessing and a mild irritant to the musician community. The blessing part is that because everyone and their mother (Yes, literally, my mom is on Facebook now) is on Facebook, it's easy to find people, build a community based on your real life community and, hopefully, get them excited about what you're doing.
The irritating part about Facebook is that there really isn't an easy way to showcase your music. The once mysterious, and difficult to find audio player in Facebook has been taken away with only a '˜We're working on it' message. Music player aside, and we'll get to some workarounds for this soon, it's quite wonderful when it comes to keeping your fan base informed.
My present, working strategy is to regularly make posts that are interesting for my band. Of course, the show announcements always garner a lot of feedback, as well as announcing new singles, albums, videos and so on. But, you'd be surprised about how much little announcements like, '˜New stuff coming soon...' and short, short anecdotes about a '˜day in the life of' can strike up conversations and in some cases, keep them going.
My biggest usage of Facebook comes in the form of Events, and when you're trying to get people to your shows, this really does make life much easier. Invites serve the wonderful purpose of letting you know who is coming, who isn't and plays an over function in telling you whether you need to sit back and relax, or get off your ass and start promoting more.
One important note to remember is to set your events up as soon as you know about them, and then start updating them with pertinent info as time moves closer to the actual date. By continually updating data, this will cause Facebook to list the changes you've made in your regular news feed. By having changes pop up occasionally, you innocently continue your promotion without being annoying and overt.
Another thing I should mention is Facebook advertisements: They actually worked for me. A little bit of money in the $10 to $20 dollar range did go a small way in bringing people that really would be interested in my band to my band. This ultimately led to more likes. Honestly, I would suggest starting very small, and see if it helps.
Now, back to getting your music heard on Facebook, and other fine online avenues for listeners.
My current hero is Bandcamp. I know there are several other services out there, but seriously, this one has saved me a lot of time and energy by consolidating services I need into one place.
First off, iTunes is great, but they take a pretty decent percentage of your overall sales. Bandcamp only periodically takes a small percentage. And, it serves another purpose: You can actually use Bandcamp as a place to showcase your music. Yes, you can publish music on Bandcamp that is not for sale or download if you want, and then do a Facebook embed directly to Facebook. As long as you're currently signed in to Facebook, a music player will show up on your actual Facebook feed.
In the past, services like Soundcloud would allow you to post a song embedded in a player, but in my last several attempts, it doesn't work for an artist page, only individual. As I like having my band post songs, and not my personal Facebook, this is a very cool tool.
Another very handy tool that Bandcamp offers is the ability to send out download codes for albums and singles you've posted. This is especially handy when you know a lot of DJs, as you can set up DJs with download codes where they get your single for free... And, hopefully spin your song. Bandcamp will generate a hundred download codes in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is also highly handy because you can write next to each used code, who the code was given to. For example: Code 56 given to DJ Cheapskate.
One particularly useful tool that Bandcamp provides that I would advise to any musician lacking any form of mailing list would be the '˜Free download for Email' option. By giving away a song for free in exchange for email you can start building a database of people that dig your stuff. After all, if they are willing to give up their email, they are most likely willing to check out a show.
Bandcamp also offers Facebook integration wherein your Bandcamp page appears within Facebook. Remember where I was saying the music player is gone from Facebook? Here's your replacement!
Now, earlier in this article, I sort of bashed iTunes. However, it still is the biggest music retailer in the world. And, you'd be crazy not to have some of your stuff up there. Here's an easy way to get it up there fast.
Tunecore is a service that for a minimal amount of money ($13 dollars for a single) will get your singles, or albums in pretty much any online store out there that deserves your attention. iTunes, included!
I was literally able to get my song in iTunes, Amazon, Amazon Digital, Zune, and at least 20 other stores with one single purchase and upload of my song. It was that easy. Tunecore will even generate a bar code number for you, which is needed for sites like Amazon.
Granted, services like CD Baby have been invaluable to many musicians, and many people will tell you this is the way to go. I just happen to find Tunecore to be the quickest, for my purposes, as I'm not someone looking to release an actual CD, I only care about digital and that's it. CD Baby does provide both, and is an amazing service, too.
So, in this article I've shown you how to build your audience through Facebook, how to display your music and how to sell it. Between these three websites, I've been able to promote, track, and sell my music with very minimal effort.
In closing, I'd like to stress making regular posts. People do forget why they '˜like' certain pages if there isn't a lot of activity. But, pages that are constantly active (and I mean musician pages when I say this) are regular reminders of why not only your band is special, but also why your music is special too.