The iBand (pt 1) - MusicNSW

The iBand: Social Media part 1

How artists are using social networking sites to promote their music across the world

More and more of Australia’s music fans are turning to the internet to learn about, interact with and listen to new bands and artists. Its therefore extremely important for bands to understand how they can promote themselves over the most popular internet sites in the world -  the  social networking sites that have infiltrated our lives such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

This article goes through a few of the most popular sites to highlight some of the new and innovative ways bands promote their music and image across the world.

MySpace – the Industry Standard
Whenever someone speaks of promoting their music over the internet, we all think the same thing – ‘ah they have a MySpace site!!’. MySpace has definitely become the industry standard and the go to point for fans looking to find out about a new bands. Many bands now forgo their own websites in favour for the more common MySpace Page. MySpace is where the likes of the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen [who else got signed through MySpace] got discovered and has lead to much success for countless other acts across the world.

But there’s one problem with MySpace – as its a global site, MySpace gets bombarded with noise. There are millions of bands, each promoting their music, image, tours and merch, over the site so it becomes much harder to get your music potential fans. This is one of the reasons why MySpace memberships have been dropping drastically over the past year or so.

One essential part of promoting your music, whether it be in the real or the digital world, is to make sure people are around to get your message. In the online world, everyone seems to be hanging around Facebook. As of April, Facebook welcomed their 200 millionth user. Lets face it, Facebook has deeply penetrated our society and most possibly your target audience. So it would be a smart idea to get your band and music involved in it too.

A popular way to get your band inside Facebook is by setting up a Band Page. Here, you can stream your music, upload pictures and interact with your fans via the ‘facebook wall’. Band Pages also allow you to send announcements to anyone who becomes a fan on Facebook.

Many observers consider Twitter to be the new Facebook and believe that twitter will hit 18 million members by 2010. This micro-blogging site allows members to share their ideas on anything with anyone who cares to listen. The inherent vagueness of the site provides many possible avenues in which bands can promote their brand and music.

Up and coming bands can provide links of recent live recordings and as well as real-time interaction between them and their fans. Think, of it this way, you are backstage, waiting to come on and strut your stuff. Why not post a few comments and pics of what’s going on backstage so your fans in the mosh pit can get involved as well?

This ability to communicate, in real time, with fans was what drove the popularity of Lady Gaga. All the commotion about her over the twitter channels led to her ‘discovery’ by a label – and the rest is history…

The video site YouTube is the perfect example of how word of mouth can take over the globe. Think of Susan Boyle, and all those weird videos that you’ve passed on to all your friends.

In this same way, bands can also promote their music and image to potential fans. Many bands post up videos of their recent live concerts as well as video blogs and backstage/tour bus footage.

The New Streaming Websites
To effectively promote your music over the internet, it is essential that you keep up with the latest trends.  There are many sites that are set to become the new Facebooks and twitters of the world, so it pays to get involved with them at an early stage.

One of the latest trends to hit the world of digital music is the advent of streaming music websites. These websites recommend music to its members based on their own musical tastes. They provide the ideal environment in which people of the digital age meet to discuss and discover new music. Users can comment on songs, rate songs, share their playlists and recommend music to other users. By allowing others to stream your music over these sites, you have the potential to tap into new audiences that are craving new music. It would be a great idea to get involved in such sites as ilike, lastfm, spotify, pandora and imeem.

Its important to remember that there is no silver bullet in promoting your music. To give your music the best possible opportunity of getting noticed in the digital world, you should communicate with your current and potential fans not just through one social website – but through many.

By consistently interacting with a variety of websites, bands may find their music being played in networks that were once unreachable. One catch though – lets hope your music is good enough for world domination!