For the Music Success in Nine Weeks blog challenge, I’m rolling weeks 4 (Web 2.0) and 5 (Newsletter List, Emailing List, and “who are your fans?” (called out from the chapter for my own nefarious reasons)) into one post. I have fallen a little behind in the blogging of my music success exploits due to my travails with my producer over the last few weeks – which are still ongoing – and aim to catch up to the rest of the field in the time honoured tradition of taking a shortcut 🙂
You’re probably wondering, Dude, what’s with the evil eyes at the top of the post!? Before I get into the whys and wherefores of my “Bete Noire“, I’ll regale you with my Chapter 4: Web 2.0 adventures.
In a very high level summary, the essence of “Web 2.0” is living, interactive content, as opposed to static, “storefront looking” content. This made sense to me as soon as I read it – particularly the idea of Web 1.0’s ideology being static and brochure-like. Ariel spoke of the resistance some musicians had felt to Web 2.0 and its new paradigm of multiple, dynamic, and interactive sites and these thoughts came to mind and got me on board immediately:
- What’s the point of having a dynamic, hyper-linked, searchable, response-ready platform – The Web – if you’re just going to treat it like a sheaf of paper and post a brochure of your product/brand? Boooo!!!
- A dynamic, interactive platform is ideal for music, as music – the gigs, the sharing of albums, the tea room discussions of merit and relevance – is all about involvement. Yayyyy!!!
So with very little persuasion from Ariel, I augmented my official site – beautifully authored and webmastered by the wonderful Lady April Tree – with the following:
- Twitter – Yes, as it did with Ariel, the idea made me angry initially (140 characters of “what are you doing?” Doesn’t the world have enough inane chatter about meaningless minutiae?) but I very quickly changed my tune (pun intended (I rarely make a pun that I didn’t intend ;-P)) It’s ideal for “bulletins” and sharing links, and its hashtag and trending features make it easy to search for – and draw attention to – particular points of interest.
- YouTube – As my producer pointed out fo me in discussion last week, people in the Web 2.0 era like to see what they’re listening to, particularly as so much listening is done online. Plus, it really breaks down the barrier between content creation and content dissemination. Observe – the band’s official video clip to Couldn’t This Be posted minutes after the final film grade was done, and – from the sublime to the ridiculous – me deadlifting 440lb, showing the things I get up to when I don’t have a guitar in my hands.
- Myspace – I don’t tend to “water” this part of the garden as much as I should – and I know from the comments I’ve read that many of you are with me on this one – because the interface is so damn horrible! Maybe it’s just me, but I find it really difficult to work with. It was, however, my first foray into online-ism for my music, as it may have been for many musicians reading this, so for that I thank them 🙂
- Flickr – Another thing for which I’m indebted to the Lady April Tree – she being the band photographer as well as the web author, she set the site up and posts to it – ah – well, more regularly than I do, let’s put it that way! (Another thing Ariel speaks about is the importance of delegation – yep, agree with that one wholeheartedly!)
- This Blog. Gawd, like I need *another* avenue/excuse to talk about myself! No Br’er Fox, please don’t throw me in the briar patch!!
Chapter 5: Newsletter List, Mailing List, who are your fans?
This is the point at which, climbing the Wave 3 Mountain, I see the remains of my Wave 2 base camp, where, nine or so weeks ago, I spent a night or two, miserable, cold. and depressed, before striking camp and backing down the mountain to do something else, leaving behind a drafted newsletter and a minimal list of email addresses.
This is because any question involving my fan base is my Bete Noire.
Why is this? Isn’t every musician all about the fans?
Well, the problem for me isn’t the fans – it’s the lack of them. And turning that lack into a healthy abundance – let alone the career sustaining “1000 true fans” – is a problem that, to me, is the gigantic huge elephant in the room every time someone – manager, agent, blogger, industry expert, even, dare I say it, the MSI9W program – gets past empowering us budding musos with the ideas of self promotion and the tools to start doing so, and talks about the next step – building something from nothing. This elephant is in the room with me, every article I read telling me that the ‘net is the great democratic leveler for music, that radio and record labels don’t control the streams of distribution and creativity any more:
How do you place yourself in front of people who haven’t heard you before? Who want to hear from you?
OK, that wasn’t pretty. Thanks for indulging me. Every muso who read that just said to him or herself, “Suck it up princess, and do something about it! I am!”
Alright, one last thing – Let me put it another, brutal way. How many of your favoured artists, the ones of whom you might call yourself a “true fan” did you become aware of through your own research – through blogs, iLikes, related searches and such – and how many via promotional media – radio/TV/advertising/Film placement? And if “through friends,” how did they become aware of the artist? How much time do you spend just “looking” for new music that you didn’t hear about through one of the aforementioned channels? And if you found an artist you liked, did you buy a substantial amount of their merch?
I’m done now – I promise – just had to get that off my chest, for every venue owner who’s said, “I’ll give you a gig if you can sell 40 tickets,” filling the venue with my friends and few fans who pay their money, buy the venue’s grog, and increase MY fan base by not one person.
Sorry – venting is like vomiting – you think you’re finally done, and another wave hits you.
It’s pretty obvious that I’m not yet in a position, as chapter 5 asks, to talk about who my fans are, and what they want from me. The “friends, friends of friends, and family” base has been worked pretty hard already – I didn’t need MSI9W to do that – and the great unknown mass out there, the mass that may or may not like my music – I’m fine with that, I’d just like the chance for them to hear me and decide – seem beyond the reach of any efforts I could make to reach them that doesn’t seem transparently grasping (eg engaging with blogs I’d like to be reviewed on, hoping I’ll hook them into talking about me without sounding like that’s exactly what I want.) I can imagine them thinking, “ANYONE can tell me they deserve a review – if you deserve one, wouldn’t I have heard of you somewhere other than from you?”
All of the above – if you’re still with me – means that I guess I’m not ready for week 5 yet (though weeks 6 and 7 appear more promising – maybe I’ll yet take the opportunity to “change the rules as I go” and do them first?)
So I’m very positive about the potential of the brave new wide web world 🙂 – but a little down about the translation to results. I promised to follow the MSI9W program better in wave 3 than 2 0 – and I will – but I also promised myself to tell the truth in my blogs – as ugly and warty as that truth is sometimes.
Maybe I just need to leave it a couple of days and come back with a fresh perspective.
This is not procrastination.
Not this time, anyway 🙂