Given that client eSnips has a great new music widget that allows independent musicians to upload, share, distribute and sell their music on any site or blog, the music panels, parties and events seemed like a logical place to hang at SXSW this year. The majority I spoke to had no idea how easy it was to create a widget and hey, for free, what a great deal for any creator wanting to promote their music.
I attended one panel where Skarakis, Eventful’s Glazier (formerly with eBay), Zisk, Zihnel (CD Baby) and Jeff Price spoke about ways independent musicians and creators could promote their creations, websites, tours and CDs, etc.
The panel said to audience largely made up of independent musicians, “Everyone wants you right now, you have a commodity that everyone needs. You have more of a shot than ever before. You can establish relationships with people you want to meet simply by being interesting.”
Their overall suggestions: “interact and cultivate relationships with your fans. Post comments on blogs, engage in the dialogue and the conversation. Fans want to do things for you and they will do a ton of great things for you and it then spreads. And be creative when you’re small. Put out an ad for a sax player who is also a web designer, etc. They will be much more engaged and passionate about it.”
So true and when musicians do that, fans are touched. I blogged about a few musicians who played at the recent TED Conference in Monterey and it is not the only year, I heard back from them, i.e., thank you, we appreciate the love. That personal touch means a lot to fans.
When you go on tour, reach out to your fans and ask them to put out stickers everywhere. With blogs and personalized sites, you can reach out to your fans in ways you never could before.
More advice from the panel, which is not unlike we hear from other social media industry folks who encourage bloggers and marketing execs to be authentic and rather than pitch or sell, engage in the conversation. While you’re at it, be up front and transparent.
Then there were the obvious things that some people still forget: if you’re going to add someone to your mailing list, make sure you get their permission, i.e., opt in. For major fans, give them a back stage pass and say, “see you when you’re next in town.”
Services are thrown out – services musicians can tap into today. Brightcove, MySpace, Revver, YouTube, eSnips, the list goes on from the obscure to the more well known. So many services exist today to reach out, promote, and connect directly with fans and customers.
There’s also a tighter personal connection with fans if they can buy a ticket directly from the musician rather than from a Ticketmaster. If they can connect with you or feel that they are directly connecting with you in a way they never could before, they will become even bigger fans.
The industry used to be album-centric; media over an extended period of time. Advice to musicians: “consider a cover version of a song. Put up a video of you screwing around, put up a fun song, put up a letter to fans, put up a bunch of different kinds of media over the course of a twelve month period. ROLL OUT MEDIA over time opposed to rolling out an album once.”
Also, they suggest registering with PPOs, and continue — as always — to get your music played on radio stations and podcasts. MP3 Blogs can make a difference in musicians’ careers because they can reach so many people.
The next trend will be mobile devices and what they can create. They encouraged musicians to make their musician available on whatever platforms they can afford. “Jump on that bandwagon; be there when they start so you’ll have a good start early on.”
Some bands are starting to do performances in Second Life. As a musician, if you can create that demand, people may start requesting you to do a concert inside Second Life.
Other suggestions: “make your site really easy to navigate. If your website is complicated to get into, you are putting up a barrier. Have great and easy access to data, particularly things like photos for press, etc.”
Someone brought up Snowcap and to be careful as some lines in the fine print apparently take some of your rights away. They can track your music that is being used. Note to the audience: make sure you can cancel your contractual agreement or that you can opt out later on if you upload your music somewhere.
It was a great overall panel with some useful suggestions, tips and insights, particularly for the smaller independent musician.