Music is passion. Music is everywhere. Music is everyone. That’s why musicians have so much to gain from social media. Where there are people, there is a potential community for your band. Chances are, unless you have a completely new and outrageous sound, a community based on your genre already exists.
How can musicians and bands utilize the power of social media? Bands have been using social tools more and more over the past few years, changing the focus of Myspace to music, and providing free tracks on sites like purevolume, blip.fm and last.fm. For the most part however, many of these musicians have used these platforms as a broadcast tool, and haven’t been using tools to build a community. Similar to many businesses, musicians aren’t taking advantage of this great opportunity.
Contribute to the community
Like any business, you can’t just join myspace or another community online and start broadcasting your songs and concert dates. You want to engage and connect with your fans. As an active musician, you’re probably knowledgeable about other bands in your genre. Share their music with your fans, connect with their band members and build a relationship.
A beautiful aspect of the music industry is that there isn’t really any rivalry, or a threat of substitutes. Getting your fans to listen to other bands with similar sounds will not make them listen to you any less. It will encourage other bands to also share your music with their fans, ultimately combining and expanding your communities.
“Hey man, check out this band… I know the drummer!”
The same way a CEO and employees can use social media to create a “human” or “personal” image, bands can use these tools to create a personal relationship with their fans. As someone who has been very involved in music scenes in the past, I can attest that knowing a band’s members on a personal level makes fans a lot more loyal and more likely to become “evangelists”. Knowing a band’s members is something to brag about, and fans will recommend a band that they’ve connected with personally.
Share your experiences, your goals, and anything else that’s on your mind. Call on your fans for their contributions. Start a blog and encourage your fans to read by mixing in some inside info/backstage footage. One of my favorite bands, Incubus is a good example with how they use their blog. They post news and events about the band but also write personal posts to their fans and to call on their fans to contribute. You can take it a step further, and start using twitter to connect with your fans in a live, more direct manner.
Your product isn’t limited by geographic constraints and social media allows you to tap into communities anywhere. Whether you’re a small local band or you’re considered “mainstream”, drive the passion of your potential and current fanbase into a collaborative social community and get your sound heard.
I’d really be interested to hear about smaller, local bands you know using social media. If you know of any bands using online tools to build/engage the community, be sure to share them in the comments.