Ever since the music industry started its massive meltdown in the late ’90s, record labels have cut back on both the number of artists they represent, and the amount of promotional support they give to artists that remain on their rosters.
But, while that dealt a crushing blow to the careers of some artists; it inspired many others to use interactive technology and do-it-yourself ingenuity to forge strong connections with fans online.
One very successful example is Radiohead’s 2007 “Pay What You Like” marketing strategy. While some fans paid nothing; the band still netted a hefty sum which they didn’t have to split with a record label. But they had an advantage that most bands don’t have; worldwide fame built while they were represented by a major record label.
But even without a global following, indie artists can be successful by marketing themselves via social media. First making a big splash on the once hugely popular MySpace,; many artists have now turned to Facebook. With a half billion Facebook members worldwide; the current king of social media is most certainly a bully pulpit for bands to promote their work.
However, site changes that caused many band pages to get lost in the shuffle after the such as the recent introduction of the Facebook timeline, have caused some musicians to re-think their online strategy. CD Baby, the music distribution website for independent artists, recently contacted members and published a blog post urging bands to stop relying so heavily on Facebook.
While it’s important to have a presence on Facebook, they say, it’s more advantageous to run most of your promotion through your own website. That way, you control the look and feel of your web pages, maintain control of your mailing list, and keep a steady and recognizable brand image no matter what changes Facebook makes to the look and feel of their own site. Use Facebook to drive traffic to your own site; but don’t rely on it exclusively.
I couldn’t agree more. Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social media sites are great vehicles for self-promotion. Used properly, they can help you gain attention, build a fan base, notify fans about upcoming shows, and ultimately–help you make money.
But if there’s one lesson every musician should have learned by now; you are your own best friend when it comes to making a living in the music industry. From the well publicized industry rip-offs of classic recording artists, to current controversies over file sharing, piracy, and licensing; artists are often the first ones exploited, and the last ones paid.
Find out more about how you can take control of your own musical destiny by following these links: