ESSENTIALS (Hypebot) – The music industry has had a desperate flavor to it these past few years. We have been continuously told that there is a pending transition, and that the future of music consumption is just around the corner. There has been ceaseless speculation that a new model is what’s needed, and it is only a matter of time before a huge innovation comes along which restructures the way we consume our music.
With everyone vying for a piece of the future, maybe we have blindly put our faith in a new outside source creating this elusive Holy Grail. Ever since Myspace revolutionized the way bands connected with their fans, artists have been hoping that the excitement of discovering music in a new way will repeat itself, and by signing up for every given opportunity, they will be on the cusp of that breaking wave.
Hot on the agenda for 2012 will be how Spotify performs and is utilized by artists, both established and fledgling. However, the most important sites are likely to be the ones that have already built a strong and dedicated user base. Before we whole-heartedly embrace the new fangled, all-shining, latest taste sensation, it may be time to look at the tools that are already right under our noses.
1. YOUTUBE: YouTube is without doubt the most important and effective tool for breaking new bands and launching the latest music. If you are not creating watchable and engaging video content, you better be touring your way through every venue that will have you. How else will anyone be able to see what you look like, see how you perform, and make full sense of your sound?
Space on radio and TV is extremely limited and the Majors have a firm hold on those. But with the right video you can slowly, or sometimes quickly, build your fan base on a very low budget. Creating regular effective content is the digital equivalent of playing every dive bar in town on the hunt for fans.
We have eyes and ears, and the more senses that can be titillated when engaging curious passersby, the more likely you are to make them want to stick around a while.
2. FACEBOOK: Not because of the band pages – which continue to be drab and faceless – but because its use is ubiquitous. Everybody is doing it – your mum, my mum, your old school pals. It is not so much about getting likes for your own page, it is about creating content on a site like YouTube, that people then share in their own timeline. Viral spread is not achieved because you have 2000 followers; it succeeds because you create something that those 2000 followers just have to share. So, content is king, and the most effective content is hosted on YouTube and shared on Facebook.
Success on Facebook is largely out of your hands, however that doesn’t stop it from being the most vital source for spreading your music. Facebook should be a launch pad for your content, not your main page or substitute for keeping an email list.
3. YOUR OWN WEBSITE: It is amazing how many artists don’t have their own site, or if they do, they don’t see fit to make it easily accessible and constantly updated. Your website should be used to direct those people who follow you; to whichever outlet YOU want them to use in order for them to become familiar your music.
In all honestly, if you don’t have a website, you should point your URL to your YouTube page before anything else. And if you can’t, because you don’t have good content, then it is time break out iMovie and start creating.
TAKE CONTROL 2012 will be the year of taking control of your content, not spreading it through every Tom, Dick & Spotify. Find a formula and work it hard, stick with it, and perfect it. If people come to your site and you are not definite with your plan, they will get confused and leave.
Your message needs to be: This is who we are, this is what we look and sound like, and here is how we want you to obtain our music.