The impact of Twitter and Facebook on the indie artist. Part 2

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

If you’ve been with the blog from the start, which I doubt anybody was seeing as it was never intended to be public, then you’ll remember a little rant/feature I did on how Twitter and Facebook have helped the indie artist. Well that post was pretty short and didn’t really make the point I thought it would. So because of that I’m officially revisiting the post with this part. Think of the first post as Eminem before he hit it big, pretty decent and made some good points but hadn’t much of an impact. And think of this post as Eminem when he went into the “Slim Shady” phase, made some good points (if a little crazy) and has much more of an impact…and hopefully this post reaches a much wider audience. So let’s jump right into it.

1. You can “share” virtually anything. 

With the advances of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter it’s almost become unheard of not to be on these sites. You don’t ask for a person for their number anymore, you ask for their Facebook. It’s become a main source of staying in contact for some people. It’s free, almost everyone has access to it and anyone can join. This makes it a perfect tool for indie artists. Unlike business cards, flyers, posters or any other kind of advertising, you don’t pay for Facebook or Twitter. You can sit down at your computer and in ten minutes you have a free, international reaching platform for your music. Everybody knows about Facebook and Twitter unless you’ve been living under a rock. In which case I applaud your ability to read this blog.

Even the most lazy person can make a decent looking fan page or Twitter account. Just look at the GrindOrDie fan page on Facebook. That took about 10 minutes and it doesn’t look too shabby if I do say so myself. And anything I post on the page I can hit a button and send it to any of my friends walls or another artists page. One click and you can put your content on another page or mention the artist on Twitter and they will see it if they check their mentions.

2. It’s free or extremely cheap. 

courtesy of goodmusicforfree.blogspot.com

As I mentioned in the last point, Facebook and Twitter are free for anyone to join. Rupert Murdoch, a multi millionaire joined Twitter recently and he didn’t have to pay just like I didn’t when I joined. But apart from being free there are some expenses to these sites. Facebook lets you make up an ad that is shown on the side of the page. You can customise the search terms, tags, interests, and basically who will see your ad. So you know that only the people who have an interest in what you do will see your ad. This saves you money and it works out better as you’re not wasting your time by trying to advertise to people who have no reason to want or need your product. How many ads have you seen for products completely unrelated to the page you were on?

Twitter has services like Tinysong that let you post shortened links to songs off Grooveshark. Services like Twiturm which let you upload an mp3 or link to an existing one and share it on Twitter. The link leads to a player which lets you download, play or retweet the track and it keeps stats on plays, downloads and shares.

Even neglecting all the add on’s and upgrades and external sites that you can go through to promote, share and spread the word about your stuff you still have the old reliable hash-tag. #music,#newmusic or even just the simple #indie will get you tons of results for all sorts of artists, songs and sites and even some oddballs. So even if you tag your stuff with #SoundsLikeHueyMack or #NextMacMiller the odds are people will see it. Which leads me onto my next point…

3. It’s international.

It’s an obvious reason but a reason none the less. If you put up flyers and posters in your town/city and do open mic nights and anything else you can think of that will help you, unless you happen to stumble upon a music blogger in one of the venues or you get noticed by a record exec you will remain largely in your town. FB and Twitter widen your audience to include anyone who has an account on either of the social network sites. Yeah your fans could post your stuff on their pages and what not but let’s face it, nobody really listens to that stuff. If you see a video on your friends page you’re probably going to check it out to see what it’s like but thats about as far as you’ll go.

But if you go onto an established artists page and see a post from an indie artist with a Youtube video of one of their tracks then you’re going to check it out. Even if it’s just to let them know how bad they are in comparision to the artist who’s page your on. Face it, it’s what we do as a race. You don’t like something and you don’t know the person, odds are you’re going to call them on it and let them know just how shit their stuff is.

Just look at Rebecca Black. She didn’t gain infamy because she could sing, she gained it because we shared the video on FB and Twitter. It spread like a virus and eventually hit “viral” status. Why? All because one of your friends friends friends saw it on a site somewhere and posted it, then your friends friend saw it and posted it then your friend posted it and then finally you posted it. All because we couldn’t bear to let this girl not know just what we thought.

4. Instant access to fanbase. 

Most artists have their own personal site. It’s only natural that it happens eventually. But theirs one thing that you cannot do on a personal web page that you can do on Twitter and FB. You can have all the chat widgets, comments boxes, RSS feeds and anything else you can think of but nothing beats FB for the sheer instantaneous connection it gives you. You can chat to fans and business contacts as quick as you can type. And instead of waiting for them to check their e-mail or add a subject and your e-mail address all they do is type their message and hit enter. As an artist it lets your fans feel like they are a part of the music and they can give ideas or business contacts and try help. While most of what is said is probably along the lines of “Dude, you are freaking awesome. Love the new song my man. Keep doing you.” It’s amazing what can be hidden among the piles of rubbish that people say.

5. Linked into everything. 

Social networking is all about connecting with people and letting them know about you. This is made extremely easy by services like “Facebook Connect” this feature is on many websites like Vimeo and it allows you to connect your Facebook account to your Vimeo account. But some sites don’t do the full connect experience. Youtube allows you to share videos and “like” them. It saves the hassle of writing up a seperate piece after you uploaded that video to youtube. Hit share and instantly your fans know you uploaded a new video. Same goes for Twitter. Services such as TweetForATrack let users know that for the price of one tweet they can get  a free track from an artist they may not have otherwise gotten. Everywhere you go on the web there will probably be a “like” box. This helps you get your point across without writing a separate piece on FB or Twitter, saving time.

If you are doing a gig in an event and that event is on FB, which it probably will be, then you click “like” and share that. People then know that Mike Stud is playing in the “Middle East” and all you did was hit “like”.

So that brings that to a close. If you stuck around and managed to finish that then I am extremely grateful. I know how hard it is to read something so long for extended periods on a computer screen. Hope to do more features like this, with more breaks in the text so it’s not so hard to read. And after all that, share this post on FB and tweet the link if you liked it. Or visit the GrindOrDie FB page and like and share the post.

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