Posted tagged ‘social media’

Twitter Doesn’t Kill Music Careers Musicians Do

March 9, 2010

I have been kind of floored the past couple of weeks.  There seems to be a ton of twitter-hate going on in the music world. 

But look – I guess I shouldn’t be a hypocrit here.  I really do understand where some of you are coming from.  It took me close to 6 months to figure out the value of twitter and then another 2 or 3 months to figure out how to use it.

Before moving on I do need to say that I would never tell someone they are using a certain social media tool in a “wrong” manner.  But I will say this about twitter:

If you are not having any success with Twitter, then you may need to re-define your definition of “success” with that medium.

And keep in mind:  Success is individually defined.  When I open my Tweetdeck, here are my top 4 goals in order of importance.  If I have been “successful” at completing any of these during a session, I feel really good about it:

#1  Engage with people

#2  Pick up useful/educational info

#3  Share useful/educational info

#4  Promote my blog and music

[Technically #2 and #3 fall under “engaging” I guess…]

So how are you using Twitter?  Are you just blasting out information about your projects?  Are you only using it to promote yourself?

Twitter is just one big long conversation.  And it is REALLY important that you take that seriously.  Otherwise, you risk being the guy at the party blabbering about your band all night.

NO ONE WANTS TO TALK TO THAT GUY.  No one wants to help that guy out.

And look, you do not HAVE to be on Twitter.  I built a decently successful indie career with almost zero social media tools.  Well, Myspace…but hell, that really didn’t count.  It was basically just one big spam orgy. 

But I really do wish I DID have Twitter.  I have met some really cool people these past few months.  Formed some real relationships.  Yes real relationships.  I can actually call these people or meet up with them and feel like I already know them. 

The “faux followers” argument does not apply if you really take the time to engage.  Quality over quantity.

Yea, this is great for total no-label indie bands, but what about the bands on a label?  Why should they have to tweet?

I keep seeing this question.  Here is my answer:  If you are on a label and they are forcing you to tweet then they are doing you a HUGE FAVOR.


Let me see if I can break it out in a linear fashion

  1. Forcing you to tweet “forces” you to engage with your fans
  2. Engaging with your fans builds a stronger connection
  3. A stronger connection leads to unwavering support of your career
  4. Unwavering support of your career by your fans means you last longer and are no longer beholden to said label.  Remember, your fans are YOURS.  Not the labels.  If you have REAL fans, they go where ever  you go.

Engage is the keyword though. 

On a larger scale, Lady Gaga is a great example of someone who engages with the audience.  She tweets backstage at awards shows to thank her fans.  Shoots out tweets during shows and calls people from her cell in the audience to come up onstage. 

Pete Yorn is another one I’ve noticed.  He does an excellent job of just being “one of the guys” on twitter.  He posts some useful info, links to things other than music, and every once in awhile he tweets about something going on with his career. 

This stuff isn’t fluff people.  It’s real.

The day of the “mysterious musician” is dead, I’m telling you.  We are jaded to that.  Sure some guys and gals will still be able to pull it off.  But that is the exception now, NOT THE RULE.


So to bring it back to my headline:  Twitter doesn’t kill music careers.  Musicians who use the medium to constantly promote and wear out interest in their projects kill their careers. 

Instead – hop on and retweet a few tweets that might help someone out.  Poll your audience and ask a question.  Answer a tweet from a “follower”.  After you’ve done all that THEN send out that promotional tweet.

Still not sold on Twitter?  I say give it a shot.  What do you have to lose?


STOP Astroturfing. Create REAL Fans with REAL Content.

February 9, 2010

Quickly defined, “Astroturfing” is creating “fake buzz” about your band or product.  This has always existed in one form or another.  Take for example the stories of record execs visiting local record stores to buy up all the product in an effort to make it appear as if their act moved a ton of records.

When forums first came about, bands would create alternate ID’s to go in and talk up their music in an attempt to stir up some buzz.

It’s fake. Just like Astro-turf It has no roots.  Just like Astroturf.  So it is easily removed and replaced with something else.

Lately, I’ve been seeing some businesses use this approach. I’ve also been running into bands that still use this approach, and it has been mainly taking place on Facebook.

Tell me if this looks familiar:

“Get all of your friends to post how much they like our band and leave it as your status update for an hour!”

Look, I’m no guru or anything. I don’t claim to be an expert…ok, maybe I do claim to be an “expert”.  😉

But don’t you think it is much more organically powerful to create REAL content that people can share to spread your message?

That’s a rhetorical question.  IT IS MORE POWERFUL.

Here is what I mean by real content

1.  Videos of you performing acoustic cover songs or originals and posting to Youtube/Vimeo so your fans can easily embed and share.  Videos of you on the road, backstage, soundcheck, doing comedy skits.  Check out Guster’s Joe’s Place Webisodes for a perfect example.  Jakob Freely (my band) did some of these while recording our last full length.  Click Here to view that one.

2.  Blogs, blogs, and more blogs:  I started blogging in 2004.  By 2005, it was the most popular page on my website.  I told REAL stories from my life and the road.  It gave “fans” more access to me and when I saw them at shows, it gave us an opportunity to talk about things other than music and build a stronger relationship in the process.

3.  Demo & Live Recordings:  Aside from a Flip type video camera of some sort, the best investment you can make in your bands web content strategy is a ZOOM Handy Recorder.  Record demos, shows, rehearsals.  Put them all up on your website for free download.  I can’t stress this enough and I am BLOWN AWAY when people resist.  People will still buy your music…stop resisting giving some of it away.  BE GENEROUS.  It will come back to you ten fold.

Listen, or uh read:  Quality over Quantity.  Now repeat that.  QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.  You want quality fans.  This is the only way you are going to get them.  By being there for them and “rewarding” them with 24/7 access to you and your music.

Show me an artist with even 1,000 hardcore fans and I’ll show you an artist with a very meaningful and lasting career.

We can go much deeper with this, but I’ll stop here for now.  The meaning of this post was to get you to realize that “fake buzz” does nothing more than satisfy your own ego.

Create talk that has some real roots attached to it…


Twitter:  @davemhuffman