Posted tagged ‘twitter’

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.

Why?

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.

Now fans WANT ACCESS.

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?

5 Fatherly Lessons Learned From Being The Shocker on Halloween

November 11, 2009

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We were nearing the eve of Halloween and my wife calls me “Hey Dave, I’m at the costume store…what do you want?  They have a pirate outfit and this Shocker costume thing.”  A SHOCKER COSTUME? I thought.  This is going to be money.

Before you read on you must know that I’m a pretty good dad.  I quit playing music every weekend and traveling the country to be home more and I have generally put my son before me in every case.  But I’m kind of sloppy.  I like to drink.  I really like to say F*ck.  And given the choice between a “Pirate Costume” and a “Shocker”….I’ll take the Shocker EVERYTIME.  In fact, if you had a suit made of big old hairy floppy balls, I would actually wear that everywhere.  Then I’d walk door to door holding Howie’s hand and when we knocked upon the door and it opened he’d say “Trick or Treat”  and I would feverishly flop myself all over the people passing the candy out.

Juvenile?  No.  At least I expose the skeletons in my closet.

Turns out, this Shocker costume was the most horrible asshole stupid costume I could have ever gotten.  The fingers wouldn’t stay up, it was uncomfortable, and the costume just overall bombed.  Bigtime.  At one point some guy decided to interrogate me in front of 15 other people asking, “What are you supposed to be bud?”  I was like “The Shocker”.

And no one laughed.

He said “Oh…I thought you were supposed to be a big middle finger.”

Anyways…I learned a few things about life and fatherhood from this experience.  And since numbered lists are all the rage with blogging these days, I figured I would jump on the bandwagon before it runs out of gas.  Or steam…or whatever in the balls a bandwagon uses for power.

1.  Read the instructions
How many of you actually read instructions when putting something together for your kids?  You are a liar if you say you do.  Welp, it is time to tear them from the plastic.  If I would have even looked at the instructions for the costume I would have seen that you are supposed to STUFF THE G*D DAMN FINGERS WITH PAPER.  Then they wouldn’t have fell down.  Then I would have looked like the Shocker.  Then I would have conquered the world.

2.  Listen to your wife (or girlfriend or mom)
I still won’t do this because it sucks, but she had a couple of suggestions that were better in hindsight.  I thought I was going to kill the world with my Shocker costume.  I was so immersed in my delusions of grandeur that I couldn’t even hear the warnings spewing from her mouth.  All I could hear or see was how awesome I was going to be and how this costume was going to revolutionize Halloween itself.

3.  Stand Up and Own It
The only REAL time that this costume was awkward was when I felt embarrassed about its shittiness.  Once I settled on the fact that it was too late to turn back, I stopped taking the costume off and started looking people in the eye.  Even with all 5 fingers flopping down to the floor, I would answer “The Shocker” with full confidence when asked what I was supposed to be.  I think you could actually walk into a room completely buck ass naked and if you own it…people will love you for it.

4.  Strike those first two and follow your gut
Some say life is short.  Some say life is loooong. No matter what you believe, one thing holds true…when we get older the only things we have are memories.  Good or bad, we can usually at least laugh at most of them.  If I would have went as some stupid teddy bear thing, no one would have cared either way and I would have one less story to share over a beer or in the nursing home one day.  Or better yet, over a beer IN the nursing home…

5.  Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
If I were Captain Anal, I probably wouldn’t have worn a costume at all, much less a Shocker.  I got some pretty dirty looks that night from some other Captain Anals.  Actually, Captain Anal would be a sweet costume.  That’s what I’m going as next year.  Wait, that actually sounds kind of twisted…what if people thought that I was actually into…nevermind.

Thanks for the advice…That was a shitty list, Dave.

Yea, well aside from “reading the instructions” and “listening to your wife” I think it’s all fairly manly/good fatherly advice…I won’t repeat the first two ever again because I actually felt myself turn into a woman for 5 minutes as I was typing them.

Seriously though, what would you add to the list?  Go any costume idears?

p.s.  Go check out Noah and the Whale’s Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down. Just bought that one and it is awesome.  It’s also perfect bath time music…It makes the whole wrestling a demon child down into the water much more peaceful.

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