With today’s growing connection to social media there are many unique ways that people can leverage interaction to achieve brand advocacy. While this is certainly true for businesses, is can be equally true for musicians and artists alike. Combining my passions of music and marketing, I will focus on some interesting opportunities for artists I have observed through the use of social media. From the moment four young British lads stepped foot onto American soil and rocked airways and television sets nationwide, a whole country was forever changed. Rarely do we see such amazing impact and personal connection between musicians and fans.
While utilizing social media may be nothing new for artists, in this digital age there are many new, exciting, and innovative ways for musicians to influence and connect with their fans. Just as The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand had mesmerized and influence millions of viewers, Facebook has managed to captive a generation with even greater magnitude. This has provided some seriously amazing opportunities for musicians.
One of my favorite tools to have come out of the new millennium is Soundcloud. This service allows artists to post their music online and share however they see fit. They can choose to only let a select few listen or the entire world. They can also choose if they want the content to be downloadable (for free of course). By far the coolest and most innovative feature of Soundcloud is the ability for listeners to insert comments at different time intervals on the track as they listen to it. This feature gives the ability for users and artists to interact in a way never seen before.
Artists such as Deadmau5 have been the most creative with this function. A few months back I was privileged enough to take part in a session where Deadmau5 was posting songs, digesting fan comments, and then reworking and reposting the songs in real time. Amazing! It was truly an incredible experience to be apart of; I had never felt so close to such a big artist before. Experiences such as this have won my undying advocacy to such artists whom I now follow religiously on Facebook.
Music with a Message
Personally, I love it when musicians leverage their power to make a difference. One politically charged artist I follow named Lorin Ashton, better known to his fans as Bassnectar, recently put out a cry for help through Facebook. He posted an article and video urging his fans to personally call the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to voice their opinions on net neutrality.
Another great example of artists utilizing their power through social media comes from late 80’s rockers The Pixies (whom I just had a chance to see last month). To boycott Ticketmaster’s control and abuse of ticket handling within the music industry, the band decided to sell their tickets for their recent London tour independently utilizing a service called Topspin.
Topspin is an application that gave The Pixies the ability to communicate with over 100,000 people about their show. Upon arriving, the amazing turnout of fans had their tickets scanned on iPhones via the Topspin iPhone app (currently in private beta invite only). Taking it a step further, the band actually requested fans submit songs they would like to here played at the concert and after the show were emailed live recordings of the concert. Now that’s what we call innovative thinking!
Another great use of social media is the contests artists offer. Currently one of my favorite artists, Rusko, is holding a contest to design a new T-shirt for his upcoming tour. Other artists, such as The Glitch Mob, have run contests to see who can put out the best remixes of their songs as voted by the fans. The winner is getting their remix put on the upcoming remix album. Promotions like this really target the creative sides of their fans and get them very involved. It makes it fun to participate whether or not you win and it’s great to get acknowledgement from artists you respect.
Some artists have fully taken advantage of Facebook as a platform to provide up-to-date information. More and more I see artists utilizing the events feature on Facebook to allow users to RSVP to a show and see which of their friends are going to be there too. This is a really cool feature that I love as sometimes I see friends going to shows I might have never pictured them going to. This enhances my experience and allows me to meet up with people I might have otherwise missed in the crowds.
Additionally, to stay in touch with fans some artists are using social media to stream live performances and new albums, offer free downloads, and post videos. I love it when I get home from a great concert and check my Facebook to find the artist I just saw has posted a live video of the show I was just at and is thanking everyone for a great time. It makes the experience much more personal and gives me something I can share with my friends.
Personalized Experience with a Down-To-Earth Feel
Overall it is this personalization that has made the big difference in connecting through social media that artists have never done before. In my opinion two artists doing this best are Deadmau5 and Daedelus. Deadmau5 does a great job of integrating cool tools online to share his music with the public. More importantly his consistent updates on Facebook and Twitter have a human element that many artists cannot seem to capture. It leads the reader to feel like they are reading the updates from his personal profile which really make for a unique experience.
Also, beyond the picture from his performances and traveling, Deadmau5 posts pictures like any regular Facebook user might (he is particularly fond of photoshopping his cat into hilarious situations). Overall his behavior on Facebook drives me to follow him very closely.
Another great execution of personalization through social media is Alfred Darlington aka Daedelus. This artist is the only big artist I follow who uses a profile page instead of a fan page to interact with fans. This provides some really unique experiences as users can tag him in their photos and even chat with him live. I recently messaged him about an upcoming show I was going to see him at and he took the time to actually talk with him about it. Too cool! The list goes on and on.
Social media has expanded to open up a whole new world in which people can interact. The possibilities are endless. I personally can not wait to see where things are headed from here. What are some of your favorite uses of social media amongst artists? What other forms of social media innovation have you seen?