The first thing you do when you form a band is get yourself on Myspace. You don’t even need a song recorded, just get your band’s name registered and you’re famous. Sort of.
Where would musicians be without Myspace? What did we do without it? Oh yes, play gigs and try to sell CDs…
Can the social media really, i mean really, give a band the extra audience they need to ‘make it’?
The obvious examples of Lily Allen and The Arctic Monkeys, both of whom leveraged Myspace to build hype around their music are, so far, the only artists to have properly engaged with an audience on the web, despite the vast amounts who have tried.
The argument for:
1) If your band is active enough, status updates can offer an insight to your followers what life is like in a band, even if it is only your band. “On way to venue, stuck in traffic” is hardly the most outrageous post, but, it lets your followers know that they too, stuck in traffic, are on your level.
2) Offers of exclusives are a wonderful motivator for a fan or a would-be fan. Offering your followers an exclusive track if they sign up to your feed is a positive interactive tool that can encourage loyalty. Ok so it’s not a hand written note inside a CD case, but it’s the 21st century’s equivalent.
3) A loyal following could convince a minor label to take a chance. Much in the same way 50,000 listens of your visionary work on Myspace will grab a record exec by the shoulder, 5,000 people who want to know your every rock and roll move is a sign of a decent sized fanbase.
The argument against:
1) Being in a band isn’t really that entertaining for an outsider, unless you’re U2 or Radiohead. Who cares if you’re stuck in traffic on the way to a horrible little pub in south London. Not me.
2) There’s not enough people switched onto these sites yet to make a differene. If only a handful of tech journalists are listening, they’re not going to get you into the NME or the ears of a baying public
3) It’s idealistic to think that record executives are tuned into social media. Alot of A&R people are still looking on Myspace to find bands and not monitoring content feeds from bands, promoting their music in a web 2.1 format.
So what do you think? Go take the survey in a (hopefully not too disastrous) attempt to produce some wholly original content and provoke discussion!