How can bands use Twitter?

It seems to me that bands, musicians, artists, however you wish to classify music makers, have yet to ‘crack’ Twitter. There are many artistes on the micro-blogging service making the most of the opportunity to tweet. Lily Allen, Mike Skinner and the Maccabees are all active social media purveyors, tweeting now and then various random snippets such as:

PETA , By the way my coat isn’t real fur, but it was bloddy expensive. Cover me in paint and I WILL send you the bill.

Just gave magic a big fat ableton controller for his birthday. Light up DJ toys and a beautiful woman is all a man needs

…from the aforementioned Ms. Allen and Mr. Skinner. But, how about this from the Maccabees:

We have just announced some exclusive final tickets for our Camden Barfly show on March 5th over on our myspace…very limited!

Freebies? Offers? To people on Twitter? Not yet.

A conversation with a journalist from my former local rag got me thinking about what bands could be doing to engage with their fans on Twitter. (And here’s the resulting interview)

Now, one of the hardest bits about being in a band, is building buzz around what you’re doing and getting people to come to your gigs time and time again. So why not make each one a little bit special and only announce it to people following you on Twitter?

Or what’s more, we’re all familiar with the elusive invite code that protects new startups from over-eager users, so why not use a similar system giving away free tracks to tweeple?

Twitter should not be used by bands, as many do, to simply say ‘got a gig in Camden, see you there’. That is of course broadcasting. Why not ask fans on Twitter where they want you to gig, or how about offer a competition to play round someone’s house?

Use Twitter to find artistic types who like your music, and ask them to create something – a t-shirt or your next CD sleeve

And, like the Macabees, if your fans are saying nice things about your latest record, say thank you.

You can follow my band Cedar on Twitter too, where essentially i’ll be experimenting to see what ways Twitter can with and against us, I’ll be sure to let you know how we get on.

In the meantime to find other musicians, have a little looky at these…

A list of musicians on Twitter from 9 Giants Steps

A list of musicians on Twitter from Pitchfork

A list of musicians on Twitter from Gigwise

A list of musicians on Twitter from DiS


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