Music and Brands: The Consumer Has the Edge
You don’t have to be Jack Black to realize that in order for a musician to stand out in this day and age they need to be great at creating two things: music and brands.
This is partially because it’s such a great time to be a consumer of music: you can stream almost any song from Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, or any number of other online hubs for music listening. You can also connect with the artists that you listen to and love because most, if not all, artists have an online presence that you can connect with as a fan.
There are numerous blogs dedicated to helping you find new music such as Hype Machine and Coke Machine Glow that will point you in the direction of what new music is out there. [pullquote]Your fans are online, they are talking about music online, and if you’re not online then you will not be mentioned in the conversation. [/pullquote] Or if you’re feeling indolent you can go to any number of sites such as Music Roamer which tell you what music you should like based on what you already listen to! These conveniences, unfortunately, are not bestowed upon artists- in this day and age they need to work overtime in order to get noticed.
In this article I want to provide artists with a starting point for how they can brand themselves online because let’s face it: your fans are online, they are talking about music online, and if you’re not online then you will not be mentioned in the conversation.
Having a Twitter and Facebook account is almost a given at this point, so aside from mentioning them, I’ll give you an idea of some other new tools to add to your utility belt.
Bandcamp is the best friend of the musician who wants to start building their online brand. They give you your own web page where you can stream your music, give away free tracks, set up downloads for your fans, and a whole lot of other features. Oh and did I mention that Bandcamp is free to use? That’s right, they only take 15% of your sales (or 10% if you sell $5,000/year or more) in order to use this service. Though this may sound steep at first, this is about half as expensive as iTunes who charges about 33% per track and you don’t even get an email out of the deal! With Bandcamp you’re paying to use their unique system (and let me reiterate, they only make money if you make money- if you don’t sell anything then they won’t be charging you) and to provide a way for your listeners to connect with you as well- it is a great way for those who create music to boost their music and brands!
RootMusic is a platform that allows musicians to add a very sleek streaming app to their Facebook page. It allows the artist to let their fans download songs, as well as giving their page a big of ‘virality’ by giving fans the option to share a song either through their Facebook wall or through Twitter. As an example, take a look at the fan page for a great act from Syracuse University, the Northbound Traveling Minstrel Jugband. They utilize the RootMusic app on their page and it looks extremely professional! This is a great free way to add professional looking streaming to your Facebook page and allowing fans to connect to you- yet another great way for music and brands to thrive online.
Soundcloud is another great way for fans to connect with the artists that they love, as well as a perfect way for artists to get valuable information from their fans. Soundcloud is not just a way for artists to stream music online, but it is also a way for their fans to comment on their songs. This simple feature puts Soundcloud miles ahead of other applications that just allow artists to post their music online. Have a look at the Soundcloud page for one of my new favorite artists, Madeon, and you’ll see exactly what I mean and why you should start using Soundcloud ASAP.
4. Tweet For A Track
Tweet For A Track is an easy yet effective way to go viral. The concept is simple: submit your .MP3 to the website, they provide you with a link to send out to your fans on Twitter and Facebook which will only allow them to download the song if they send it out on one of their social networks. If you have a good song and send this out to the right people then this can be a very powerful tool for you to get some recognition.
Music and Brands
Keep in mind, that brands can’t just give away or share their music and expect a great response. These are tools to help artists build their online brand. You shouldn’t expect to just sign up for these tools and get noticed more, these are ways to compliment the social media strategy that you should have already implemented. For some ideas on how to sort out your identity as someone in the entertainment industry, have a look at one of our recent posts called Personal Branding For the Entertainment Industry. And as always, if you have any cool tools or ideas about music and branding that we may have looked over please let us know in the comment section below!