MSI9W - Week 4: SOCIAL MEDIA FOR MUSICIANS

 Without a doubt, the single biggest factor that has allowed me to market my music and grow a fan base has been social media. As Ariel discusses in her book, the days of the static "brochure website" for a band or artist are over. In order to survive these days, an artist must reach out to his fans and engage them and the rise of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have created opportunities for musicians (and independent artists in particular) like never before.

I've been on top of this for a while now, so I've been slowly and steadily building up my following on the big social media sites:

Atomic Skunk Facebook Page
Atomic Skunk Twitter Page
Atomic Skunk on MySpace
Atomic Skunk on Reverbnation
Atomic Skunk YouTube Channel
Atomic Skunk on Last.fm

I've worked diligently over the last year and a half or so to slowly but steadily build up my fan base on these major sites. One of the best ways to get people to follow you is to follow them first. So my approach has been to find people who would have a good chance of liking my music and then following them. I do this by identifying artists in the same or a similar genre, artists that people say I remind them of and artists that have influenced my music. On Twitter, a fairly high percentage of people you follow, will follow you back, so it makes sense to follow those who have the highest chance of liking your music and turning into fans. Another good way to find good follow "targets", is to follow people who are following someone else in the same genre as you. For example, a lot of people have compared my music to The Orb, so I will follow people who are following The Orb's Twitter account, knowing that the percentage of those people that follow me back have a decent likelihood of being converted into fans. 

Once someone has followed me back, I will generally offer them a free download of my music in exchange for their email address. I send out email newsletters maybe once or twice a month and I'm very careful not to be spammy. I use the widgets available from Reverbnation and Bandcamp to facilitate the exchange of the free download for the email address. this has been very effective for me in building up my fan base. Slowly but surely, I am able to grow my fan base and communicate with them through social media sites as well as through my email list which has now reached over 2000 subscribers in just over a year and a half.

There are a few more social media sites and strategies that Ariel discusses in her book that I've yet to fully explore. Flickr and Podcasting. Since I haven't been playing live, I haven't seen as much of a reason to be posting photos to share with fans, but after reading this chapter, I may have to rethink that. Ariel mentions sharing a certain amount of personal photos, as well as studio shots and even something as simple as a picture of what you're having for lunch as a way to keep and grow a closer connection with your fans. In addition she discusses podcasting as an other good way to get your music out there and spread it virally, by providing other podcasters with "podcast safe" music that they can play and share with their listeners. These are 2 areas I will need to explore further in the coming weeks and months.

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