I in no way mean that these bands are not hard working, many bust their butts, and it is paying off. However, a lot of these bands use Myspace, Gargeband, a flashy flash website, and not much else. A few take things to another level by using a mailing list. All of these things work great, hell, Myspace alone can make or break a band online.
But here is the kicker. All of those ways of marketing a band or artist online are very work intensive, not only for the musician, but for the fans as well. And hell, while I am at it, for those such as myself that try to promote these bands whenever we can.
The problem with using these promotion methods is that every action needs specific attention. If you are following band A, you have to go to their site to see concert dates or news, then repeat that with the Myspace page in case they missed something on the other site, then possibly sign up for an email notification. After all that, if you want to check up on band b, c, d, and on and on, you have to repeat the procedure. That is a lot of work and no automation.
If you follow mainstream bands, you have no problem as the press reports on these artists all the time. But with the independent scene, only so much outside reporting happens.
Think about this when you go to an artist site on Myspace and see thousands of fans. Imagine the total work involved. Then think of all the missed opportunity from those that don’t have that kind of time on their hands.
Stating a problem like the one above without a solution is pointless. But I do have a fix.
I first gave this problem thought when I refocused this blog back to what it is supposed to be, a blog supporting the Reaching for Lucidity shows. I wanted to make daily reports about bands in the indie scene along with my other entertainment, animation, and film making bits.
If you have noticed, most of my music news has been mainstream as I don’t have the time to hit every band site to see what is up.
So on to the solution. It is so simple it hurts. A blog, or a feed of current band news, simple as that. You would be amazed at how many indie artists have these cool flash based, graphic heavy, websites with their current news, tours, pics, and everything else, but not a single subscribe ready feed anywhere to be found.
So you say, go to Myspace and subscribe there. Well, that is a messy process that is way too cumbersome. And on top of that, there is a twist there as well. Most bands on Myspace do not update the blogs, they post news in the text of the site or in widgets of one type or another. This makes it harder than looking through their flash based sites as Myspace is a hard to navigate, slow loading pile usually.
Now, if a band were to set up a blog, it would be so easy to keep fans and podcasters up to date on all actions. This would not even have to be updated as a journal, it could just be a place where band news is re-published. One click of a subscription button and everyone could be kept up to date. The band would probably get a bit more love from Google as well as blogs show up favorably in search engines.
The way my work flow goes is this. I get up and have coffee, and yes, coffee is part of the Work flow here at RfL. I then hit my Google reader. I do this before email, Twitter, Facebook, anything. I then cruise through my feeds loading posts into new tabs that I may want to write about.
If I had feeds from the bands I play on my podcast, and other indie acts, I would be able to push information on to my readers daily. As it stands, I mostly get the mainstream stuff, so that is what I report. Since I don’t really dig the mainstream all that much, I don’t report as much as I would like.
So, if you are an independent musician, please take this advice. Get a feed out there. And get it out there fast. Also, don’t do like some bands that I came across and bury a feed in the site four or five clicks deep. Get that feed front and center on the front page of your site.
Don’t use a newsletter as a substitute. A feed is one click and off. A newsletter means signing up with a form and giving an email. This also means more email which will drive some people away. Just put a feed up there.
As for the blog, another thing I noticed is that some artists had a blog, a blog with no information. They had a personal blog separate from the band news. This is great, but please make two blogs or feeds, or at least drop relevant band news into the personal blog as well. That is probably the best way to go.
One last tip. If you are a band and you just use your Myspace as your webpage, you are an idiotic band. Many people hate Myspace, completely. If you really do not have time or patience to set up a separate webpage, at least make a splash page that can direct people to your Myspace. Put a little info on the splash page as well. Then get yourself a free blog at Blogger, or Livejournal, or WordPress.com, or whatever, and put the feed on the splash page as well.
Seriously, if I hear another band complain about not getting enough online attention, and I then find they do not have a blog or a newsfeed, I will probably scream.
OK, rant over.
Just do it, for your own sakes, and just to be selfish, mine as well, please. (actually, that is not selfish on my part, I just want to promote these guys)