More Gigs for More Money workshop notes

Bruce Robison at The Broken Spoke

First of all, thank you to all the musicians who attended the More Gigs for More Money workshop at the Silver Sage Corral tonight! Lanette Pennell put together a great educational event, and I hope she’ll make it an annual get together.

Here are my expanded notes and comments on how social media like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter can help you make more money as a musician.

If there’s any way I can help through my photography services or helping you get set up with online marketing, please don’t hesitate to call me at 830-688-1564 or e-mail James@outlawphotography.net.

Thank you again!

WHY SOCIAL MEDIA?

Sick Puppies at The White Rabbit

Almost all of my new photography clients who don’t come via word of mouth find and contact me through social media. Specifically, Facebook.

Social media is very geared toward multimedia content like photography, music, and videos. So for a photographer or a musician, it’s fertile ground for growing a loyal fan base.

If you have a good product, if you make good music, if you engage and entertain your fans, nothing will spread your name faster than social media. Facebook for example is purpose-built for users to share stuff they like with their friends – music, videos, news, articles, photos, etc.

Some folks think only teenagers and geeks use social media – very untrue. The largest group is 18-24 year olds – second largest is 25-34 year olds. The fastest growing segment? Ages 55+. The second fastest growing segment? Ages 35-54. So look out at the faces in the audience of your next concert, and see how many people you could be reaching with your music online. At least one in three is very likely to be an active, daily user of Facebook alone.

And don’t think social media users are limited to the big cities. In Bandera County, The Bandera Live Music Facebook page has 598 fans; the Bandera Music Hall of Fame has 340 fans; Brick’s River Cafe has 362 fans; Gunslinger of Bandera has over 2,400 fans! John Arthur Martinez, a prolific Texas touring artist, has over 1,600 fans and is an active user of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube.

Over 90 million Americans use Facebook. On average those users spend around five hours per month on the site. Your goal with using social media is to make your music a memorable part of their time online.

SOCIAL PROOF

Lee Ann Womack

“What are you going to do for me, the venue owner? Are you going to bring a lot of people in? Are they going to dance and drink?”

Independent musicians are facing similar changes as the book publishing industry. Now, authors are expected to have an established fan base – via a Facebook fan page, an e-mail newsletter list, etc. – and a guarantee of how popular they’re going to be long before they get a book deal. You have to market yourself and show that you’re able to build and maintain a loyal fan base who will spend money to see you perform live.

If you tell a venue owner “I’d like to play on your stage, and I’ll be bringing 5,000 friends with me,” you’re going to get their attention – quick.

It’s called social proof – like when you pull into a town and you see one restaurant has an almost full parking lot and the other has no cars in the lot – which one are you going to assume has the better food?

Same with musicians – when a venue owner or party planner is looking at the MySpace and Facebook pages of potential bands, they want to see an active, engaged fan base.

What’s even better? When your fans are re-posting your songs, videos, and upcoming shows, and venue owners see that your fans are your biggest promoters. I know when a friend recommends a CD to me, I’m much more likely to check it out than if I see a commercial advertising that CD. I’m more likely to listen to the endorsement from someone I trust.

YOUTUBE

Steve Holy at 11th Street Cowboy Bar

Online streaming video is the biggest entertainment draw for internet users. I love watching music videos on YouTube, especially by up-and-coming artists, and if I like them, odds are very, very good I’ll buy their music when it comes out on iTunes.

There so many ways to draw fans in using streaming video: behind the scenes in the recording studio, backstage videos, concert footage, special acoustic performances, on-the-road travel diaries, etc.

Here are just a few musicians who got their start on YouTube:

Justin Bieber (that little brat)
– Started on YouTube, got 55 million views singing Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT, and is now a regular Twitter user, interacting with his fans there. His “Baby” music video has been viewed nearly 300 million times.

Lady Gaga
– Broke out on YouTube and MySpace – her manager, Troy Carter, said in May that they no longer create music videos for MTV, they “create music videos for YouTube.”
– Carter: “It’s about discovery. Fans have been watching musicians now for years on YouTube before they become famous.”
– Last night, Monday, Aug. 23, Lady Gaga became the queen of Twitter, beating out Britney Spears. She now has 5,777,492 followers.
– On Facebook? 16,456,600 fans. Her Facebook posts garner between 23,000 and 75,000 “Like” clicks and comments. That’s tens of thousands of fans waiting to interact with every single note she posts online, and millions more who are exposed to her messages.

Greyson Michael Chance
– Momma posted a video of him performing a Lady Gaga song at a school concert. He was immediately booked to the Ellen DeGeneres show, and now is on her recording label.

Jay Brannan
– A skinny white gay guy from Texas who moved to New York and sang sad, beautiful songs on YouTube. He now has two CDs out and is in the middle of his first world tour. Recently eclipsed Tracy Chapman as the most popular singer/songwriter on iTunes.

These are just a few of the big-time examples. While having a million fans and doing world tours may be the ultimate goal, there are many, many profitable milestones along the way – your first 100 fans, your first YouTube video to get over 10,000 views, your 1,000th e-mail newsletter subscriber, your first major gig booked through Facebook, your first live radio performance, etc.

NETWORKING

Boys Like Girls

You don’t have to only talk about your own music on your Facebook or Twitter profile. Share links to music and videos of other local musicians you like. Odds are, if you like them, your fans will too, and soon those other musicians will link their fans over to your music as well.

Any marketing that benefits one local musician benefits all local musicians. You’re not so much competing with each other for fans as you are competing for people’s attention at all. The radio programs people to only listen to the most mass-produced popular music in the country. Your challenge is to break through that programming and show people how much fun local artists and their concerts can be.

Again, the first challenge is to get folks to stop and listen at all. Then you use your music and the experience you give your fans to hook’em and get them on your e-mail list or Facebook page.

THE VELVET ROPE

Billy Joe Shaver at the Bandera Saloon

Treat your fans like they’re in a members-only club. Post special acoustic recordings of your songs for your Facebook friends to listen to. E-mail your newsletter list a secret link to a YouTube video that takes them behind the scenes in the recording studio, or backstage at one of your concerts, or on-the-road video diaries where band members get to talk about where they’ve been and where they’re headed.

Make your fans feel like they’re on the right side of the velvet rope – give them exclusive goodies that others don’t get to see – at least not first, not right away. Show them the VIP treatment.

Encourage fans to post their photos and videos of your concerts to your Facebook wall.

Do giveaways of CDs or Swag, even if it’s just random giveaways to folks on your Facebook page or your e-mail newsletter list.

Crossover – at your shows, give away X number of CDs to the first folks who sign up for your e-mail newsletter list. Do a contest where everyone who signs up will get a chance to win a T-shirt or other swag throughout your show. Make it fun.

Personal attention is the new little black dress of marketing. Thanks to social media like Twitter, fans have more access than ever before to their favorite musicians, actors, companies, even individual products like that damn Snuggie. They love to feel like they’re interacting with a star.

You may not feel like much of a star sometimes, but in your fans’ world, you’re a star in their eyes. Giving them personal attention only solidifies their loyalty.

You can do this through simple Facebook posts, wishing folks a happy birthday or congratulating them on a new baby in the family, but what if you took it up a notch? Have fun with your fans. Pick a random fan from your list and write a song about them, recording it on the spot to video, and post it. Put away the polish and let fans feel like they’re getting to interact with the real you.

ACCESS

Cinder Road

This also works in reverse – while your fans may want your attention, you want both their attention and the attention of venue owners / booking agents.

I know in Bandera alone the guys who book 11th Street Cowboy Bar, the Longhorn Saloon, and the Bandera Saloon are all on Facebook. Brian Black from the Longhorn Saloon is also on LinkedIn.

Going up the ladder – MySpace to Facebook, Facebook to LinkedIn, LinkedIn to Twitter – there are fewer and fewer users, but those who do use the more exclusive social networks are also the most influential among their peer groups. A thousand musicians might try to connect with Brian Black on MySpace, but only a handful may be savvy enough to reach him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

It’s a lot easier to get their attention when you’re playing in their back yard.

This goes for media folks as well. Journalists are some of the most prolific users of Twitter, and whereas you may never have access to a big city editor or TV producer by walking in their door or calling on the phone, on Twitter, you can read their posts, respond to them, and build a rapport directly. This buys you enough familiarity to pitch an idea for a feature.

Social media can give you access to newspaper writers, radio hosts, DJs, party planners, television producers, booking agents and a lot of the other influential people who are in a position to help expose your music to a wider audience.

The goal of your marketing should always be to differentiate – to show folks why they should spend their time and money to listen to your CDs and to go out and see your concerts.

There are so many great ways to do this, as we learned about tonight at the workshop – logo and web site design, branding, wardrobe, press kits, press releases, group and association memberships, networking, videography, photography, studio recordings, and social media.

If you add any one or two of these to your marketing mix, you’ll see marked improvements. If you add them all, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Again, if there is any way I can help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

James Taylor
The Outlaw Photographer
OutlawPhotography.net
830-688-1564

RESOURCES

God Forbid at The Back Yard

– Social Music: 5 Essential Tools for Marketing Your Band: http://mashable.com/2009/02/19/musician-marketing-tools/
– Celebrities Who Got Their Start on YouTube: http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Entertainment/Celebrities/10-YouTube-Success-Stories.html
– Lady Gaga’s Manager: We Make Music Videos For YouTube: http://techcrunch.com/2010/05/26/lady-gagas-manager-we-make-music-videos-for-youtube/
– Lady Gaga Topples Britney As Queen Of Twitter: http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/24/gaga-queen-twitter/
– Social Media Demographics: http://www.imakenews.com/cppa/e_article001800121.cfm
– Time Spent on Social Networks up 82% Around the World: http://www.briansolis.com/2010/02/time-spent-on-social-networks-up-82-around-the-wrold/
– YouTube sets its sights on independent musicians: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/17/business/la-fi-ct-youtube17-2010mar17
– 10 tips for bands using social media: http://www.simplyzesty.com/social-media/10-tips-bands-social-media/
– 5 Twitter tips for Bands & Musicians: http://scottmeis.com/2009/04/01/5-twitter-tips-for-bands-musicians/
– Using YouTube to Promote Your New Album: http://www.musicmarketing.com/2009/07/using-youtube-to-promote-your-new-album.html
– How Your Band Can Use YouTube To Promote: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1554945/how_your_band_can_use_youtube_to_promote.html?cat=35

2 Responses to “More Gigs for More Money workshop notes”

  1. robchillis  on August 25th, 2010

    Great post James. Lots of helpful insights. Social media really is the next frontier in marketing, its not a fad. Too much money is being spent by big businesses to get into the game for it to be a fad.

  2. James Taylor  on August 25th, 2010

    Thanks Rob! MySpace did me right for seven years before it died off there and everyone moved to Facebook – and now on Facebook, I do more business than I ever did on MySpace.

    The best part and the reason why it works, is that it strips away the advertising/commercial aspect of it. You don’t have to convince anyone to do business with you – they can see who you are, what you do, they can see what their friends say about you, and they hire you based on the value you offer. That’s good business, and I greatly enjoy marketing in this way.


Leave a Reply