Social networking websites abound, but how do you use them to market your music? What are some new ways to use blogs more creatively? How do you make sure the time you spend is a money-maker and not a time-waster?
Corey Denis Vice President, reapandsow
Rachel Masters Director of Strategic Relationships, Ning
Charlie McEnerney Host + Producer, Well-Rounded Radio
Lou Plaia Co-Founder / VP Artist Development, ReverbNation.com
Brian Zisk Technologies Director and Founding Board Member, Future of Music Coaltion
09:25 AM EST - BZ: How do you decide where it's worthwhile to spend your energy?
RM: I think it depends on what kind of artist you are. There are two thoughts being debated. For example, if you are an artist, should you keep your videos exclusive to a few sites or open to all sites? If you're just starting, you need to be everywhere. You also need a home base for all your fans, where other fans can meet. This is also a way they can feel close to the artist.
LP: You have to be everywhere. Our company helps you syndicate it all to one site. You can also track where your fans are by gender and age group. You need that data in order to promote yourself.
CM: There are so many choices now. You have to think about what the end goal is. Whatever it might be, there are so many choices, artists tend to lose focus on what you are trying to sell.
09:35 AM EST - BZ: Any suggestions on how artists can stand out?
RM: You need to create a great experience for your fans. For example, a tour diary, or blogs of the artist, showcasing themselves on an artist to fan level. They need to be careful making and using a brand for the artist. Your logo should be your watermark online.
LP: Make good music. So many artists are just putting up what they just made. If users listen to your "garbage", they're not going to come back.
CD: I want to bring blogging into this now. What the RSS feed and blogs do, is they can eventually get rid of email lists. With an RSS feed, the fan is making the choice to read whereas in an email list, you're hoping they will read it. In the beginning, keep your email lists, but slowly start to make the transition; with RSS, the greatest thing is they provide information on fans and it's mobile.
09:42 AM EST - BZ: How do you decide what is going to be worthwhile before you do it?
RM: You have to look at it as a venture capitalist. Who is behind the website, and how are people utilizing it? If their management team is looking to give you great promotion, go for it. If it bombs, in the end, no one will know about it.
CD: Be an early adopter, especially if you want to be a promoter or publicist. You can't do your job unless you know how to use the outlets.
CM: I think you have to measure it a little bit, and think about your end goals because of the vast amount of choices.
LP: Also, really evaluate what the site is going to give you. They are making tons of money with advertisement, in the end, what are they giving you?
09:52 AM EST - BZ: Once you have used some social networking sites, some of them aren't as effective anymore. Once you try something, are you committed to it forever?
LP: There are companies out there so you don't have to keep updating them. There are groups that will syndicate information for you. There are still some things artists will have to keep up with such as myspace friend requests.
RM: Just like in the past as you would have a team to write fan mail for you, it's a good idea to have a team for online services eventually.
10:00 AM EST - BZ: how important is it for folks to create their own shows?
CM: Although social networking sites are a good idea, it's just another idea of email. I don't think it's about creating new platforms but more of finding others out there who are doing what you are doing. I've been working with people who are happy to have cross promotion.
BZ: How important is it to promote things your fans will also like?
RM: I think it's important to cross promote, because it also shows what you like and who you are.
CD: Its more effective to link information. If you join a group in Facebook, they keep track of what groups are linked and which the popular groups are. Really pay attention to the groups that are a part of each other.
10:07 AM EST - BZ: Does anyone want to explain tagging?
RM: It is very important. It is taking keywords so people can find your content. It's used in search engines. It allows your content to be easily be found.
CD: One way you can use a tag is to make a contest online. Lets say you do a contest and you want the fans to feel exclusive to the artist. You give them a password, you have given them an exclusive code even though it's on the web. You can make your own tag and do a search online and find out more about the fans. Remember when you tag anything , it's up there forever. Also make sure you use the word music in your tag or else you will miss a lot of posts.