Musicians, Samplers and Trailers

I talked about the value of trailers to filmmakers. It got me thinking about the music sampler, free MP3s, peer to peer sharing and other ways musicians’ music can be discovered even before their album is out – “musical trailers”, if you will.

For me, the musical trailer that leads to a new band, musician, or song is often a shared file sent to me by a friend or client musician. Random nuggets of discovery that lead to musical happiness, vetted by people I trust. For a growing number of people, musical trailers come from sites like Grooveshark, Pandora, Blip.fm, iLike, Last.fm, iMeem (now Myspace music), LaLa, Musicovery, FlyFi and others. Lately, by hooking sites like LaLa and Blip.fm to Twitter accounts, Twitter has become my main source of music discovery.

Hooking whatever account the music lover or band uses for music sharing, even multiple sites, to Twitter creates one stream for music discovery for people in your network. It gives you a way to create a musical trailer stream distributed to multiple fans, that they can then pack and take with them via RSS feed or other services, and that they can share with their networks via lists, hashtags or regular tweets.

If you also hook your discovery and sharing services to other social networks like Facebook and MySpace profiles, you reach an entire extra layer of people. Facebook makes this a bit harder lately. They’ve decided, for example, to ditch the iLike stream (which is unfortunate, it was one of my favorite Facebook apps). But people are finding ways around site restrictions to share the music they love with each other.

Think how you as a musician can up the ante by not only sharing your music and your favorite music to listen to by others using streaming services, but by purposely creating an old school music sampler to act as a coherent musical trailer for your upcoming album. Then release the sample into the wild for free download and make it easy to share. One of my favorite things I see happening on Twitter, specifically, are bands that will randomly send me a link to a free song set (usually two or three songs) via Direct Message a few months before the album comes out – I love that! It’s like unwrapping a present in my DM box.

I’m continually watching for new ways to discover new music to buy, and so many others do the same. Make it easy for us to hear you by changing how you think about your music and the music of others. Emulate the movies a bit, and tease us with trailers – get us excited for your next release. What ways are you using to get fans excited for your new music?

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