As an end user, perhaps my favorite application of microsharing platforms of all types (think Twitter, Foursquare, etc) are how they help me add to my already extensive music collection. It’s fun to get a little shiver of a music fix randomly during an otherwise normal business day, just by tuning in to what’s going on around me online.
As a consultant, I love seeing the innovative ways the people behind the music we love are using microsharing platforms. It inspires me to see the ongoing and building connections with fans, the innovations in distribution, the advances in sales, the making of successful gigs and forging of collaborations.
These platforms have another effect also: they make music human again, bringing it out from behind a faceless corporate label or radio station. What should musicians be doing on these platforms to get their music heard and do an end run around the status quo?
One to One Sharing: Hand pick fans to send free songs, offer an opt in DM link to a free song each month for your fans and followers, talk to your fans one on one and get to know them – if you are in their city, meet up with them before or after your show. All of these things foster the one to one fan/creative relationship as well as sales.
One to Many Sharing: Use your social platforms and website to give people ways to discover your music. Use all of them! Sure, Twitter is fun, but if you integrate Blip, iMeem (now MySpace Music), and more, you’ll get more bang for your buck with the cross linking and user driven sharing systems they all have. Toss in more obscure things like Twitter lists and you have even more ways to share your sound with the world.
Collaboration: Social media provides an unprecedented arena for collaboration between artists and fans. Take advantage of the mashup culture, and use the ability to reach people you wouldn’t normally be able to reach to create new projects and expand your reach and audience, as well as to make more varied and interesting music.
Booking Gigs: The access that social media platforms give musicians to venues and enthusiastic fans can go a long way toward eliminating the middle man in booking gigs. One of my favorite uses of this is a musician who has been using his social network to book intimate house gigs all over the country, exposing fans to his music in a much more personal way. Another favorite example is the musician using Ustream with other social platforms to generate interest in upcoming gigs locally. Then you have people like Sooz in Boston using her love of music and social media to drive awareness to local bands through an annual event she’s making (Soozapaolooza).
Distribution: The music industry may be crying foul at the way things are changing, but that isn’t going to stop the deluge of fans clamoring to get their music delivered to them in new and unusual ways that free them from the vice-like grip of pale Clear Channel pop and label generated. Musicians on top of the trend with social media platforms for delivery will find themselves ahead of the game. Innovation is the key to success now.
Live Shows: Fans are clamoring for live shows. We already discussed the innovation of having fans host live in home shows via leverage of social media platforms, and of fans hosting live events to showcase their favorite artists. Collaboration with your fans using social media can increase attendance at live shows already on your schedule and help you schedule and broadcast live shows in new and innovative ways on and offline.
These thoughts are just grazing the tip of the iceberg of potential. I’ll be talking in Cannes France at MIDEM about more ways to leverage specific platforms for musicians this month – if you are there, come have a listen!