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Leveraging Social Media for Musicians

Man singing in front of laptop


How do you use social media as a musician?

That is the question that was asked to me by the Popunie for an interview in their magazine Speaker. My entire vision on how to use social media as a musician can be found in this integrally copied article.

Read more about the use of social media as a marketing tool, common mistakes, and how to stand out on the large inexhaustible internet stage.

As an (amateur) musician, how can you make the best use of social media?

In the word ‘social media’ the best approach is already embedded: being social. Social media is not intended for advertisers or hard marketers. It is an online place with a potentially huge network that you can activate by entering into ‘social relationships’. Although getting services like a cheap SMM panel can definitely help if your goal is to attract more followers.

As a musician, in addition to sympathy for your music, you also try to arouse sympathy for yourself as a person or band. By just being yourself and sharing this with the online world.

What do you think is the most useful social media for musicians right now?

Bandcamp is completely up and coming. They are currently one of the few platforms that listen very well to both the music user and the musician and translate this into a simple and above all easy to share music page. 2011 will be the year of Bandcamp. In addition, Twitter is still a stunning catalyst for your networking opportunities and reaching your potential fans. A new phenomenon for me is Flattr.

What is one of the most common mistakes made?

Too much and just shouting about yourself and thus seeing the internet as a one-way street away. It is precisely the promotion of or showing genuine interest in others that is ‘social’ internet use. And a mistake is focusing too much on the music street. Sometimes other interests can match you with people online, after which your music will start to stand out.


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Do you have any tips for (amateur) musicians who use social media?

Go and see from a number of bands/musicians that you like or like, how they behave online. How do they use their internet tools? What content do they share, and why do people like it?

Do you think myspace’s changes are positive or negative? Why?

As far as I’m concerned, MySpace is dead. A great example of how ease of use can break a platform. The magic word on the internet (and actually also in the analog world) is: choice. As a user but also as a consumer, I want to be able to choose how I consume, share, offer, sell, give away, and in what form I do this. Besides a lousy layout, MySpace has eaten little cheese from offering choices, and the whole social aspect has disappeared on the site. Who takes those friends and friend requests seriously, let alone the big advertising-stick column of obscene bands that ‘very much dig’ your music and then leave a 600px poster on your profile. Very ‘social’.

Which social media can you best use for marketing campaigns?

You have to be very careful with that. Niels Aalberts (EHPO) is a good marketer but knows how to ‘disguise’ this well in his social media efforts. On Twitter, he calls on artists to make illustrations for his upcoming book. People like to see their work appear in a book, and I don’t have to explain the marketing value of a multitude of artists who are going to Tweet about this book with ‘their’ illustration. In short, there is a thin dividing line where you have to be careful in advertising. If you are going to advertise by using your online social network, make sure that at least dialogues or other forms of social behavior precede it.

How do you stand out as an individual (amateur) band/act within the infinite internet?

By finding your own (small) group of people. And you do that by knowing who you are, what you have to offer, and who might be waiting for it. I hate sheep behavior and cheer swimmers against the current. Seth Godin once said: “Search for the edges”. Or even better: “Being safe, is risky”. If you dare to be different, the infinite internet will also pick this up to identify with or share with others.

Which (amateur) band/act has things so well done promotionally that other musicians can take an example from this?
I think Pim van de Werken is a very good internet user. Especially for himself as a musician/producer/critic.

What do you think is the future scenario in this area?

I’m not very good at looking at a crystal ball. When I make a guess, I think social media is looking for the depths. No longer the flashy or the contentless ‘liking’ of content but more towards quality relationships.