Archive for May, 2012

YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!

May 30, 2012

Heh heh…support…

The Internets are a fantastic place, where creative ideas bloom and no idea is a bad idea.  I lied.  I’m sorry.  There are bad ideas.  But most bad ideas aren’t very bad…except when you do a bunch in a row.  Then you get the title to this blog post: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

I’m SOOO frustrated following a particular artist who shall remain unnamed, though I may cryptically leave clues in this post if you want to dig.  This person is doing everything wrong.  Literally.  And it’s not like you need to be an expert to know it…any one of you could spot this if you were paying attention.

The sad thing is, they have decent money backing them.  They have videos, a recent album release, AND a history that’s seen them on the charts and winning awards.  They should be set…but I think the mistakes they’re repeatedly doing online are part of the reason they are failing.  Here is a bullet point list of no-no’s this artist is doing, which individually wouldn’t be so bad, but  together are horrible:

  • Using Twitter and Facebook to Guilt Fans: this artist repeatedly demands…yes, DEMANDS…support.  Their favourite word is ‘Support.’  They feel that you should support them at all costs, and phrase it in a way that feels more like ‘You’re either with me or against me.’  That makes me NOT want to buy their music
  • Using Twitter and Facebook to Bitch About The Industry/Negative Posts: this artist repeatedly complains that the industry isn’t working, and if it did work they’d be rich and famous and on the charts.  They don’t just insult the music industry (specifically the Canadian industry) but their fans, writing regular negative posts which often include statements from a high horse ending with a shake of the head.  They try to sound philosophical and inspiring but come across as whining.
  • Broadcasting How Awesome Their Life Is: counterproductive to their ‘I need support’ posts, we regularly get updates of their daily life.  This wouldn’t be so bad, except it generally involves trips to fancy resorts (seemingly for months in Mexico), hanging out in California at celebrity events, going clubbing, going to the gym, and other things the majority of their fans may never do.  Which is interesting since…
  • Did Not Support Their Own Album Release: the calls for support fall short when they weren’t even around to support the release of their new album.  The day it was released they were on vacation (proudly stated in Tweets and Facebook posts), and then in the U.S., despite the fact that the album would probably have it’s first successes in Canada.  I never saw any kind of announcement that they were doing a radio tour, or a live performance at all.  No record store appearances.  No surprise fan events.  They were out partying in a different country the day…the week…I think the entire month after the release.
  • Never Announce Tour Dates, Never Announce Events: a recap of part of that last statement – I don’t think they play live shows, whether opening for another act or just a small club show.  I haven’t seen anything about it.  I get the feeling they feel above performing for their fans unless it’s a stadium.

In all, the problem here is arrogance.  The thought that success should be delivered on a platter…preferably with some Grey Goose at a club in Cabo…and it is the fans (and music industry’s, and general music lovers, and Canadian public in general) who should be putting the work in.

It’s no wonder their album has no reviews or comments on iTunes, and they’re constantly requesting that people get off their asses and buy the album.

YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!  What should you be doing?

  • Giving fans a reason to care
  • Reaching out to fans and starting a conversation
  • Giving content so people get an idea of what the new music is about: videos, streaming audio, etc.
  • NOT COMPLAINING!
  • Maintaining a positive attitude even in the face of difficulty
  • Playing live
  • SUPPORTING YOUR ALBUM, not demanding that everyone else does

I’ll fully admit, I may be missing part of the story, but that’s another problem in itself.  This is the character that I’m building after reading the Twitter and Facebook messages, which is how most fans will access to the artist.  If I’m getting this from the posts and getting no sense that they’re working the album, then what are fans thinking?

…I can tell you what they’re thinking.  They’re thinking that they aren’t interested.

The final thought?  SUPPORT YOURSELF!  So many bands are doing it, and they’re being successful, because the fans want to support them…because they aren’t being told to.

NOTE: 24 hours after writing this (and sitting on it, to make sure I wanted to post) this same artist has Tweeted five times: twice telling people to ‘make sure’ they share links, once telling people that they ‘still need’ to support, once decrying the two-faced people they are having to deal with, and once thanking a radio station for playing their song.  One out of five…is still bad.

Sorry for the negative post…just couldn’t take it anymore!  If you want to follow me (where I’m always upbeat and positive) head to @Potoroo on Twitter!  ❤ you all!

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Twee-mail!

May 22, 2012

Spin that wheel, little birdie!

As you may or may not know, I love Twitter.  I am well aware that Twitter (like Facebook) is a ‘love/hate’ social network.  I found MySpace to be pretty lame and didn’t even make an account until 2009.  I had dabbled in LiveJournal, online forums, and even MUCKs but I don’t think anything has given me as much online pleasure as Twitter.

It’s like tiny bursts of brain juice that anyone can read…and if your juice is tasty enough people will sign up for a membership.

…that description was not good.  I know that now.

You can find out what your friends are up to, comedians use Twitter (among my favourites are the Rifftrax guys) to share short bursts of humour, you can create a Twitter account for any kind of random idea (the fake North Korean Soccer feed during the last World Cup was hilarious, as are Drunk Hulk and Jesus) or to promote your music, your podcast, your summer camp for geeks…anything!

I’ve discovered something else recently which I find interesting: Twitter is replacing email…it’s replacing phones…it’s replacing letters.  This is what I mean: We get better response from businesses we are trying to reach, from clients we are working with, and in some cases with high level artists through Twitter than by most other means.  For example…

There is a radio station we never hear from despite contacting them every week.  When we mentioned them on Twitter…they replied INSTANTLY.  So we began to inform our artists to (relevantly) Tweet at radio stations who are playing them.  After doing so, they received interview requests, shout outs through the station’s Twitter feed, and more.

Twitter is public, like a broadcast, and it’s fun…unlike e-mail, which has stopped being fun.  It’s a way to talk with people that doesn’t take up too much of their time but can still have an impact.

You’ll notice I said ‘relevant’ twice there.  The important thing to keep in mind is that pestering people, or contacting them without any good reason, or asking for something isn’t a good way to use the medium.  Tweeting at a radio station who is not playing your music and asking them to play your songs will ‘not’ get your songs played.  Tweeting at a radio station because you’re playing a show in town and asking them (well in advance) if they’d like a spot on the guest list…that’s cool…you’re offering them something!

Treat Twitter like any other network: build relationships, keep up with people, and offer ‘them’ something.  Over time, you may find that it pays off!

Build a list of Twitter accounts who you’d like to have more contact with.  Maybe bands you’d love to open for.  Or if you’re a writer, publishers and important critics or other writers.  Follow their feed.  Comment when they say something interesting.  ReTweet them when they say something you want to share.

Finally, have fun with it!  Twitter is, first and foremost, a place you should keep things positive and have fun.  There is another artist I follow online (not one I work with) who quite literally complains every day about how no one gets it, his fans don’t support him enough, the industry is broken because he’s not #1, and regularly writes whiny posts about how it’s not fair.

…another artist I follow…is responsive to fans, tweets funny thoughts…and they’re on the charts.  Need I say more?

You can see more of my random Tweets about music, what’s on my mind, my current sunburn, or the dog I live with by following @Potoroo.  You will not see Tweets where I complain about not being famous.

I Wanna Get On MTV!!! (…or Much Music)

May 16, 2012

Been awhile, sorry!  Busy, but here we go…head first!

When I was younger I discovered a LOT of music through videos.  Note, there was no interweb tubes at the time, so these videos were shown on these shows or stations that played videos ALL THE TIME!  MuchMusic was my drug, and I could only watch it at my Grandmas since she had cable and we didn’t.  I also had Video Hits, which if I rushed home after school and after school activities I could catch.

Through Video Hits I was able to keep up with the times, fell in love with Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation,’ knew of Men Without Hats and Corey Hart’s comeback attempts (‘play the geetar‘…’A little love will make it alright, a little love will make your heart go BANG BANG‘)

Through MuchMusic, I discovered AMAZING music!  The Wedge introduced me to Underworld.  I even (somehow) discovered an amazing indie celtic folk band named Imaginary Heaven.

Because they used to play all kinds of music.  And FULL videos.  They had an annual celebration of the worst videos called ‘Fromage.’  It was a station devoted to video and music.

I am NOT saying that the new MuchMusic is bad.  It’s different.  It’s not about the music videos anymore.  People watch videos on YouTube.

…but…and this is where I was getting…most artists still believe getting their music on MuchMusic (or MTV, or VH1, or whatever…) is a major step in making the big time.  Many of these artists remember MuchMusic from the 80s and 90s.  Many remember the rock videos, the weird videos, the unique artists.

MuchMusic, like radio, is for a very VERY specific kind of artist.  Want proof?  Here are the videos added this week to MuchMusic:

Oh…erm, I guess that won’t help.  Nothing was added!  Want to see what’s playing in general?

  • Kimbra – Warrior
  • Kreesha Turner – Love Again
  • Maroon 5 f. Wiz Khalifa – Payphone
  • Ed Sheeran – The A Team
  • Emile Sande – Next To Me
  • Faber Drive – Do It In Hollywood
  • Far East Movement f. Tyga – Dirty Bass
  • LMFAO – Sorry For Party Rocking
  • Olly Murs – Dance With Me Tonight
  • Selena Gomez & The Scene – Hit The Lights

I’ll be honest, I don’t know half these people!  And MuchMore, which used to be more of an ‘Adult Contemporary’ thing, pretty much plays the same music.  Just less of it.  Which is ironic…since it’s called MuchMore…

These videos are polished, cost a LOT of money, and there isn’t much space for new music by new bands.  You’ll also notice…there really isn’t much in the way of rock, or folk…or anything other than straight-up pop.

If you want your video to be seen…your best bet is to take the effortless approach: put it on YouTube and tell your fans!  If it’s good, people will spread it around.

If you want your video on Much, or MTV (which doesn’t even play videos), or anything like that here’s my advice:

  • Watch MuchMusic and find out who directed the videos
  • Get in touch with one of them and hire them to do your video
  • Make your video look like all the others on Much right now
  • Hope that it’s good enough to get by the major label and major indies who are also battling for one of the…well, zero spots available…

…or make a clever, unique video that your fans will love, and put it online for them.

One last thing…ask yourself: do fans of your music sit and watch MuchMusic all day waiting for videos to come on?  If your answer is no…stop thinking about it!

Final comment: I actually like MuchMusic the way it is now…of course I miss the old days of Videoflows and music discovery, but YouTube is a HUGE Videoflow.  If you accept Much and MTV for what they are, they’re doing a great job.  They’re supplying entertainment for their audience, and suiting the times while doing it.

If you wanna keep up with me more often than once every couple of weeks, Twitter is your best bet: @Potoroo.  I’m also on Facebook…if you find me, I’ll add you and give you a cookie too!