Posts tagged ‘Sellaband’

Crowdsourcing: Musicians and Fans

The new relationships talent are forging with their fans are truly invaluable – and essential.

Music (and Art in general) is a natural fit for social media promotion. A fan who feels that he is an essential component of a group/artist is more motivated to truly champion his favorite.

With social media, the fans have become an integral part of the process, involved in funding (e.g. Sellaband ) – as well as organically participating in marketing/promotion (they are logically a “viral host” naturally passing on music they enjoy to their friends and networks).

They may even play a part in where the bands perform (I’m not sure what (if anything) is currently happening with ALiveCrowd – but it could prove to be an excellent use of the fan base as well).

The record label structure, rather than uniting the musician with their fan base, has become a type of beefy bodyguard, keeping the two entities from any real contact.

The new module (whether it be a self-promotion through social media or platforms like Sellaband) means that musicians are also able to show their gratitude and respect for the people who are sincerely involved in their success (“without you fans, we are nothing, man”), and the fans feel that they are a legitimate part of the process.

At a recent event (Bridging Media) Darren Barefoot mentioned Kevin Kelly’s excellent piece 1,000 True fans which makes the claim that a musician need only have 1000 true fans to make their career feasible (and financially sustainable).

Kelly’s theory makes good sense…

My friend Suzka is a phenomenal musician (violinist & singer).

When Myspace came around, she began actively promoting herself on the site and establishing contact with her fans. Supporters enthusiastically forwarded her page to others, recognizing that they had come across real talent, and her fan base increased exponentially. She now has 2523 friends on Myspace alone. Not a bad number on one site alone to promote her tracks, albums and shows to…

Any thoughts on how performers promote themselves efficiently though the new mediums? I am considering writing a series on Art and Social Media and welcome any suggestions and interesting sites/social media tactics from my readers…

May 6, 2008 at 12:12 pm 2 comments

The System is Flawed, Please Try Again

Jeff Howe has posted another excerpt from his book (and if you’re interested in Crowdsourcing and you’re not reading it – bad puppy, bad, bad puppy. Frankly, it’s just so well written and interesting.)

Howe provides the example of M dot Strange a filmmaker who made his own film and career and used blogs, Youtube etc. to propel himself and his film into notoriety. Here are my thoughts on Howe’s excerpt:

The statement “fuck the system” (thank you Belmont) is not so much anti-establishment, as a comment on how the system is extremely flawed. As you wisely pointed out, choosing not participate in the system is a far cry from choosing not to participate at all. Many people have made and established their presence and careers online – outside of the mainstream conveyor belt.

OK, I am being a bit harsh and my opinion is, of course, somewhat biased – I am basing it on my own (and some of my friends’) experiences navigating the performance world for many years But it is impossible to ignore the fact that rather than being a potential vehicle to bring in exciting new content and performers into the arena, the system often becomes an obstacle course – stacked strongly against originality in every form. It is less about “what you can do” than weeding people out based on assumptions about what they can’t do and what they are not. It’s a viciously hierarchical system – and what someone can offer is an afterthought, frequently a non-consideration. There’s too much noise for the signal to get through.

What is wonderful about Crowdsourcing (and Social Media, in general) is that a part of the artistic obstacle course is being removed. Certainly this concept began, as you mentioned, with the advent of more accessible means of production (digital cameras, video recorders etc.) but the exposure wasn’t entirely there until Web 2.0. The value is becoming about what you do, rather than “who” you are or who you know. E.g. is your design any good (Threadless)? How about your music (Sellaband)? Failing that, is it popular? So, certainly there are pointless cat vids and frat stunts on Youtube (that’s no different than the mainstream which has no shortage of enduring stupidity – “Americas Home Videos” and the like, anyone?) – but the beauty is that a talented creator can get all the exposure he needs with a carefully executed social media plan. A talented and personable filmmaker, who doesn’t have the backing or funds to publicize and get his films into theatres can do what Belmont has so aptly demonstrated: make his work and profit outside of the mainstream. And if you don’t want to go it entirely alone, there are options as well – an unsigned musician can use something like Sellaband to fund and record her album with top people, which might have been untenable without the site and the opportunity it provides.

Most aren’t saying “Fuck the System” because that’s cool – they are saying that because they feel left out – and with good reason. For most participating in Crowdsourcing and social media, they aren’t necessarily eschewing the advantages of “a” system – they are advocating the need for more participation, greater openness, less restrictions – and being able to produce and/or watch material that has meaning to them. Amen.

April 21, 2008 at 1:37 pm 3 comments


Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

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