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Thoughts on Facebook as a Tool for Artist’s Promotion. Is it Over? by Alberto Rigoni

Alberto-Rigoni-BassistThoughts on Facebook as a Tool for Artist’s Promotion. Is it Over? by Alberto Rigoni… I started using the Internet at the beginning of the ’90s when just a few guys here in Italy were using it (the speed of my first modem was 9.6 kbps!). I immediately felt it was going to change our lives, and as we all know, that happened. The Internet became the fastest way to communicate with the entire world and to get to all the information you could ever need or want.

Back to 2005 I started composing my own music, and between 2007 and 2012 I released three albums as a solo bass player (“Something Different” – Lion Music 2008; “Rebirth” – Nightmare Records 2011; “Three Wise Monkeys” – Any and All Records 2012), three with the progressive rock band TwinSpirits, and one with the pop-electro duo Lady & THE BASS.

Even if music labels supported me, I’ve always felt it was necessary to do more in terms of promotion, and I did a lot of my own marketing activities. Marketing is a part of my personality and I really like doing that, even though it requires a lot of time and energy.

When I released my first album most artists were using MySpace – a simple but great tool for musicians who wanted to promote their music, and for people who were interested in discovering new music.

Everything was going pretty well until people started discovering Facebook. In a very short time MySpace was almost dead, and its team tried to emulate Facebook by changing the layout and adding more features (so many in fact that loading the pages became very slow and annoying). But it was too late… everyone started subscribing to Facebook.

Why did Facebook have the success?

In my opinion because, among other reasons:

– People use real names instead of nicknames (Hey! If you see a pretty girl during a party but you’re shy, if you know her name in a few minutes you can get easily in touch with her by Facebook!)

– Facebook allows users to share almost everything (text, pictures, videos, etc.), and people love to share and to discover what’s happening in other’s lives

– Liking posts and getting posts liked is a “drug” (not for everyone of course, but I’m sure many know this feeling). It’s “erotic” (not in the sexual meaning)!

In the first years of its life Facebook worked very well as a tool to promote music and arts. People were sharing tons of music videos, streaming songs, posting pics from their live shows, etc. I’ve always thought that sharing pictures was, and still is in terms of promotion, more effective than video and song sharing because a lot of people use FB during their daily jobs (at least here in Italy) and they are not always allowed to listen to music or watch videos.

Facebook, together with other web tools such as SoundCloud and Bandcamp, really helped artists to get many new fans. It was pretty easy to get thousands of views to videos in a few days (viral!). It’s also a great tool to get in touch with people that otherwise you would never meet in real life. You just need to know a name and surname! It is unusual to find someone who does not subscribe to Facebook!

One year ago some things changed. For example, the option to add friends to groups (what a confusion!) and sponsored posts on artists’ fan pages were introduced. At the beginning I was not happy with that, but when I tried to promote some of my posts by paying a little fee, I saw it worked very well and increased the exposure of the posts. Still, it’s a bit annoying that you have to pay to get more views on your posts.

Well, I feel that something is happening, particularly over the last few months. It seems to me that people are much less active in Facebook, and more than ever are paying attention to silly posts and pictures than to music and arts in general.

Fewer “likes” and comments on posts, less sharing… promoting music is getting very hard.

What’s happening? Is Facebook dying? Are people tired of it?

I think that sooner or later people will move to something else – some other social media site (still, I don’t know what). Maybe I am wrong, maybe not. Talking with other guys who operate in marketing, I’ve discovered that they have the same opinion.

Maybe there are some technical issues related to FB, or maybe it’s just because we are OVERLOADED by information and communication is too fast.

A friend said, “Hey man, maybe people are finally doing something?!” Well, that’s also possible 🙂

I’m wondering how can independent musicians promote their music if FB disappears… Yes, there are other ways such as Twitter (here in Italy it’s not as popular as in other countries), Google + (I think it’s not working well, if at all, at the moment), and crowd funding sites (never tried).

I’ve always thought that the best ways to promote music are the word of mouth, live shows and radio. But… a) we cannot control the word of mouth; b) the live situation, at least here in Italy, is very tragic (many venues have closed and musicians are not paid); c) getting airplay on big radio stations is not easy (here if you want airplay, you have to pay).

Anyway, Facebook is still one of the best tools to stay in touch with people, even though I prefer real relationships.

It’s time to think about new ways of promotion!

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Franz Vitulli

    Franz

    May 8, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Good article Alberto.

    I think that the key is to understand what we mean for “promotion”. This leads to two points:

    – All internet marketers I know (myself included!) agree on this: social media are NOT for selling. They have never been for selling, maybe in the future they will, but for the time being, they are not. Period. Their aim is to create buzz, engagement and “brand awareness”, get in touch with people in our niche, etc. The problem is not just the “infobesity” you describe, but also that lots of musicians keep “selling” on social media. “Buy this record”, “buy this t-shirt”, “have a look to this special offer” and so on… People on social media want to relax and enjoy interesting content… they’ll probably buy something when you strategically lead them to your blog, where, surprise!, you sell your stuff. You say you are into marketing, so you probably know this quote: “People love to buy but hate to be sold”. In the social media environment people absolutely hate to be sold, it’s like you are into your favourite café, with a couple of good friends, drinking a cup of tea, and all of a sudden somebody try to sell you some book subscription service for one year. What would your reaction be? 😉

    – Facebook won’t be over as a “promotion” (=create buzz, engagement, etc.) tool as long as people are using it. Twitter works too. Google+ IS actually working, but differently (it’s still an internet marketers’ heaven, and it helps you build your Author Rank on Google, try googling “how to have a successful first rehearsal”, without quotation marks, and tell me what you see on the SERP ;)). The key is to understand what to share and how to share it on different media… you need to understand who are your fans on Facebook, who is following you on Twitter, what kind of people circle you on Google+, and connect with them speaking the proper language for the media of choice.

  2. Sebastiano Mereu

    May 8, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Good article Alberto, and good comment Franz. I agree with all the things the both of you have mentioned and would just like to add my 5 cents to the discussion.

    In my humble opinion, the key in promoting anything online is by telling an appealing story with the content at hand, through a balanced mix of channels. That means, if you have a new song, post it on SoundCloud or YouTube (if you have a video for it), then tell the story on Facebook in one way and on Twitter in another way, and other channels if you use others. And then, go on by spreading the sheet-music by telling the story from another angle by hosting the PDF on scribd and so on. Basically, make use of any kind of relevant material you have to tell the story of your music (or other products).

    In a nut-shell: Tell the story from different angles through a balanced mix of channels.

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