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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!

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