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Building Online Buzz for Independent Musicians

Mar 19, 2008
Once upon a time in the music industry, unknown musicians struggled to get that one big, influential gig. They worked hard, networked, and hunted for their big break. A lot of amazing musicians never achieved widespread success because they weren't fortunate enough to know anyone in the recording industry. The bands that did make it big were often sanitized, given a gimmick, and packaged and sold as whatever image the label decided on.

Luckily for musicians, those days are no longer. Today, being signed to a major label is no longer the ultimate in music achievement. Musicians pride themselves on remaining indies instead of signing on with a label. Modern music distribution is achieved through the clever usage of technology and social marketing. You make your music available to a wide audience by - get this - actually communicating with your audience.

Viral music marketing is all about putting your name out there and letting your audience come to you. You impress five people with your talent and your personality; they pass your info on to five more people, and so on. It may sound easy, but it requires a considerable amount of energy. Playing live shows, networking with other musicians, maintaining a website, profiles on social networks, and still finding time to rehearse are all essential parts of your internet marketing campaign.

The whole point of viral music marketing is to get people talking. How do you do that when most of the internet population won't stay put for more than three seconds? You give something away for free. Play free gigs at the corner coffee shop or at the deli downtown. Play wherever you're allowed to play. Have your website or social network profile URL displayed prominently. Have it printed on business cards to hand out at your shows. Promote that site to your heart's content, and then promote it some more.

Of course, all of that promotion isn't worth much if your website is barren or not at all interesting. If you don't have the time or skills to create a great band website, hire someone to do it for you. If you can't afford to hire someone, just use a social networking profile page. There's no shame in that - in fact, there are some impressively popular bands today that owe most of their success to online marketing through social networks.

If you have the facilities and the equipment, make a video and some sample songs to post on your website or social network profile. This works in the same way as playing free gigs: give people something for free and it will generate buzz. When you generate buzz, you get the chance to impress potential fans.

Besides keeping your profile or website up to date, participate in forums and music discussions online. Be an active member in the music community and get to know other artists. Don't spam the boards with two-word comments that don't relate to the conversation; share your expertise and be helpful. Always have your website or social network profile URL in your signature so that it displays after every post you make.

Internet marketing and social marketing are undoubtedly the smartest way to promote your music right now. Besides giving you the freedom to remain independent and avoid the creativity-crushing hassle of signing with a major label, it is the only way that some people are exposed to new music. We're increasingly an on-demand kind of society, and CD sales and radio play just don't hold as much sway in a musician's career as they once did. Consumers want fresh music and they want it now. Give them what they want and show them what you've got - in the world of internet marketing, every musician has an equal chance to be the next big thing.
About the Author
J.D. Carr is co-founder of GotWebMojo.com, a free community, training, and online solutions company specializing in assisting artists, musicians, writers, and entrepreneurs. To join for free, visit GotWebMojo.com .
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