So here we have it, the final part of my Berklee assignment a few weeks ago that discussed the good and bad sides of a strong internet identity, based on this article from the NY Times. In this final section we discussed how to apply the lessons learned to your own music career promotion, and I thought these would make good tips for you to follow too. Just in time for the Holidays!
Adhering to learn from this article and the example artists given, I feel revitalised in my Indie stance and very positive about the online marketing possibilities. It reinforces some of what i do already, and has helped me ‘brush up’ on how I can achieve further. I will be careful regarding the personal depth of my blogging, and try and strike the right balance between the 'exclusive' information that my fans want, and not 'ruining the aura' that an artist should have. I will aim to achieve, as Thomson described one artist's approach, "a nuanced ability to seem authentic and confessional without spilling over into a Britney Spears level of information overload".
I like the ideas that both Coulton and OK Go embraced; their 'song a week' and 'treadmill-dance video' respectively. While it would not be good practice to copy these too closely, I feel that what they do preach to me is the importance of how viral the internet can be, and it's possible subsequent explosion in fan numbers. This is something I aim to use in my career for certain, and i see it as a vital part of a low-budget musician’s armory.
Something else to take away from the article, is when Thompson states that of the artists he interviewed, "many of them also said that staying artistically “pure” now requires the mental discipline of a ninja". This kind of need for focus and discipline is something I consider myself to be currently good at, maybe even approaching a trainee ninja level, and it is something that I intend to maintain in the future.
One comment that Thompson made really hit home for me; "It seems likely that the artists who forge direct access to their fans have the best chance of figuring out what the new economics of the music business will be". I see this as ringing very true, as these artists are adapting and evolving with the music industry, and collaborating with new media entrepreneurs and technologies all the time to produce fresh, innovative ideas and business plans. Proof of this is even included later in the article, as it mentions that Coulton has set up deals without any record label contract involved, and "uses a growing array of online tools to sell music directly to fans". Various online companies offer opportunities to not just distribute the music digitally to popular online stores, but they can also store physical CDs, process credit card payments and then ship the CD out. Interaction between forward-thinking artists and companies like this shows that an online promotional route really can be a successful one for Indie artists.
This new route to success is only achievable when "the artist has the correct emotional tools"; I believe that I have, and I aim to project myself as part of the new breed of empowered independent artists (Lee Jarvis 2.0 ?), fully embracing the new wave of internet consumers and contributors, along with the opportunities that it provides.
Happy Holidays, and check back in the ’09 for more blog posts from the UK Music Jobs team :)