Music

Here’s a project I’ve been working on the side for over a year for a band called King Kong Company. On February 4th last they played their first gig in front of an audience of 600 people, using only Facebook and Youtube to build their fanbase and, indirectly, sell all those tickets!

How did they do it?

They had a Plan.

They wanted to play a gig, not just a gig but a great gig. The band originally played together in the late 1990′s and didn’t simply want to re-hash old tracks or play a load of new tracks to an audience who didn’t know them. This is where Facebook and Youtube stepped in – music could be released online and distributed easily. So, in February 2011 they set about releasing one music video per month for a year.

The Budget was €0.00

It’s a big undertaking to produce 12 music videos – thats roughly 60 minutes of good quality content. They needed stories, actors, locations, crew, choreographer, director and someone to do the marketing. They begged and borrowed the lot. The biggest investment was peoples time, but lucky they’re a nice bunch so could call in a lot of favours.

A Lot of Hard Work

By releasing one track per month, instead of spending an intense amount of time producing and releasing an album, they spread the workload out over a year. That sounds easy doesn’t it, but between producing the tracks and producing the videos there wasn’t much room for error. Once one video was complete producing the next track was already under way. Besides myself they had a Choreographer and Director who worked on all the videos, such was our commitment the band considered us three as members too.

Perhaps the biggest asset going for the band was they made music people were interested in, the videos were always engaging and sometimes just plain weird. Oherwise this project would’ve gone nowhere.

This is Damn You Dorothy, one of the most loved tracks.

Identify All Opportunities

This sounds a bit vague but you have to be looking for as many opportunities as possible to promote the content.

Each new track was seen as an ‘event’ by fans who were actively encouraged to share it on Facebook – this helped build fans and get views. I found Facebook video was only ok, but Youtube was better. Just try Google search a Facebook video for one. Another thing going in Youtube’s favour was the cumulative view count – it’s not all about popularity but there’s something reassuring to new viewers if they’re watching something that is popular. After testing one video launch with Facebook video, I opted to keep all the videos on Youtube only.

Remember to put a URL – such as your website or Facebook Page into the first 2 lines of the Youtube description. When it’s embedded in Facebook the URL shows as a live link. Better still get people to share direct from your page as it the wall post will also feature ‘via KingKong Company’ which is another live link.

We also got several admins of pages with tens of thousands of music fans, based in the south-east to post the videos. We didn’t overdo it, but the month we announced the live gig we did it via Youtube annotations on the latest video and had that video posted to pages with a total of 75,000 fans in our target audience.

The band scooped the Irish Music TV Viewers Choice Award back in November. This was a public vote with the band up against Ham Sandwich, Villagers, Lisa Hannigan and 40+ other Irish bands. The award was won by the band with the most active fans – which was a huge surprise for us. The award did very little to get any kind of press coverage outside of the South-East again, but got the band plenty of airplay on Beat 102-103, the station with the biggest 18 – 35 year old audience in the region and several of the DJ’s got behind the bands music. For that the effort was worth it – and a few more bloggers became aware of the band.

One of the more ‘normal’ videos for Uncle Trouble – it’s Waterford, but for anyone who knows the city, it doesn’t look like it.

A bit of Luck

Admittedly there was some luck involved, but most of it came from everyone making such a huge effort in the first place. For example the IMTV award came at the perfect time, just as the gig was announced, this was quickly followed by a new track too. All of which managed to keep people talking about the band.

Waterford has suffered badly in the recession and this is evident in its nightlife. Go back five years and Waterford rivalled Cork in terms of club nights, gigs and events. Today all its clubs are mainstream, you won’t pay more than €5 to get in and drinks are as cheap as €2.50 – on a Saturday night. Our tickets were €10 and the venue couldn’t compete on those cheap drinks prices. This put us at a disadvantage in one sense where people were unlikely to stumble in off the street for the gig, but in another it meant the crowd were going to be all fans.

Also going for us was the amount of people travelling. We had people from Cork, Tipperary and big bunch from Dublin – which shouldn’t be a surprise since over 60% of our Facebook fans are based there. They travelled because the gig was billed as the one and only gig the band would do. The ‘plan’ was to do one great gig, but considering the success and feedback from it the band will play again.

The Result

Just over a year since the first video made its debut, they now have 13 very well received videos (inlucing the latest one below), an award, a very active Facebook community begging for another gig, and not to mention 600 people out there who walked away from the gig telling people how good it was.

King Kong Company on: Youtube, Facebook, Soundcloud

Check out the atmosphere in this clip from the show, because when you break it down, this was just a local band playing a local gig.

This week Myspace released an app that enables a band to sync their Myspace profile on a Facebook tab. The tab will look almost identical to their Myspace presence, and it’ll give Facebook fans access to everything – music, videos, photos, blogs and events. A neat trick with the app is the music player being a pop out so the listener can navigate away from the page and keep listening to the music.

All in all its a pretty decent package.

Myspace App: Good For Bands & Myspace

This might seem strange Myspace becoming just an app on it’s former rival’s social network. But it’s actually a really good idea for Myspace and for bands. Myspace have long been out of the mass social network market, actually Myspace was never there in theory. Myspace was always about music, whereas Facebook was always the mass market version appealing to everyone – even those who hated music. But this app allows Myspace to leverage the 14 million bands it has on its network, to tap into the massive 600+ million Facebook userbase, and possibly become more relevant than it’s ever been to bands and music fans. After all Myspace incorporated Facebook log in some time ago, new Myspace users don’t have to go to the hassle of setting up a profile.Myspace Music App

This might seem like a step down for Myspace, it’s not really, nor is it a step up. Perhaps best described as a step sideways and it might help solidify their positioning as the social network for bands. Who knows, play their cards right, and with a bit of work Myspace may tempt people back onto the network in the search for great music. Because Facebook isn’t that space.

I started this series of posts because I was helping out some friends promote their band. I never once considered Myspace as a viable option for them because no-one uses it. But now there’s a reason to use it, your Myspace profile can also be on your Facebook profile. Ultimatly thats what services (and the competitors to the Myspace app) such as iLike and Bandpage do, they replicate what Myspace did and put it onto a Facebook tab.

Own the Music on Facebook Space?

Another reason why this is good for Myspace is because no-one owns the music on Facebook space – yet. At the time of writing BandPage have 23.5 million users, having added over 1 million users this week alone! There’s plenty more similar app’s out there so it’s a growing marketplace with a lot of room for expansion. As a stand alone social network Myspace’s days are numbered. It’s future lies in being a niche destination.

In Myspace’s favour are it’s brand, the app is free (other options are freemium) and if you have a Myspace Page and a Facebook Page this app will update both almost at once.

Going against it tho is a lack of analytics, to give bands an idea of who is listening to their music. Since I wrote the piece on BandPage a few months ago they have released new features such as ‘fan-gating’ (ie. you can only listen to a track if you like the page), which the Myspace App doesn’t have.

Then there’s the elephant in the room – the For Sale sign hanging outside Myspace Towers. In response to this, on Mashable, Wick replied “Our main focus right now is innovation.”
Facebook Music Marketing 4: Rootmusic’s BandPage
The fourth in a series looking at useful app’s for bands and artists to make their Facebook page more attractive to fans. So far I’ve looked at iLike, Freeload and Headliner.FM. This post looks at Band Page by Rootmusic.

Rootmusic’s Bandpage

Out of the app’s I’ve looked at so far this is similar to iLike. It builds a tab within your Facebook page to showcase everything about your band. From music to videos, bio’s, photo’s, contact details and gig info – it really does provide an all in one solution. There’s some really nice touches to band page too. The user interface is sleek and attractive. If you move from audio to playing video the audio track will be muted automatically, when you finish watching the video, the audio track picks up where it left off. The tab also features a Facebook wall where fan’s can leave comments and, a Twitter feed. Bandpage also takes advantage of the viral elements of Facebook to help promote the tracks you have through wall posts and sharing with friends.

Thats the free version. For $1.99 a month a version that offers more features to customise your tab is available. This is freemium, but how more reasonable can you get than $1.99 a month? This clip shows just how much more of a visual bang you get for two bucks.

 

Once you set BandPage as the default landing tab it becomes a powerful marketing tool to persuade new fans to like your page and, keeping it updated, gives existing fans ongoing content to keep them interested. The BandPage editor is very straight forward meaning you don’t need any technical know-how to produce something great looking, especially in the paid version which is very reasonably priced.

The main difference between BandPage and iLike is the latter caters for a wider number of social networks all from within the one dashboard. So you don’t need to log into Facebook and Twitter and Myspace to update all three. BandPage doesn’t offer that function, but is that a really a deal breaker?

Facebook Music Marketing 3: Headliner.FM
This is the third part in a series of posts looking at how to market music on Facebook. Part 1, looking at some basics and the iLike service, is here and Part 2, looking at Freeload App, is here.

Headliner.FM

While the last two posts have looked at ways bands can try gain more fans by working on their own, Headliner.FM allows bands to work together to boost their fanbase, revolving around the exchange of ‘Band Bucks’ an in-service currency used to trade promotional messages with other bands fans amongst the 27,000 strong pool or artists using the service.

When you join Headliner you are awarded Band Bucks based on the number of fans you have (this service also connects to Twitter and Myspace accounts). Your bucks will grow in tandem with your fanbase, or if other acts join the service because you have referred them. It’s amongst the 27k userbase where the Band Bucks come in use. Essentially this is a promotion service where you send out messages to the fans of other bands, called ‘shout outs’. These other bands aren’t selected at random, but chosen based on genre of music or location. The other band can then decide whether or not to post that message out to their fans, who in turn can choose to like the message or not. If the other band do post the message they get paid from your stash of Band Bucks, and of course if you do a shout out you get paid in Band Bucks.
Quick Pro’s & Con’s

The pro’s to this are the unique way you can contact bands that might have fans who could potentially also be into your music. The ‘shout outs’ can be promotional in nature, pushing deals, competitions, free downloads, ticket discounts, merchandise whatever you think might be of interest. There’s a limit of three requests per day for these shout outs, and with Band Bucks there’s at least some control over this preventing the service from being over-run with spam. Also since the service integrates with Twitter the promo messages can only be 120 chartacters in length plus a shortened URL. So they’re short but sweet. And for bands with no idea of self control 120 chars is plenty.

I’m not sure if this sits in with the pro’s or con’s. It’s promoted as a free service, while it’s actually a freemium service (free with paid for aspects). Don’t get me wrong developers do have to make money and it’s an interesting enough product that can at least be road tested first. The three tier service offers a basic package with analytics for free. At $30 a month the Pro package offers better analytics, the ability to reach more fans, schedule messages to post later, and geo targeting meaning you can reach local fans (the free version only offers genre targeting). At $50 a month the upper tier offers better analytics, ability to reach even more fans and the running to be in a featured artist. By far the $30 pack seems the best deal, but it really depends on what you get out of it.

What could be useful with a service like this is to target the fans of towns your band is visiting, or using your tracks and videos as free downloads for fans of other bands to try out. Even trying to be more creative with the messages might get you in front of more eyeballs. 120 characters might not seem like much but if you find the right hook, ensure your Facebook presence looks professional and has plenty of content to show how good your band are, then getting potential new fans will certainly be a lot easier. You’re not going to conquer the world with this service, but it might get a few more likes.Freeload

Freeload is a new Facebook Application that launched in December. To add it to your Facebook page will cost you five cents under $100 to purchase, but there’s a couple of features that might make that initial outlay well worth it.

Firstly the purpose of the app is to distribute a piece of content – audio, video, artwork or even a software download. Whenever a user downloads the content their email address is collected and added to an exportable CSV file. In other words you get a point of contact for someone who downloaded your content, very useful for follow up marketing, especially if this person is a fan of your music

The app will also push notifications to a users wall when a fan downloads the content. This might grab the interest of some of their friends to also download the track. Such a feature can help the download go viral, it won’t make it go viral, but it has enough features that might encourage click throughs and some extra downloads from friends of fans. See the ‘download now’ link on the notification below, it could be fairly persuasive don’t you think?Download Delivery

However, one of the best features for the app is the download delivery. You can make the download available right away, set a future date to make it available, or only make it available after a certain amount of fans have clicked the unlock feature. So you could decide to release artwork after 50 fans have ‘unlocked’ it, a single after 200, a video after another 200 and so on. When fans click the ‘unlock’ feature a message is posted to their wall. Again this might get a few more downloads. With this feature I think it’s all about finding the right balance between the value of the free content to the band and the value of the incentive for the fans. With the right balance, where there’s a perceived value to the content, and the fans recognise the number of unlocks as being achievable, then they may just help promote your page in order to reach the required fan numbers and their hands on the free content. In other words if they want the music, and there is a realistic target of fans needed to unlock the content they may promote your download for you.

You could ask them to promote your page directly by tagging your page in a status update. I’d choose this well ahead of ‘suggest to friends’ as thats a fairly useless feature IMO. But don’t turn the status update into some promotion or contest, that’s forbidden under Facebook guidelines and could get your page shut down.

This screenshot shows you how it looks and the features included on the tab itself.
Off The Shelf V Bespoke App’s

Overall it seems like a decent enough application. For those without any HTML/FBML knowledge this is a cost efficient way of distributing content. When forking out for these kind of Facebook services – off the shelf applications such as this are a fraction of the cost it would take to have a developer build a bespoke application. While Freeloader may not do everything you want, or look exactly how you want it, $100 is small change when compared with $3K or more you might have to pay for a developer to build it how you want it. Unless of course you have 3K to spare, why would you spend it on a Freeload imitation?

It has some nice marketing features that could help push the fan growth of a page. Giving away random free stuff can work for and against a page. If a biscuit manufacturer gives away free samples people will ‘like’ the page for the free samples, some may stay fans, some may leave. But for bands this is slightly different. You may not like the taste of the biscuits and leave, but with music no two tracks are ever going to be the same so you might hang around for more free music – unless you totally detest the songs. Which, lets face it no matter what kind of band you are, or how good you are, not everybody will like your music.I’m going to do a series of posts on ways bands and artists can easily market themselves on Facebook. This first post covers some basics and also the incredibly useful iLike app

Facebook For Music

Myspace might be better known as the place for bands, but with a worldwide audience of 600million and still rapidly growing, it’s impossible to ignore Facebook as a marketing tool. Especially when you consider what can be achieved on Facebook with little to no investment. All it takes is a bit of time, no technical know how (although the basics of HTML would go a long way) and the ability to identify how best to leverage your band activities onto the social network. In other words you and your band spend a lot of time rehearsing, gigging, practising so how can this already invested time be used to generate social media content to share with fans? By making sure as much of it as possible is captured. More on that later.

The Basics

I’ve covered plenty of tips for businesses using Facebook for marketing, and they might be a good place to start. The tips, 30 in total, are relevant to any organisation, company or band looking to use Facebook productively.iLike (Music)

This is one of the older Facebook applications having been launched in 2007. Since 2009 the app has been known simply as ‘music’ by its 40 million + users on Facebook. The app requires bands and artists to sign up on ilike.com and to create their own ilike page there.

iLike artist sign up.

The iLike website acts as a dashboard for distributing content to multiple social networks in one click. In other words by updating your iLike page you can also automatically update the Music tab on your Facebook page, Myspace, Twitter, Youtube and even on your website. That can be a big time saver instead of having to manually log into and update each network.

The Music tab for artists (personal profiles can have the tab too, it will display tracks the user likes), as it is displayed on Facebook, carry’s nice large banner across the top, audio tracks, music videos, fan comments, blog posts and gig listings. It can also be set as the ‘landing tab’ for new fans when they first visit the page. On the one hand this will give fans a huge amount of band related information when they first hit your band page, which may encourage them to stick around and get to know your band better. On the other hand, I think setting the ‘Music’ tab as the landing tab may give too much information to the user in the beginning, which may prove off putting. I’d be more inclined to use a landing tab that is less cluttered, something which promotes the band with one simple call to action. Better yet use the reveal setting (look it up on FBML) to offer an exclusive track that will be revealed only to fans of the page. That offers a clear incentive for fans to ‘like’ the page, while they can still peruse further band information on the ‘Music’ tab.

As mentioned Facebook users can also add the Music app to their personal profile, where it will feature a playlist of songs they like from the iLike catalogue of artists. These artists range from major labels to unsigned acts so music fans have an incentive to use the app even if they don’t make music. For your band, encouraging fans to add your music to their playlists would do no harm in spreading the word, and may win you a new fan or two.iLike Dashboard

The iLike dashboard has a few other handy features including stats that show new fan growth and how many people have added your music to their profile. One thing I did notice in the FAQ iLike promotes the spamming of Facebook users using the message function (check here). This allows users to message people they are not friends with. It’s a tad spammy and if someone you didnt know sent you a private message would you even open the message never mind listen to the track? With different scams hitting Facebook of late, spamming strangers would probably be a waste of time and will only annoy people.

The iLike Music app is very useful for bands. Facebook was launched to cater for everybody, whereas Myspace was launched to cater for bands and music. Therefore Myspace trumps Facebook in terms of features for acts, however this one app brings a lot of those features into one handy tab that will supply fans with all they need to know about an artist, while also providing a dashboard for the artist to update multiple networks in one go.

More app’s, tools and advice on how to ensure your band is making the most of its Facebook presence is on the way.I’ve been a fan of UK synth band Hurts since I first heard a remix of their track Wonderful Life on last years NME Radar mix. Its a total 1980′s fest, and even their videos have something Pet Shop Boys about them. For a band that have very little material they have picked up an amazing amount of publicity in recent months and a few things about their online marketing caught my eye. Their marketing approach is a slight bit different with a heavy emphasis on integrating video and social networks to their marketing ahead of their website to build awareness and drive up fans.

Social Networks & Website

With any media savvy band (or brand) it’s important to integrate your online presence into as many relevant channels as possible. While a website is a key element to building an online presence, there are plenty more options out there to augment this presence, something Hurts do with Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Youtube. They manage to leverage each of these social networks to build awareness of their music and to get new fans. All of which is critical for a new band with a debut album due in August. A quick look at their Myspace brings you to a well laid out page that features a video for the latest single in the header, along with links to their website, Youtube, shop, newsletter sign up, itunes and link to buy a signed CD just under it. This is the first example of how video plays such an important part in their marketing.

Google Search & Youtube
The band have bought up keywords such as Hurts, Hurts Band and Better Than Love on Google search. The sponsored link doesn’t bring you to their website but to their Youtube Channel, and a selection of official videos, interviews and making of videos. This is a great idea because it brings potential new fans to a decent selection of music videos (more than whats on their website), and what better way of turning potential fans into actual fans than this? From this entry point people can explore the band further with clear and identifiable links to other networks. Also just to note the first organic link on Google is their Myspace page, the 2nd is for another band called Hurt, and the 3rd is a link for a free Download page on the official Hurts website.

Facebook & Better Than Love
Its not unusual for a band to give away a song for free in return for signing up for a mailing list. But Hurts go about it in a different way. First the free song is actually their current single, as its available to purchase at the same time the free song is actually free. It has a financial value on it and is not a song that was never going to see the light of day. Even with this tactic the single managed to scrap into the UK Top 50 and the UK Dance Top 10. Second, the band are using Facebook Ad’s to promote the free single on the social network. Once clicking on the ad it brings you to their external website, although it uses the Facebook ‘favicon’ (the URL icon), so you would be forgiven for thinking you were still within Facebook. One last thing regarding their Facebook presence (view it here) , it’s frequently updated (maybe too often) and oddly enough when compared with their Youtube and Myspace presence it has no branding of any kind and just looks like a run of the mill Facebook page. A bit more branding and personalisation of Facebook would go a long way, especially since Hurts have more fans on Facebook than any other channel combined.

To End:

The band have taken a slightly different approach to their online marketing, leveraging social networks for their viral spread, and Google search to drive new fans to Youtube. Although falling down slightly on their Facebook page, this could easily be improved with a branded default landing page featuring an embedded video of Better Than Love. While I didnt cover Twitter (their profile) in the main body of the article, a quick look at it identifies Kylie Minouge as a fan who has retweeted them to her 190,000 fans. Thats sure to bring a sudden bump in traffic to their Youtube channel who may then venture further into the world of Hurts. Overall their online marketing strategy is pretty good and in all the marketing clutter out there it still managed to catch my attention. Looking forward to the debut album in August.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *