The NBT Music Columns: Thoughts From M.I.A.M.Inc

miaminc.jpg Martin Johnson from the Digital label Money Is A Must outa Cleveland writes for us. this week: Myspace

You may have 40,000 MySpace friends who know your face (until you change your main pic), but do they have a connection with you or your music?  PT Barnum once said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens—nothing!” As a master promoter, Barnum understood the importance of making a splash and just how to do it. With the right advertisement or exhibition, he could easily attract people to his circus the first time, but what about after that? How would he get people to keep coming back for more? He knew that he would have to offer an unforgettable experience, something that was more than they had ever expected.

I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about how to promote music on MySpace. I think Bob Baker of TheBuzzFactor.com said it best: “The only thing that determines your material success with music is the number of fans you have who are willing to spend money on your CDs and merchandise and pay admission to your live performances. That’s it. It doesn’t matter who your manager is, who produced your CD, how many radio stations are playing your songs or what critics are writing about you. None of that matters in the long run.”

The goal of your MySpace page should be to build a strong fan base not to make a lot of friends. Fans buy your music and pay to hear your perform live; friends expect a free copy and want to get into your shows free. Some artists believe that if they obtain a certain number of friends and get so many plays, a record company will sign them. That is not true! I know that you hear lots stories about how people are discovered on MySpace, but most of those claims are overblown by the media. I guarantee that those artists were not exclusively promoting their music on MySpace.

When people visit your MySpace page let them experience you and your music. How do you convert a visitor into a fan? The same way you write a good song or make a good friend—you share a piece of yourself with that person. Write blogs that tell visitors about your hopes, dreams and goals and how you’re planning to accomplish those goals. When people see that you’re trying and have a plan in place, they are more likely to want to help you achieve those goals. 

Give them some music for free. People do not buy music based on a 60-second clip. Giving away music gives you, the artist, a chance to get that special one-on-one time you’re your visitor during their drive to work, a workout, or while they are doing house work. You don’t have give these visitors the original song from your album, but you can give them a live version or an acoustic version. Just give them something they can download and listen to whenever they want. Remember, purchasing music is three-step process: hear, like…then buy. They might have to hear a piece of your music twenty times before they like it enough to buy it. So give them a chance to really like your music. 

Send them to your web page. Keep in mind that one hundred friends on MySpace who truly like your music and who are willing to pass the word along to others are far more valuable than 40,000 strangers who claim to be your friend but who have never visited your MySpace page long enough to hear your music.           

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