Social media has changed all aspects of life. Whether you’re attempting to bring down a Middle Eastern Government or plugging your favourite band, social and digital media are probably involved.
Digital developments in music have had mixed results. If you’re a multi-national label or distributor you’ll probably curse the day someone decided it would be awesome to share files. File sharing in itself isn’t inherently a bad thing, unless it’s the latest album by [insert teenage sensation here] which has been leaked. Conversely for small independent labels and unsigned bands, social and digital tools are essential. Whether its Facebook, Twitter or Bandcamp to name but a few there has never been a better way to reach and target your audience, and to raise awareness of your music. Facebook alone has 1.6 billion monthly users. Platforms such as Bandcamp gives musicians and labels the opportunity to distribute music for free, for whatever the user deems fit or at a cost. These changes the way the music industry operates drastically; it takes away power from multi-national bodies by allowing small labels or bands the chance to do much of what these offered themselves. Even iTunes is open to the submission of music from artists of any level.
There are examples of the positive impact these developments have for independent labels and bands across the world. One such example can be found within the Chicago music scene and is exemplified by individuals such as Keeley Carson. Keeley has worked at two independent labels in the city, using social media and other digital tools for different purposes at each.
Working first at Victory Records Keeley used Twitter, Facebook and blog accounts to promote customer awareness of the label’s artists and music. In addition to liaising with businesses and retailers this provided an effective method of boosting brand awareness Victory Records has worked with bands such as Between the Buried and Me, Hawthorne Heights, Silverstein, Atreyu, Taproot and Funeral for a Friend.
Later working with Martin Atkins at Invisible Records Keeley used online marketing in a more direct way. As Events and Marketing Assistant Keeley utilised social media to help deliver PR and promotional material to the label’s target audience regarding live events and tour bookings. The social presence managed by Keeley was important in Invisible Records and the TourSmart brand’s increase in popularity.
Every new device – from toasters to phones – incorporates digital and social media. The power of these will only grow, increasing the potential for labels and bands to maximize social media to reach more and more people. Larger labels need to adapt or face challenges in the near future.