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Building Your Band Brand In A Social World

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December 5  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

I thought I’d never see the day I would have a client come in needing promotion for their music. While it’s not at all strange, it was just a unique and refreshing client opportunity that I had to jump at. To make things even more fun, it was a Dubstep artist we’re all a fan of here at work so we were pretty pumped to take it on. With any music niche you’re promoting, social media is most definitely the most powerful tool in the shed. This artist also wanted a strong link profile to boot, so that was something we could most definitely help with. Even though this is a vertical you’re not all going to be engaged in, it should inspire you to work all the angles no matter what niche you’re rocking.

Photo: Avicii – he was not our client, just used in all the examples

I contacted Jason to do a guest post and thought this topic would make an interesting case study, even though I wouldn’t be able to disclose my client. The campaign was also a huge success and both parties were not ready for the amount of traffic, followers and links that were to come in. If you’re a band/dj/composer then be ready to explore a plethora of marketing avenues.

This post will be chalk full of all the real world examples I can give away because not everyone will be able to abuse these resources. More importantly, you cannot be bringing lame sounds to the table, so you won’t go very far utilising these marketing channels if what you’re producing isn’t good. We learned that one really good track was enough to cripple our clients download servers, blast him with thousands of links and produce a 64% increase in social followers within a week. His record label was more than thrilled with the interest and didn’t mind the excess server bill we caused them.

Build Social Followers & Links While People Listen:

The main goal is to be heard and seen and luckily for you, this isn’t so hard in a social world. There are a boatload of amazing websites that you can actively promote your music and not have to worry about anything else. We’ll take a look at the top few we had a huge success with specifically with this client. These sites are not to be slacked on and will forever push new listeners your way.

Soundcloud.com – I’m sure most of you have been to this site by now, especially those into the electronic music. It’s one amazing platform that allows fans to get music either streaming on their site, or instant download for listening on the go. Their platform is great for promoting your music, especially because you’ll be using their bandwidth. The second best part is you can nab some links to your homepage and other social channels you’re wanting to promote. Since I used a picture of Avicii above, we’ll take his SoundCloud profile as a great example.

The social community at SoundCloud is alive and well. There are also tons of groups on Sound Cloud so make sure you’re in there promoting your tunes. On top of that, you can promote your tour dates quite nicely and we all know that’s where the money is for artists these days. This social music site, in my awesome opinion, is the creme de la creme in music industry.

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Last.FM – This is another music social site no band can ignore for promotion, and the links aren’t even close to the best thing about it. I’m a daily user of the site and it has lead me to discover countless artists based off of the ones I love. Last.FM is the total package and provides information on your tour dates, blog entries, fans, ringtones, groups, events and news.

Of course, Last.FM provides links to all your important social profiles and your homepage so you can’t forget to funnel the Last.FM traffic about your social profiles and let the search engines know where you are on the website. How often do you find yourself checking out an artist then following them on Twitter and Facebook? I do for all my favorite artists when I come across their profile on here. Last.FM also does a really great job at marketing the artist in all the areas I mentioned above… I mean, just check out the 360 degree promotion going on here;

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Resident Advisor – While this site is strictly for electronic artists, it’s another great example of an authority niche site you’d want to be linked and mentioned on. This site has been around the longest and provides a wicked cool profile like the other sites mentioned above. It may not be as pretty, but if you’re a DJ, then you know you’ve made it when you have a profile here. Avicii of course has made it so, once again, I can use him as an example for my post here.

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Discogs – This is definitely on the top 5 must be listed on music sites out there as they help you build your brand, get fans and sell your music! It was also on my target list for a great place to get a link to the client’s homepage and his major social profiles. Our client also saw a pretty hefty jump in music sales from Discogs which is really the end goal here. Most of all the other sites listed above allow the artist to sell as well, but Discogs was quick to show results.

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The buck doesn’t stop there either! There are tons of niche social music sites out there that are worth checking out. You folks know how to use Google(or Bing/Yahoo), so put it to work for you and discover what else exists. For general band branding you’ll be left in the dust if you don’t get your chords wrapped around these musical powerhouses;

- Google Music
- iTunes
- Spotify
- PitchFork
- Billboard.com
- Song Kick
- Tune Wiki

Interviews, Radio & Podcasts

Over the 6 months we were marketing this Dubstep artist, one of the main goals was to get some air time. Being a decently well-known artist in the genre, we had an easy time locking down a whole host of juicy publicity. We managed to score the artist all of the above during the 6 months and it made a huge impact on the overall visibility of the music/artist.

Getting our client the gigs was very much the same as link begging, and it even required some of that to boot! The first step we took was to get either an interview or guest mix spot on a related podcast, and there’s a lot of options out there. The best part of this marketing avenue is that it all came with links, brand buzz and a new connection made in the digital music space. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to start to track down podcasts worth building a connection with. Even if you don’t get a guest mix opportunity or an interview, you can still submit your tracks in hopes of getting some air time and a mention.

Dubstep isn’t the most well know genre of music, but it certainly has been the talk of the internet generation in the past few years. We certainly didn’t have a shortage of podcasts to attack in this genre, and as you can see, the results were staggering. We only netted half a dozen guest mixes and interviews in the time we had, but we’ve been asked to proceed down this path again in the new year. Check out the results for dubstep, and just imagine the opportunities for say hip-hop or country music.

Podomatic – This is the go to place to find a whole host of awesome podcasts in all different genres. These podcasts are done for the love of the music and almost every DJ we contacted was more than thrilled to be involved. And why not? Everyone wins in this situation and the two 90 minute long guest mixes each reached over 50,000 downloads!

Podfeed – This is another podcast directory that has been around a long time and will quickly get you what you need.

The best podcasts these days seem to be on their own domain, building their own brand. In my client’s case, Dubstep.FM was the golden egg. A little social networking and getting in touch provided us with some air time of some tunes and an interview. Since our client had a repertoire and a bit of a reputation, it was a match made in bass heaven. Also remember that you can get links and other important information dropped into the podcast episodes information… it’s basically a blog post so don’t forget!

Radio & Industry Connections

We found it wasn’t too hard to get coverage in the media, especially when our clients EP dropped. Most of the coverage came after the tracks were released onto related blogs, but it never hurts to alert the right journalists. There’s no secret in doing this, it just takes some hard work or hiring the right PR firm to utilize their connections. I recommend doing the following;

- make relationships on Twitter with journalists
- utilize services like HARO(Help a Reporter Out)
- put out a press release for tour announcements and releases
- Use the huge reach the folks at http://getinpr.com/

Blogs, Forums & Lyric Sites

I’ll tell you this now, marketing via blogs and forums in the music industry is a blast. Since you have amazing content to share, you’re welcomed almost everywhere you go! If you’re well known, then the music world is your oyster. There are tons of blogs and forums for every music genre and it’s one amazing way to get exposure. Usually people associate the word spam with forum marketing; I like to refer to it as being a part of your community. We’re not here to drop links and disappear, let the world know who you are on the forum and make friends.

Music Blogs – I’d definitely take advantage of Jason’s information posted on link prospecting with SEOQuake in this area of link sniffing. In our case, there were hundreds of high quality dubstep blogs and we took it a step further to the ones that accepted tracks. One good blog can result in insane amounts of listens and downloads, but most importantly, social shares. A few of the posted tracks spread like wildfire throughout forums as well, which was a nice bonus.

Music Forums – I recommend not outsourcing any form of forum participation, but instead go on as the artist. There’s no need to try and be sneaky just for a link or two – that’s not the point of being on a related forum either. Most, if not all, forums related around a genre will have a section for artists to “pimp their track” to the masses, so there ya go. One of the biggest dubstep forums has a few areas for artists to promote and get feedback, no spam needed!

Lyric Sites – These sites are a dime a dozen and some of them provide nice bio’s with link opportunities. Since dubstep is mostly WOMP WOMP WOMP and wobble wobble we could not really make use, but keep these sites in mind if your music does in fact make use of words.

Event & Tour Sites

Almost any established band/DJ is going to be touring at one point, even if its restricted to only your city. This is where people start out and it can be a great asset to your online marketing aspirations as well.
There are almost too many event sites out there, so taking the time to see who syndicates what and who has the most traffic is key here.

If you’re in a bigger city, you’re more than likely to find a whole bunch of local sites ready and willing to take your event. You had better make sure that your website has a tour/event data feed of sorts because websites/APIs/scrapers will come for it eventually. We had a huge increase on our clients tour RSS feed after 6 months of hitting the digital streets.

I’d most definitely recommend out sourcing this work mainly because you shouldn’t be focusing on this. But if you’re into the whole guerrilla marketing thing, getting out and submitting your gig is the way to go. Let your friends do all the Facebooking and Tweeting, but make sure your event is getting some exposure.

Social Event Sites – There are dozen of event sites out there in the social realm and I tend to stick to Yahoo Upcoming, Going.com and Eventful for reach. There are tons more you can hunt down as well from the links I’ve posted in this section, so don’t forget to try them all out. You’ll find different ones have amazing partners and syndication, so you never know how far the word will spread.

Local Event Sites – For the extra exposure in your city make sure to use Google to sniff out the many options that await you. Let’s say you lived in Chicago and wanted to submit your event…. what kind of options are out there that are ripe for the picking?


There turned out to be a lot of options going back 10 pages deep in the SERPs! Of course not every option is going to be a match, but there was definitely a lot of local event marketing options just waiting for your content. Any major city is going to be the same and even smaller cities are going to have a couple of opportunities. The one thing I kept finding was opportunities to get links from local newspaper sites, which is always a nice bonus. A lot of local blogs also seemed to have an events section, or were more than willing to write about it if it fit their user base.

Viral Marketing Opportunities

This was best aspect of the 6 month campaign we had the pleasure of doing! Dubstep is pretty hot right now and the viral marketing tactics were a breeze. I’ll talk about a couple of areas we explored that netted our client many millions of video views and sent a hunger through the community for his tracks. If I had to choose from one tactic to stick to, this would have been it without a doubt. The key to success here was of course relationship building and having some damn amazing music to work with. To kick this section off let’s use this video as a perfect example. Sadly this was not my client but you get the idea.

The result? 18 million views and a few reuploads with more millions of views to boot. Both the dancer Marquese Scott and the producer Butch Clancy propelled their careers big time here. They managed to reach our to a lot of new people and the result was nothing less than stellar. The dancer is incredible and the remixed song to dubstep isn’t so bad either.

So what lessons are to be learned from this?

Collaboration! There are so many ways dubstep artists (and other producers/artists) are getting mad exposure from doing something fun and unique with other people. I’ve also mentioned numerous times that your tunes have to be tight, and if they are you’ll have no problem with viral exposure. We explored a few options within our 6 month campaign and only began to scratch the surface of what is possible.

Remixes Are Key – I don’t really have to say much here other than be one of the first artists to remix a pop song that’s trending hard. Keeping on top of this will bring you millions of song listens and downloads. For those who frequent Youtube and dubstep forums for tracks, how often are you listening to remixes? I know I do on a weekly basis and I’m sharing them when they’re hot. Take a look on Youtube to see what’s been done and what worked for other artists.

Be Apart Of The Bass Community – I already mentioned the forums and blogs out there, but don’t forget to come join us on Reddit.com/r/Dubstep and also for the hipsters, Reddit.com/r/Realdubstep. There are tens of thousands of fans here that are well connected and can help launch your career to the next level. This is the beauty of social media! If you’re bringing the goods, you’ll be welcome with open arms from the community at large… you’ll have my upvote!

Random Video Marketing – While this aspect can only come from putting your tunes out there in the wild. When we had a new track out from the client we made sure to fire it off via email, Youtube shares and Twitter to video producers that we had our eyes on. It eventually paid off and a few tracks were used in a few productions which lead to a contact for a commercial.

 

Others Avenues Of Social Sharing – After getting the video marketing aspect out of the way we found a few other interesting areas to explore. We gave away tracks to ringtone and royalty free music websites. It’s perhaps not the most explosive marketing opportunity, but you never know where it will lead. I’m all for more branding and exposure so it might be worth looking at. Sadly I don’t have much in the way of ROI so I’ll let you experiment on your own.

Resources & Your Thoughts

I always close my posts asking to hear from people who’ve had experience to help us learn from your expertise. There are so many online marketing avenues to pursue when it comes to music, so let’s hear what has worked well for you. I hope we hear from more artists to get us to help with their marketing, so don’t be scared to get in touch.

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About Ryan Clark

I'm the CEO of Linkbuildr Marketing and the brains behind our branding and blog content. I specialize in effective marketing strategies for hotels, luxury brands and real estate. If your brand is in need of a boost then don't hesitate to contact me for a free proposal. Follow me on Google+: +Ryan Clark Twitter: @Linkbuildr on Twitter. You can also come ask me a question on our Facebook Page.  

7 Responses to Building Your Band Brand In A Social World

  1. Simon Gerard says:

    cool you applied all this to music ryan. And I’m surprised considering how much music relies on online channels that i haven’t ever seen a post on this topic. Bet this guide will get you some fans in that industry for sure.

  2. Andrew Breen says:

    Holy crap, what a thorough post. Great stuff. I’ve sent it to some of my musician friends.

  3. I’ve done quite a bit of music industry link building for a music blog in the past, and helped quite a few friends with bands get their online presence started. From now on I’ll start forwarding this post as well – very thorough coverage. I’m personally curious as to why an artist was (A) aware of link profiles and (B) desiring them?

    Also, turntable.fm has a huge dubstep presence and is filled with both (A) hardcore fans and (B) people looking to get turned on to new music. If your client isn’t already active on there, tell them to start connecting with some of the larger DJs (start looking at http://ttdashboard.com/).

  4. John Abrena says:

    Awesome Post

  5. John Abrena says:

    And because I suck, I accidentally pressed enter. Anyway, good job relating link building to music. Really really detailed post on how musicians can promote their brands on the internet. Gonna do this for my band. :)

  6. Amazing post will be saving this and referring back to it for a long time.

  7. Erich Moore says:

    It’s very  helpful and full of ideal thoughts. Heads up for this. Awesome!!

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