Dear Record Label: Are There Any New Technologies/Social Media Platforms I Should Be Aware Of?
In a band? Have no idea how to go about getting a label to take you seriously? We've got the answers you're looking for.
In our blog series, "Dear Record Label," we went to Roadrunner Records -- home of Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Megadeth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trivium and more -- and asked them the tough questions young bands should know the answers to. Each week, we'll be bringing you advice from members of the Roadrunner staff to try and get you on track to get noticed.
This week, the advice comes from Roadrunner Records Senior VP New Media & Global Business Development, Jon Satterley.
Q: Are there any emerging technologies or social media platforms that I should be aware of to keep my band ahead of the curve?
JON SATTERLEY: It seems like there is something new every day to be challenged (if not flustered) by. Unless you are a 24/7 web geek, it might feel like you are permanently behind the development curve, always missing out on the latest technology that could miraculously catapult your band into super-stardom.
Well, don't worry. Tech deployment on its own is pretty much bullshit. The key to your success will always come down to the quality of your music and your overall content - basically, your brand. Tech needs to be used in a way to help you expose these things, but it can never mask the fact that you are mediocre or convince a person to buy your merchandise if you do indeed suck.
With that in mind, there are a few helpful tips that I can offer to put you on the right path when thinking about online strategies for your band:
1. Social networks should be seen as places to "harvest" fans. 'Likes' at Facebook ultimately don't mean shit unless these people are prepared to buy your music, your content, your brand. Find fans in these networks and bring them into your world.
2. Don't forget mobile. Ensure that the sites that you have a presence on - where you are focusing your efforts - have strong mobile platforms and allow you to reach listeners and convert them into fans.
3. Don't fall for every second-coming-of-Christ, overly hyped technology that you hear about. Last year it was live streaming. The year that before it was voicemail driven mobile apps. This year it is iPhone/Android native apps and "game mechanics" at your website. Whilst all of these things have merit, none of them are the savior of the music industry and the sole way you will deliver you band to the masses. If you hear from someone that "you must" have X or Y to succeed, give 'em the 'talk-to-the-hand'…
4. Own your stuff. Don't cede control. Use technology as a way of building your own e-mail lists, your own fanbase, and your own connections. Your band is (or will become) a brand and it is your job to invest time, money and effort building it. Why give that away to someone or something else unless there are very, very compelling marketing reasons.
Oh, and if you are still convinced that there is an emerging technology that is going to be your springboard to world conquest, write directly to me because I have a great little mobile start-up with apps and badges and coupons and sharing and monetization for you that you might be interested in investing in....
And if you're an unsigned band, be sure to check out Roadrunner's Sign Me To website, which allows unsigned bands to display their music, move up charts based on fan ratings, get reviewed by Roadrunner staff and maybe even get signed!