Blogs, websites, forums and fellow musicians are drilling it into our skulls that ‘internet presence is vital’. They’re telling us to create a ‘brand’ or an ‘image’ and that without a highly active and engaging social media presence our career as artists or musicians will flop.
There are statistics and percentages about how many times a day you should post on each social media account and which time-periods gain the most reception. We’re told to post images and videos and make ourselves look ‘friendly’ so that people feel involved in what we do. But I’m worried that this stoic approach towards our use of social media is doing more harm than good.
Are we shooting ourselves in the foot here?
The reason we ‘need’ a recognisable brand or image is of course to help us stand out from the crowd. As is the reason we need to make it seem like we’re living incredible lives as musicians and love our audience very much (which of course we do).
But the reason we need to stand out from the crowd is because there is a crowd of people doing just that. Trying to stand out from the crowd.
And more often than not, it’s just false, forced business advertisement. Posting exactly 15 tweets a day, 1 Facebook post at 16:37 and videoing Johnny setting up his drum kit every week isn’t quite the entertainment an audience is looking for.
I’m scared that as a global community of musicians who rely more and more on the internet to promote and distribute our music, we’re becoming too preoccupied with popularity and ‘good business practice’ and losing touch with the fun and playful side to music.
We should be standing out from the crowd by experimenting with our sound. Not ripping up our jeans up and taking a picture of ourselves with a guitar string up our nose to look edgy.
And of course spending all that time making incredible music instead of instagramming is all well and good but utterly useless if you’ve no audience to share it with. So it’s a difficult balance to find.
But I believe that the music should come first, and that by focussing on creating a social media presence before you’ve got anything half decent to present, you’re doing more harm to your career than good.
Prepare first. Have patience. Take the time to make something you’re proud of. Make a video. Take some relevant pictures. By all means, share inspirational quotes and count down to release dates but please don’t forget that your music is more important than your ‘total reach’ statistics.
That can come later. And it needs to be real. Catch a video of your bandmates pissing about after a gig. Do a photoshoot to go with your upcoming release, and make it all one theme and relevant, celebrate milestones and achievement, offer live versions and alternative versions of songs, share the things that genuinely interest you that your fans might be into as well, ask for feedback and comments, and thank for support.
Be true to your music. Don’t get caught up on your computer.
Don’t let it ruin your love for an art that speaks much louder than an image on a screen.