I have thought for some time that indie music artists need to figure out a way to go where the people are rather than always trying to get the people to them. So the trick: Find a crowd, go there and play your music. Simple, right?
Well, technology is making this much easier to accomplish. One such example today is myspace.com.
It has been my intention, for some time now, to write a short blurb on the MySpace Phenomenon. The teenagers, twenty-somethings, and technology geeks among us already know about all this. After little more than two years on the web, myspace.com has grown to nearly 50 million subscribers for their free social networking web services. According to a recent article in businessweek, "MySpace now draws so much traffic that it accounted for 10% of all advertisements viewed online in the month."
What does all of this have to do with music? One of the main drivers of the myspace growth explosion has been it's focus on music combined with social networking services. Myspace allows online "friends" to discover all sorts of independent music, plus to socialize online via secure email, IM, photo sharing, and blogging.
Bands can, for free, create an online profile and put their songs online, with bios and contact information. Anyone can then search the profiles for, say bands that sound like Led Zeppelin or Jeff Buckley, or whatever. If you had this listed in your profile of influences, you will be discovered by all sorts of fans that like this type of music. Pretty cool huh?
So, yes, I've joined the myspace rev and we have four songs on our 100 Year Picnic myspace page, including a free download of 'Take This Town.' Check it out and see what the kids are up to nowadays. You will also find celebrities from Madonna to Fiona Apple to Aimee Mann participating, at least on some level. Some of my good friends and musical compadres have joined as well:
Tony@Oxide Lounge Recording
Waiting Room Records
Backyard Tire Fire
The Castle Theater
So, yes, we are finding new people to share our music with. Whether they are engaged or truly listening may be another story. Songwriter and musician blogger Scott Andrew helps bring us back to reality, telling the story of a band that was featured on the myspace homepage for a week, had their music played 20,000 times and sold how many CDs? ZERO. But they DID get 100 new people for their mailing list...
Regardless, I think this is one small piece of the puzzle for those of us promoting our own music. It's intriguing and fun, but a huge time waster if you aren't careful. It does make me feel part of a much larger community of musicians doing their own thing, and that's certainly a good thing.