[quote:0ab036b12f]MySpace continues to bleed employees as it slowly fades into Internet obscurity. The company announced this week that it's considering chopping more than half its international staff and closing a number of offices that are outside the US. Talk of this plan comes only a week after MySpace laid off 30 percent of its US staff, another reminder of its fall from dominance.[/quote:0ab036b12f]
How many of you still use Myspace as your band's main web presence? How many of you have moved away to another service or your own website?
Someone should have put a metaphorical bullet in the back of Tom's head ages ago - the site is so woefully out of date and slow to load.
Unfortunately the mainstream media (here at least) has only really just got its head around MySpace and seems to think it's the shizzle.
The smartest thing MySpace ever did was allowing bands to create their own custom MySpace.com/ URL - beyond that they've never managed to progress, with a hideous messaging system, crap flash player and a user-skin-able interface that nigh-on broke the internets.
Still, for journos and the like the fact that you could find just about every band on the planet there make it an invaluable resource.
I think now is the time for bands/solo artists/whatever to move on and find the next platform for self promotion and possibly even implement the ability to sell direct. Whether this is [url=http://www.spotify.com]Spotify[/url], [url=http://last.fm]Last.Fm[/url], [url=http://bandcamp.com]Bandcamp[/url], [url=http://facebook.com]Facebook[/url] or whatever it needs to happen soon - MySpace is losing users like rats from a sinking ship and it makes sense to be where they are, rather than trying to entice them back with half assed versions of what the competition offer (MySpace apps, more streamable tracks etc).
I know a lot of bands don't want to have to think about this stuff, but the reality is in this era if you don't have a manager then YOU are the band manager, to quote Andrew Ferris.
I would encourage at least one member in each band to have a look around and see what the internet can offer them in terms of self promotion - investigate the services available at Last.Fm and Bandcamp especially at the minute. Look into what it takes to get onto iTunes. Consider the benefits of [i:da2fc06e1a]giving away[/i:da2fc06e1a] music as a way of getting people to listen to it on their iPods and in their cars, rather than tying them to sitting in front of a MySpace page. You never know, it could ultimately lead to [i:da2fc06e1a]more[/i:da2fc06e1a] sales.
It's time to stop thinking of music as a popularity contest, with bands trying to get the most 'friends' on their page.
Note that I'm not saying it's not worthwhile being on MySpace - at the minute it is. For now. But spread your presence on the net around a lot, you may find you get a bit more attention from places you didn't expect to.
[quote:0094ee1ab7="fastfude"]Start building your own site and use it as a hub/aggregator for your bands presence on any other social networks. [/quote:0094ee1ab7]I can't agree with that. It just takes too much effort for any normal human, or still less, a musician, to keep a home-made site up-to-date and inviting.
I've seen a good number of local bands establish a website and even spend money on them, but they were all more or less dead within a month. (The websites, not the bands. :-) )
On the social networking sites, all it takes is the odd few words or new photo to show the world that the band is still active. Given that you can easily cross reference between them all, an "aggregator" adds no value, and a "band website" that is a single, static page with nothing more than links to Myspace et al is a bit naff, in my opinion.
(I do agree that the Myspace infrastructure is a software abomination that should be taken out and shot, but that's not really relevant.)
Having a single location that provides the most current information is of more use than a scattered handful of profile pages on myspace/facebook/other, some of which are up to date, some of which are not.
You could add info in via the networks, and have the band site compile it together as a feed (eg notice of and linkage to new tracks on last.fm, new photos on flickr, new videos on youtube), rather than having the user hunt around for it themselves.
Also, if you just use the webs to spam notice of an occasional gig in as many topics/blogs/listings as possible, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG! I'll wager the return on your effort is close to zero. As a punter, if I don't know you, I won't care about your gig over the dozens of other gigs in any given week.
Use the web to form, develop and engage with ACTUAL fans, and forget about shotgun spamming. Write short blogs about yourself and your music that are designed to interest people with similar taste to yours. Try to identify people who are interested in what you are interested in musically, besides your existing mates, and find ways to make them advocates of [i:26245ef7e5]your[/i:26245ef7e5] music.
Aim for [i:26245ef7e5]quality[/i:26245ef7e5] fans, not quantity.
[quote:fa2fe2df80]Having a single location that provides the most current information is of more use than a scattered handful of profile pages on myspace/facebook/other...
You could add info in via the networks, and have the band site compile it together as a feed (eg notice of and linkage to new tracks on last.fm, new photos on flickr, new videos on youtube), rather than having the user hunt around for it themselves.[/quote:fa2fe2df80]
Is that not what myspace provides, a single location for pics, video, blogs and networking? I really couldn't care less about the sophistication of its code if that is indeed the root of said aversion.
[quote:dcf7eeca4a="Recycled Alien"][quote:dcf7eeca4a="fastfude"]Start building your own site and use it as a hub/aggregator for your bands presence on any other social networks. [/quote:dcf7eeca4a]I can't agree with that. It just takes too much effort for any normal human, or still less, a musician, to keep a home-made site up-to-date and inviting.[/quote:dcf7eeca4a]
But does it need to be a homemade site? Get a URL, redirect it to a wordpress powered blog site add a few useful gadgets like a flickr photo displayer, a lastfm playlist doodah, some links to the various social network sites is all thats needed and is just as "inviting" (probably more in actuality) then a myspace site.
Relying on internet popularity to decide which website you have a presence on is moronic. To be honest, I'm surprised myspace has lasted this long.
It's currently the lingua franca so I'll continue to use it. I don't think it's particularly brilliant, but it's what we've been lumped with. Not having a myspace would seem to me a disadvantage at this point in time.
There is no value to having a myspace profile over having your own website. There is value in the reverse though, as you have control, ownership and the facility to use the whole web to your advantage, not just the bits myspace have sanctioned.
What reliable stats can Myspace offer you about your listeners and visitors? Have you seen the info you can gather from Last.fm? There's no comparison! Mix that with say Google Analytics on your own site and you'd have some really solid data to help you promote your wares. I know where I'd invest my efforts.
Only because you don't seem to want to learn the better alternatives. Myspace's usefulness wanes over time, and as less and less people see it as a useful resource, you'll be left jumping on the next bandwagon: is it facebook, is it Orkut, is it XYZ?
Having your own website that you control, and does exactly the same as myspace, but is permanent is a much better system. As Roger said, if you're putting the same information up on multiple sites then you're doing it wrong. The correct way is to put it up on one site, and have all the other sites automatically feed off the central hub.
Yes, setting things up isn't quite as simple, but take the time to learn the tools available (and use them correctly) and I'd be shocked if you did less well than using myspace.
Aye but Damien that was my point - not having a MySpace at the minute is daft, but explore other options.
Ian, a Wordpress blog would do exactly what Roger is saying, of course - I'm pretty sure it falls under the purview of self-made sites.
Ultimately, what's needed is a culture change though. People ask me "what's your MySpace", rather than "do you have a website", radio stations (notably Radio 1, but others too) say "you can find them on MySpace" rather than "google them to get their website".
It's become a verb, much as google has - people talk about 'myspacing' each other. But that's a problem with the relatively unsophisticated masses, compared to those who are interested in what's happening at the bleeding edge. It's all about finding the balance.
I think ultimately band pages with embedded players from Last.Fm and in all likelihood Spotify eventually will become prevalent. There needs to be a Flickr-like site that will host lots of images for free yet permit the same level of plugin features - is Google's Picasa any good for this?
Bands could put together digital press packs and have them downloadable via a link on their sites. They could contain mp3s, pictures, text, whatever - there are any number of free online space providers that would deliver this service.
I guess ultimately I don't care what bands a particular band is 'friends' with - its much more useful to see what other bands your fans like, which is what Last.FM does well.
For the stats geeks (ie: me), some collected info on social network populations: [url=http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2009/01/11/a-collection-of-soical-network-stats-for-2009/]1[/url], [url=http://thefuturebuzz.com/2009/01/12/social-media-web-20-internet-numbers-stats/]2[/url].
[quote:b1b4434ada="The Ronster"]Iain, a Wordpress blog would do exactly what Roger is saying, of course - I'm pretty sure it falls under the purview of self-made sites.[/quote:b1b4434ada]
Sure, I felt Steve was treating "self-made sites" as referring something coded from scratch, which would be insane for anyone to do these days.
A tutorial that deals with this stuff would be useful, as one advantage that myspace has is that there's lots of those "site creator" things available. But a business that could do the technical stuff for you (register a domain name, set up the DNS server to redirect to your blog) for a small fee would be viable too. (Domain names being...$5 a year, DNS server redirect being minimal cost, free if you already have a DNS server running)
I think the techno-geeks are underestimating the level of aversion that normal people have to, say, running a DNS server. :S (This is only what I've [i:1dec9759a7]heard[/i:1dec9759a7], you understand. I met some normal people once.)
I stick by my theory that a Myspace or Facebook is easy and a band website is hard.
[quote:0acdd83926="Recycled Alien"]I think the techno-geeks are underestimating the level of aversion that normal people have to, say, running a DNS server.[/quote:0acdd83926]
I wasn't suggesting that the band needed to run the DNS server. I was talking in that case about my hypothetical company that could be employed to help set up the blog redirect service to bands and why such a service did not need to be very costly.
As it is, setting up a blog at any of the common sites: blogger.com, blogspot.com or wordpress.com for example is trivial. If once the band wish to get more professional and have a bit of money to get a real domain name, they can redirect it to their blog, or if they get more money, they can set the the blog up on their own domain.
I've never understood why people in such a creative industry would settle for having such a (badly designed) cookie-cutter web presence with the aesthetic beauty of a 4 year-old with some magazines, scissors and pritstick, that has no distinguishing features from the next band, except for which bit of the page you make sparkle.
And then people wonder why they can't stand out from the dross?
It's reasonably easy for a non-geek to do these days.
Besides, I think there is a degree of responsibility for any self-promoting musician to learn the tools of their trade. It doesn't stop at instruments, you need to get your head around the basics of communication, promotion, booking, recording, distributing and so on.
[quote:aae364b0fc="The Ronster"]I think, Roger, what would be instructive here - for everyone - is for either a sticky, or an article outlining EXACTLY how one goes about all this stuff, in the most useful terms possible.[/quote:aae364b0fc]
Yis. If I ever time to get the frickin' wiki finished this would be ideal fodder.
In the meantime writing down the steps to set up a free, open-source CMS with tie-ins to appropriate networks would be very good.
Google Doc it to anyone interested (me, for one), then we can link to the finished version.
AS someone else says there needs to be a bit of a culture change before myspace isn't useful. From my own experience most people, myself included, go to myspace if somebody has told them to check out a band. I do this because most band pages I've ever been on don't have a decent audio player, aren't updated, or they are just links to their myspace.
I like the idea of using blogs, but how many people would check these frequently? or how many people actually use RSS readers?
Rss is such a handy tool. Granted it's not quite mainstream in terms of usage, but it certainly is in availability, and the engaged web-savvy folk that use it are the ones who will proliferate your music across the web.
You shouldn't be chasing the Mainstream vote. Go for the small but dedicated niches that will bring you real fans, unless you want be generic and bland enough to sell on tesco shelves.
[quote:2dca13d179="munchies"]but how many people would check these frequently? or how many people actually use RSS readers?[/quote:2dca13d179]
How many people check your myspace blog? Or your twitter feed, or whatever.
If you were to have a blog and an RSS feed, and had everything set up nicely (and possibly hypothetically) it could then be used by last.fm on the band page, it could be used by Fastfude to update your band profile here (if roger was to make that happen), it could be fed to twitter, all from one edit. Yes, its more hassle to set up, but once its set up, then it removes the need to update everything. And people who use an feed reader will be happier too.
Just like more bands should have their gig dates in an ical feed so I can just add whichever bands I like to my calendar and get reminded when a gig is on.
[quote:cfafa4df07="fastfude"]Where's the disadvantage?
There is no value to having a myspace profile over having your own website.[/quote:cfafa4df07]
The answer (as per usual probably lies somewhere in the middle. The architecture is way out of date (and VERY frustrating) but some bands just don't feel the need to invest in a web designer / learn how to code no matter how easy you may find it. Myspace is where Joe Public will go to listen to a band - I mean try and explain last fm / spotify to your uncle (apologies to all uncles out there). Myspace is simple and easy. The problem is that they didn't do anything to keep up with their competitors / alternative sources for streaming.
[quote:59971d51b3="DuncanDisorderly"]Myspace is where Joe Public will go to listen to a band - I mean try and explain last fm / spotify to your uncle (apologies to all uncles out there). [/quote:59971d51b3]
Do you have any data to back this up? Also, if your uncle is your target audience, why are you on the Internet at all?